Navigating the User Interface of the Apple MacBook 2009


  • Attractive and sturdy unibody design
  • Enormous multi-touch trackpad
  • Respectable five-hour real-life runtime
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Bright, attractive LED-backlit screen
  • Superb desktop performance


  • No swappable battery
  • Bare minimum of ports
  • Significantly heavier than competitors
  • Glare from glossy screen


Praise be to the unibody. Following the highly acclaimed release of its new MacBook Pros last year, which eschewed a single, unitized chassis in favor of several interconnecting parts, Apple has carried over its unibody design philosophy to the less expensive, $999 MacBook. Boring white plastic replaces the metal, but the design and specifications are strikingly same. Is purchasing the plastic worth the $200 price reduction? We ascertain.

Build and Design

Those who are acquainted with the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro will find the MacBook version instantly recognizable due to its rounded edges, LED backlit screen, and even its glass touchpad, like that of a skating rink. Most people will notice the primary distinction right away: the materials used. This infant has no substance.

One piece of solid polycarbonate, which is also used to make bulletproof windows, Nalgene bottles, and CDs, is used by Apple to construct the MacBook. It is difficult, as the MacBook demonstrates. The MacBook seems, well, indestructible from the sculpted edges to the very core, which on most budget laptops tends to feel a touch wet. We still adore the plastic version of the MacBook Pro, which has the same solidification as the original model.

Apple occasionally seems unable to chose between comfort and flair. On the one hand, the bottom has a rubberized texture applied by the engineers, which prevents it from scratching desktops and makes it feel comfortable to rest on. However, a problem from the previous generation still exists: the notebook's exposed sides seem too sharp.

The MacBook is heavier and thicker than the 0.95-inch MacBook Pro, weighing 4.7 pounds and measuring 1.08 inches thick. The weight of this size class is a bit embarrassing, but it carries the additional inch nicely. Comparably equipped 14.1-inch notebooks are available, and even low-cost 13.3-inch models like HP's ProBook manage to weigh about 3.8 pounds. The extra pull on your messenger bag is the price you pay for toughness.

Features and Specifications

Laptop Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.26GHz
  • RAM: 2GB DDR3
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 9400M
  • Storage: 250GB


Though Apple produces iPod Nanos in every color under the sun, MacBook owners are limited to gloss white. Fingerprints are easily hidden by it, although tiny lint and dirt particles are also likely to be seen. Furthermore, as anybody who has ever hiked while carrying a Nalgene bottle will attest, polycarbonate is fascinated by scratches.


Although we usually dislike Chiclet-style keyboards because they never seem to have the same pleasant click as traditional versions, Apple's is among the best available. The smooth matte-white keys have a crisp springiness, are really comfortable under the fingertips, and also happen to look pretty damn beautiful. However, they don't light up at night as the MacBook Pro does, and the MacBook lacks an above LED for lighting, so you'll have to type by the backlight's light.


Say goodbye to cold-cathode backlights. Just like it did with the MacBook Pro, Apple has moved the backlight on the new MacBook over to LEDs, which consume less power and achieve full brightness instantaneously, removing the dull, foggy look of a just-powered-on laptop screen. The screen looks amazing dead on, but seems to have a pretty limited viewing angle as you tilt it up and down — you’ll want to adjust it carefully to make sure you’re viewing things as they’re supposed to be seen. As with all glossy displays, be ready for intense glare while sitting close to windows or outdoors.

Ports and Connections

The MacBook has been reduced to the absolute minimum and then some. In comparison, the netbook's basic range of connectors almost seems luxurious. It does not have an SD card slot, a dedicated analog microphone input (the headphone jack must be switched via software), or a mini DisplayPort connector that requires a $29 adapter in order to be used for any purpose. However, it does have a slot-loading optical drive, which a netbook does not have. Because they are on the same side and just a few millimeters apart, big devices like thumb drives and 3G modems will prohibit the two USB ports from being utilized simultaneously, making two appear very lonely next to netbooks that often have three.This laptop is now rendered useless, even with the removal of Apple's cherished FireWire connector.


The MagSafe power adapter, which effortlessly disconnects from the notebook in the event that you trip over it or walk away with it still connected, is located inside Apple's sleek white box and is used by all MacBook models. The wire terminates at a right angle now that the power connection is on the side of the laptop rather than the back, a minor but ingenious modification that helps keep it out of the way. Thanks to an innovative swappable connection system, the compact power brick may be connected either directly to the wall (which will block off nearby outlets) or via a robust, meter-long cable.


The MacBook now has a massive multi-touch trackpad that depresses like one large button and has no buttons, just as the MacBook Pro. The pad is a true pleasure to use thanks to its enormous size and non-stick surface; multi-touch gestures just make the experience even more delightful. Press and hold the screen with all four fingers to launch Expose, for example.


The MacBook has a strong punch thanks to its Intel Core 2 Duo and Nvidia GeForce 9400M, especially when combined with a sophisticated operating system like Snow Leopard. It takes only 25 seconds to access the desktop after hitting the power button, which is horrifyingly fast compared to many Windows laptops, including those running Windows 7. Additionally, it remains brisk on the desktop even when bombarded with tabs from Safari, instant messaging windows, and other applications. While OS X has a dearth of games, the 9400M can easily run games that are several years old, such as Quake 4.


The newest MacBook has a sealed lithium-polymer battery, which eliminates the need to replace the battery when it runs out or even service the laptop yourself when the inevitable battery dies. This is in contrast to earlier generations of MacBooks, which utilized swappable lithium-ion batteries. Thankfully, there has also been an improvement in battery life; Apple promises a seven-hour run time. Like all estimates, it's skewed toward the high end and assumes you won't use every function, but under more realistic circumstances, like as using Wi-Fi and the screen at full brightness, we easily hit five hours.


Once again, Apple's brilliant group of engineers in Cupertino has succeeded. The latest MacBook is amazing. With the exception of the swappable battery (which most people will probably find insignificant), it is an absolute improvement over the previous generation tablet and comes at a respectable $999 price tag without adding a single dime. Although ardent travelers may choose to hunt for a lighter notebook, features like as enormous multi-touch touchpad and sturdy construction will probably make this fatty's additional weight justified unless you plan on carrying it around for several days.

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