Product Type: Apple laptops
Newest Review: ... started to crack slightly after a year or so of use - It was only a slight cosmetic issue, but annoying nevertheless. That said, it's a... more
It's an Apple - not a Golden Delicious, but a White Wonder
Apple MacBook MB061B/A
Member Name: JJJJ
Apple MacBook MB061B/A
Date: 25/11/10, updated on 02/01/11 (195 review reads)
Advantages: Looks great, works well, runs applications smoothly... I could go on...
Disadvantages: Plastic keyboard surround may turn brittle over time
Let's Get Technical
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As standard, the laptop comes with 1GB of RAM made up of two 512Mb banks of DDR2 (yes, let's get the tech-speak out the way first). The 120GB (Serial ATA-150 - 5400 rpm) hard drive is plenty big enough for my needs - in layman's terms, it's not a massive amount by today's standards, but it will store A LOT of photos. The processor is of the Intel Core Duo 2 variety - a very capable model which is a solid all-round performer. In practical terms, even though it's a computer primarily designed for the amateur market, the MB061B/A handles graphic intensive applications rather well - Photoshop CS4 in particular runs smoothly, as does Adobe Illustrator and inDesign. No, the laptop won't be able to display the latest games to their full graphical potential - but then again it isn't a machine designed for gaming. As you would expect, the laptop has Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi capabilities, both of which I'm happy to report no problems with.
Price & Availability - how much should I pay for the laptop?
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As it's not one of Apple's newest models, the MB061B/A can be picked up for around £450 online - this represents a bargain considering the fact that Apple's latest entry-level MacBook is a whopping £400 more. If you're interested in buying a secondhand MB061B, then you should be looking to spend in the region of £250 - £350 from eBay depending on the item's condition.
Keyboard - the keys to the kingdom
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When it comes to typing, I'm generally very fussy about the location / feel of my keys, and luckily the MacBook's setup is spot-on. All of the keys are placed in easily accessible positions on a slightly sunken keyboard which is a pleasure to behold. Where the keyboard comes into its own is with the actual feel of the keys - I know that everyone has their own preference with regard to keyboard type, but here, Apple have really hit the spot. The low profile keys feel crisp, look good, and make a pleasing sound when pressed. I especially appreciate the separation of the individual keys, which seems to reduce errors when typing at full speed. The trackpad is large and responsive, with a generous single button located underneath. When new, the trackpad has a slightly textured feel, but this becomes smooth and glossy after a year or so of use - this doesn't really effect the performance, but I did prefer the feel of the trackpad when it was new.
Screen, Surround, & Disc Drive
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The MacBook MB061B's high quality 13.3" (1280 x 800 pixels) widescreen display is very impressive - glossy, crisp, and surprisingly glare-free in sunny conditions. Small text appears very readable due to an outstanding clarity, and colours (which are adjustable via the System Preferences 'Display' application) are vibrant and pure. I would say that the quality of MacBook screens are one of this particular range of laptop's major selling points, and since using this computer, I haven't encountered as much eye-strain as I have in the past. Above the screen is a tiny 'EyeSight' camera, which can function as a webcam - handy for those free Skype video calls to Australia. The screen closes in a smooth manner, fitting superbly onto the keyboard via a seamless and latch free system - engineering to the highest standard. The MacBook takes CDs and DVDs via a slot loading input on the right side of the device - discs are accepted by the computer in a fairly fluent (albeit quite noisy) motion, and removed similarly effectively. In use, the drive is fairly quiet, and disc read and write speeds are generally impressive.
Durability - will the computer survive if it falls off the table!?
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There's no doubting that the MB061B/A is one of the tough cookies of the laptop world - I've dropped, stood on (albeit lightly), and generally abused (accidentally) the machine, all without adverse effects. My worst crime was to accidentally spill a cup of white spirit into the keyboard (not the best place to spill, considering that a laptop's vital components are usually located behind the keys), and even then the MacBook lived to fight another day. It's no surprise then, that I've got not qualms about the computer from a tougness perspective, as it really delivers the goods.
Battery Life & Charger
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These days, the lifespan of the humble laptop battery is increasing exponentially, with some manufacturers offering a miraculous seven or eight hours continuous use. The MacBook's Lithium Polymer battery isn't quite so impressive, but when new it should give you between three and four hours to play with. As my MacBook is a couple of years old, it now only manages around two hours from a full charge before giving up the ghost - still, not bad at all. It should be noted that the battery life will improve if you decide to switch off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or any other features that you may not be using. The battery charger comes in the form of Apple's ultra-impressive 'Magsafe' system - the cable connects to the laptop via magnetism alone, and any excess strain on the cord will break the connection and pull it free from its socket. Therefore, tripping over the cable will result in it releasing from the computer body without the computer itself being pulled with it - genius.
Additional Features - tying up the loose ends
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Located at a right angle to the keyboard, parallel to the base of the screen, are the MacBook's stereo speakers - these relatively small sound-producing units are actually *fairly* decent for their size. I would describe the quality of the sound output as 'solid', handling high-end mid to treble sounds with a certain clarity, but lacking any real depth of bass at the other end. Not a bad effort - and probably quite high ranking when compared the the other laptop speakers i've heard in the past. In terms of the input and output sockets, the laptop features two USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire input, a headphone, and a microphone slot. There's also video out in the form of a mini-DVI display port, and internet is catered for (apart from via Wi-Fi) with an Ethernet port.
Issues - any problems encountered?
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I'm not going to lie, I have encountered a few problems with my MacBook - but the majority of these issues have been software rather than hardware related, and subsequently fixed via a software update direct from Apple. The only hardware problem I have faced relates to the plastic shell around the keyboard, which started to crack slightly after a year or so of use - It was only a slight cosmetic issue, but annoying nevertheless. That said, it's an issue which Apple are generally happy to replace for free, as there's now a newer less-brittle casing available which seems to solve the problem.
Final Word - an essential purchase?
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Overall, I'm incredibly happy with the MacBook MB061B/A - it's a laptop which I have found to be reliable, good looking, and powerful enough for my needs. Like many of Apple's machines, it's a computer built with the consumer in mind - fun, accessible, and comfortable to use - the fact that it remains fairly cool when placed on the lap for extended periods is a definite bonus. In combination with Apple's OSX Snow Leopard operating system, the computer is one of the best consumer laptops that i've had the pleasure to use, and a definite bargain at today's prices. No, it's not a perfect device, and there are a few issues which serve as minor annoyances - but overall, it's a great machine which really delivers the goods.
Additional Technical Info
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Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Clock Speed - 2100 MHz
Hard drive Capacity - 120 GB
Display Resolution - 1280 x 800 pixels, 13.3" TFT
Memory - 2 x 512 MB (maximum internal memory 4 GB) DDR2
Optical drive type - CD-RW / DVD-ROM Combo
Number of built-in speakers - 2
Bluetooth version - 2.0+EDR
Wireless technology - IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Battery Technology - Lithium polymer
Dimensions - 227 mm (d) x 325 mm (w) x 27.5 mm (h)
Weight - 2270g
Summary: Excellent ice-white laptop
|Ease of use:|
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