The third version of the 12-inch MacBook (after the 2015 and the 2016 models) was introduced at Apple’s WWDC 2017 event. This release is sure to move the notebook from its cult status to a more mainstream machine. There have been some internal upgrades that make a world of difference and would make it easier for the consumers to choose this MacBook over the bigger MacBook Pro or the older MacBook Air.
So, if you’re planning to buy the new 2017 MacBook in India, you should know what you can expect and what has changed in this version.
Let’s Start with the Specs:
Price (at launch): $1300/ INR 1,09,900
Display size/resolution: 12-inch 2,304 x 1,440 display
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core m3-7Y32
Memory: 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz
Graphics: 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 615
Storage: 256GB SSD
Networking: 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system: MacOS 10.12.5 Sierra
Comparing with the Previous Models:
The 2017 MacBook is physically identical to the 2016 version. Also, the only port is the single USB-C one which isn’t Thunderbolt enabled. So, if you are a regular user of USB keys or any outboard gear, it’s still a hassle. Even though you can get USB-C dongles and adapters, they are inconvenient and expensive.
However, now the USB-C is much more mainstream than it was a couple of years back with other companies like Dell and Samsung adopting it. Apple’s MacBook Pro also has USB-C, but that’s just two of the four total ports.
Better and More Comfortable Keyboard:
The biggest complaint about the 12 inch MacBook’s first two versions that people had was its flat keyboard which didn’t entirely seem comfortable for typing. There was a lack of tactile feedback, and the keys were far different from the standard island-style keys.
In the 2017 version, MacBook has adopted the improved second generation butterfly mechanism inspired from the Pro line. While the look of the keyboard is the same, there is a visible click and spring to the keys that it lacked before.
The new 12-inch MacBook has been bumped up to the latest generation of Intel processors. This processor is called Kaby Lake and is the seventh generation of the Core-series CPUs.
You can still get the base model of 1.2GHz Core m3 model for $1,299 while the 1.3GHz dual core Intel Core i5 is for $1,599 and the dual Core i7 is for $1,749. The RAM can now be bumped up from 8GB to 16GB for an extra $200, and according to Apple, this includes SSD storage which is 50% faster.
However, you should keep in mind that these Core i5/i7 processors are y-generation series Intel CPUs. They are quicker than the default Core m3 but are still very effective parts that are designed for the raw performance of the battery life.
The Core m3 models have performed as expected in everyday multitasking and performance tests. It is certainly faster than the previous generation of the 12-inch MacBook but still isn’t a match to the standard U-series Core i5. More importantly, the battery life is questionable. There hasn’t been a lot of changes in this department since last year.
The new MacBook clocks in at 10:26 on a video streaming test. It’s close to the top, while many Windows are playing in the similar ballpark now because laptops everywhere are running for a longer time without DC now.
Ready for Prime Time:
Over the past three generations, the 12-inch MacBook has remained relatively stable with the same slim 2.03-pound body and a high-resolution Retina Display. However, some significant problems hindered the previous versions like the not-so-great 480p webcam and of course the single USB-C port for all the power and connectivity needs. It acted as a deal breaker for many.
While keeping those limitations in mind, the upgraded CPU and the better keyboard certainly is a step forward. This can very well be called one of the best versions of the 12-inch MacBook yet. However, if you have to choose between buying the latest MacBook in India and the pro line, you can consider the default the 13-inch MacBook Pro (minus the Touch Bar).
It has gotten the price cut to $1,299 for 128GB model (half the storage but the same price as 12-inch MacBook). While one is the typical powerhouse, the other has strictly enforced minimalism. If you are a fan of minimalism and portability, then the 12-inch is the best option that you can find right now.