Last updated April 12, 2018
I purchased this MacBook Retina 12″ over 2 years ago (April 10, 2015), and it’s still my favorite laptop. Since then Apple has updated it with the second generation (April 19, 2016) and the third generation (June 6, 2017). But the features and the performance of the original one that I have still works perfectly for all my laptop needs. As you are aware, I LOVE the greatest gadgets and technologies, and of course that includes computers. So to be fully content with a 2 year old laptop, and have absolutely no desires to upgrade, is a HUGE testament to how amazing this laptop is!
You can get it on Amazon for around $1100-$1500 based on the specs.
Everyone has different needs/wants so it’s important that I clarify what my needs/wants are and why this laptop is perfect for me.
- I wanted a laptop that was light weight so that I could carry it around wherever I go.
- I wanted a laptop that I could use on my lap for hours without it getting too hot.
- I wanted a laptop that did NOT have a physical fan. Most laptop fans are very loud because they are small and need to move a lot of hot air.
- I wanted a laptop that had a high resolution screen. Reason #1 is to be more productive and fit more things on the screen at once, Reason #2 is because I am used to high resolution displays on everything else I own, so seeing big large pixels got annoying to me.
- I wanted a laptop that had CPU power to do light video editing (such as YouTube videos @ 1080P), edit photos in Adobe Lightroom, light photoshop editing, run web browser with multiple tabs opened at once, watch YouTube and enjoy Social Media.
- I wanted at least 8GB of RAM to facilitate the software needs in the item above.
- I wanted good battery life that would last at least 8 hours.
- I wanted to be enjoy videos on YouTube and Netflix. So the screen needs to be good and the speakers need to be decent.
- I wanted it to have fast start up/shutdown and launch my apps quickly.
PROS of the MacBook Retina 12″:
- Performance is great for web browsing, watching YouTube Videos, Watching Netflix, Word Processing, Lightroom photo editing, light photoshop work, and slight video editing. If you’re doing high resolution photo editing or lots of video editing, I would recommend the MacBook Pro instead.
- The Speakers are AMAZING, they sound really REALLY good. Actually the best sounding speakers on a laptop I’ve ever heard. They sound better than the previous generation MacBook Pro laptops!
- 1080P content is beautifully smooth on this machine. Even when connected to an external Monitor
- It is lightweight: 2.03 pounds (0.92 kg). (all 3 generations of the laptop).
- It is compact: 11.04 inches (28.04 cm) wide × 7.74 inches (19.66 cm) deep × 0.14 inches (0.36 cm) to 0.52 inches (1.32 cm) high
- The has a physical larger screen than the MacBook Air 11″, but high resolution than even the BackBook Air 13″, PERFECT! The Retina screen resolution on this laptop is nothing short of amazing. The screen is 2304 × 1440 (16:10), 226 ppi, with millions of colors (supported scaled resolutions: 1440 × 900, 1280 × 800, 1024 × 640).
- The newest version of the MacBook Retain can support up to 16GB of RAM. Which is plenty.
- Although it doesn’t have a very fast processor it has an Solid State Drive (SSD) that launches applications quickly and boots the machine up super fast!
- The battery life is great on the 2015 model I have, and has been improved even more in the 2016 and 2017 models.
- The laptop does stay comfortable, temperature wise. NOTE: It does start to get a little hot when doing intense tasks such as rendering a video, but using when I’m rendering a video, I take a break from using the laptop, I just let it do its thing.
- The MacBook Retina is completely fan-less which means there is no moving parts and no loud fans! I’m a big fan of this fact 😉
- I actually like the shallow travel keyboard (the 2017 model has the updated 2nd generation butterfly keyboard that’s even better). NOTE: this is a personal preference and you should test out the keyboard before you buy.
- BONUS feature I didn’t expect, but if you buy a USB-A to USB-C cable. Then you can actually use a battery pack (like the one people use to charge phones and tablets on the go), and charge this laptop! It takes awhile, but I was surprised that it actually worked!
CONS of the MacBook Retina 12″:
Here are the CONS of this laptop: (and for this reason, I have a super powerful Apple iMac 27″ Retina that can handle all my other computing needs).
- This laptop runs on a Intel Core-M “mobile” processor, so it’s slower than the slowest desktop you can buy. But this was a sacrifice I was wiling to make.
- I was able to run a simple Virtual Machine (VM) using VM fusion, but with the limited CPU and RAM, it was not able to really function as a VM house.
- I was trying to do some iOS app development, and found it was very slow to startup and run the emulators/simulators.
- If you’re looking to play 4K video content, it will work fine with the built in screen, but when connected to an external monitor, 4K video was laggy. NOTE: I believe with the 2016 and 2017 generation, the 4K should be perfectly fine.
- NOT a gaming laptop, I wouldn’t consider paying modern games on this machine.
- If you plan on doing a lot of video editing, this is NOT the machine for that task. It’ll struggle. It’s about twice as slow as a MacBook Pro for 5 years ago!
- It only has 1 port. Yep, a single USB-C port…. and that’s also used to Charge the laptop too! So technically speaking when you’re charing your laptop, there is not room to plug in any other USB device. There is a headphone jack, but that’s it, just the one USB-C port and a 3.5mm Headphone jack. Solution: Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. This product works great, it adds regular USB-A port, passes through a USB-C port so you can charge it or plug in a USB-C device, and it has a HDMI output! Here are other cheaper alternatives that work great too, like this one: Verbatim Slim Aluminum USB-C Hub Adapter Dongle
- Although the battery life is good for simple web browsing, if I use more CPU intensive things such as edit videos or photos, then the battery life is dramatically reduced.
I highly recommend this if your needs align with mines, and you have a faster computer at home to do heavy tasks. If you want one portable machine that can do everything, then the MacBook Pro line up is better choice for you. Later this year, I may purchase a MacBook Pro to test out to compare.