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First Impressions of New 12-Inch MacBook: Ridiculously Light, but Thin Keys and Trackpad Take Getting Used To

Following today's "Spring Forward" media event, Apple allowed members of the media in attendance to get some hands-on time with the brand-new 12-inch Retina MacBook. Many sites are now sharing their first impressions of the notebook, which includes an incredibly thin design (13.1mm), a revamped trackpad, a Core M processor, silent operation thanks to the lack of a fan, an edge-to-edge keyboard, and a single USB-C port.

We've gathered up some of the initial thoughts below to give our readers an introductory look at what to expect from the new MacBook.

To begin with, TechnoBuffalo has a hands-on video of the 12-inch Macbook, which gives a good look at the various features of the device, including the edge-to-edge keyboard, the Touchpad, and the new USB-C port. It also gives us a clear picture of just how thin the new MacBook is.


Engadget's Dana Wollman says the new MacBook at 2 pounds "makes the Air feel like a heavy old thing." Wollman was initially skeptical of the new keyboard, which has keys with less travel, but ultimately found that the keys are "still springy."
Though the buttons are indeed flat, and though they aren't cushy, they are still springy. They pop back up when I hit them. That means I can type at a gingerly pace and know that for the most part, I won't miss a key, and that most of my button presses will register. If this were another machine, I might unconsciously start mashing the buttons, just to make sure I don't have to go back and re-type anything. I was prepared to do that here, but quickly felt my hands relax once I realized they didn't actually need to work that hard. Again, though, there could still be a learning curve for those of you upgrading from an older MacBook.
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Image via Engadget

The Verge's Dieter Bohn says the new MacBook is "ridiculously thin and so light" that he didn't believe it when he picked it up. He was impressed with the "insanely thin" 2304 x 1440 display. The trackpad, he says, is accurate, but Force Click is "far from intuitive" and that it will take him some time to get used to it.
You press down hard and keep pressing through the click, as though you were karate chopping with you finger and trying to hit a target behind the trackpad. Do that and you'll feel a subtle second click happen, and ta-da you've activated force click. For the company that famously refused to put more than one button on the mouse, putting an extra interaction like this on the trackpad seems weird.
Gizmodo's Sean Hollister was also impressed with the lightness of the new MacBook, writing "it felt like I was holding nothing at all. It's so light," but he went on to say that the notebook is "not completely lovable" due to the MacBook's keys, which are too thin. The screen, though, is "gorgeous" and he loved the new Force Touch trackpad.
Apple's new Force Touch pad sounded a little bit gimmicky during the announcement... but I love it. I love it so much. Not because it's easy to press like the laptop buttons of yesteryear--it's not--but because it's so smart. Forget copy and pasting text when you want to look up an address or add events to a calendar: Mac OS is now smart enough to do those things automatically the moment you push down on the trackpad.

You just physically push down harder--the sensitivity's adjustable--to take an action on what looks like plain text on the web or even in a text document, and boom, you're getting shit done.
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Image via Gizmodo

SlashGear's Chris Burns calls the display "incredible" with huge viewing angles and crisp, clean details. Burns highlights the single USB-C port on the MacBook, which is the only port on the device. It handles all necessary functions like charging and USB input. He also points out that the FaceTime camera on the MacBook is only 480p, lower quality than Apple's other notebooks.

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Image via SlashGear

Wired's David Pierce says the MacBook is "amazingly sturdy" for being so thin, and its screen is "lovely."
Everything about the MacBook is about beauty, whether it's the single USB-C port on the left side--the only port on the entire device save for a headphone jack on the right--or the new Gold, Space Gray, and Silver colors. The Gold is actually much more handsome than gaudy, but the Space Gray is my favorite of the options. It's dark and sleek, fitting for a device that's so, so very thin.
Like the other reviewers, Pierce was not impressed with the MacBook's keys, which he says he "immediately hated." The MacBook, he says, runs "quite well" for a device that uses an ultra low power Core M processor.

Apple's new MacBook will be available for purchase beginning on April 10. The 256GB base model with a 1.1GHz Core M processor and 8GB of RAM is priced at $1,299, while the upgraded model with a 1.2GHz Core M processor, 512GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM is priced at $1,599.

Related Roundup: Retina MacBook
Tag: March 2015 event
Buyer's Guide: MacBook (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

18 months ago
480p front facing? The 90'ties want their webcam back...
Rating: 63 Votes
18 months ago
Great, only one port on the laptop.

I can't wait to see the spider's nest of cables and plugs that some people are going to need with this one.

HDMI, power, USB for external devices, Thunderbolt... All going through one port.

Who thought this would be a good idea? Oh, right. Jony...
Rating: 50 Votes
18 months ago
apple has more money than any other company........but they cant throw in the usb adapter for free on a $1300 notebook.......
Rating: 48 Votes
18 months ago
For once, the rumours and mock-ups nailed it (in terms of design).
Rating: 23 Votes
18 months ago

We designed the new macbook with one port, so you don't have to worry about where to plug which port you just plug everything into one. It is so simple, you don't think you just Do.


Apple blow up dolls... they keep it simple with only one hole :eek:
You don't think, you just Do.
Rating: 22 Votes
18 months ago
Good thing it has a headphone jack, for a moment there I thought I'd to use bluetooth headphones.
Rating: 14 Votes
18 months ago
We designed the new macbook with one port, so you don't have to worry about where to plug which port you just plug everything into one. It is so simple, you don't think you just Do.
Rating: 14 Votes
18 months ago
Does it heat a lot? That's the only thing i want to know since it's fanless
Rating: 14 Votes
18 months ago
In shock...

I'm shocked by this new macbook.
Out of the box it can't connect to an external display, read from a DVD, read an SD card, or connect to anything USB while charging. Wanna do any of these...drop an extra $79 on an adapter? How do I import my pictures from SD cards? Two adapters?
Rating: 13 Votes
18 months ago
This seriously looks amazing... for something that should cost $400-500.

Why in the heck would anyone spend a whopping $1300 for something like this?!?! Just get a MacBook Pro.

I mean, if I'm forking out over a thousand dollars, I'm gonna want more than one freaking USB port on my computer. What happens when I want to transfer something from a thumb drive to an external hard drive? ...And then what if I need to charge it also while I'm doing those transfers? Or what if I want it plugged in while using HDMI?

I, for one, would absolutely HATE to have a spiderweb of dangly cables/splitters coming out from ONE port. It's absurd. Couldn't it have just been a tad thicker in order to have at least TWO USB-C ports?

But anyway, it's a BEAUTIFUL netbook. Can I say that? Yeah, it's a netbook.

And if it was in the $400-500 price range, I'd say Apple is super smart for putting something like this out on the market. But I just can't see why ANYONE would spend SO MUCH MONEY on something that's simply just not worth it.
Rating: 12 Votes

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