By Cisco Cheng  |  Posted 2006-06-16 Print this article Print

If you held off buying an older Apple iBook with one of the G4 processors, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for making a shrewd tech-buying move. The new Apple MacBook ($1,699 direct) is the latest successor to the iBook 12-inch and is loaded with many of the same cool features found in its MacBook Pro brethren, the MacBook Pro 15-inch and MacBook Pro 17-inch. Youll be happy to find such treats as the latest Intel components, a glossy widescreen display, and even a new matte-black finish.

The new MacBook comes in three configurations, all available in the familiar Apple-white design. But you can also get, as I did, the high-end configuration in a very un-Apple-like black design. (Funny how the black version looks like a typical Microsoft Windows laptop.) Personally, I think the white MacBooks are better-looking, and they dont clash with Apples white-colored AC adapter (60W, not the 84W found on the MacBook Pro) and Apple Remote accessories.

Color and design aside, there are other cool features, such as the wide 13.3-inch screen that boasts a glossy surface, which livens up photos and movies. This is an upgrade from the 12.1-inch matte screen found on the iBook. Lets not forget Apples hallmark 1-inch-thick chassis, which lets you easily slide the notebook into briefcases or backpacks. The laptop uses the same, tough polycarbonate plastic found in bulletproof windshields and it weighs 5.1 pounds, roughly the same as the original iBook. Sadly, the MacBook emits heat like a veritable hotplate, exhibiting the same cooling problems plaguing the MacBook Pros.

Youll notice the keyboard is slightly different from other Apple notebooks, too. The keys are slightly smaller, but evenly spaced so you get the same tactile feel as on other responsive, full-size keyboards. Additionally, the individual keys lie flatter against the surface and are harder to remove—especially good if you have inquisitive children. I love the width of the large touchpad and that you can scroll in multiple directions by applying two fingers. But the pad still has a single-click mouse button, which is problematic if you plan on booting right-click-friendly Windows.

My test configuration costs $1,699, but there are comparable MacBook machines from $1,099. No matter which configuration you decide on, you get many of the cool features found in the more expensive MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models. These include the easy-release MagSafe adapter, the iSight webcam, Apples Front Row, the Apple Remote, and the all-inclusive iLife 06 suite.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: Apple MacBook 13-inch Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.

Cisco Cheng is PC MagazineÔÇÖs lead analyst for laptops and tablet PCs. He is responsible for benchmarking, reviewing, and evaluating all laptops and tablet PCs. Cisco started with PC Magazine in 1999 as a support technician, testing printers, PC components, networking equipment, and software. He became the lead analyst for the laptop team in 2003 and since has written numerous reviews, buyer guides, and feature stories for both PCMag.com and the print magazine.

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