MacBook: the Next 100 Days
I am sharing my thoughts on the macbook the next 100 days since my first article. I will focus on computing power, commuting capability, my productivity, and some gripes I have.
If you are in the market for a MacBook, I hope this article helps you decide if the MacBook is suitable for your life in the next four minutes!
If you want to get a MacBook, Apple sells refurbished ones here
It’s been over 100 days since I got my MacBook. I’ve used it to work/blog/plan on my commute and on my vacations as well. I have fallen in love with it more since the first ten days.
When Apple stopped selling MacBooks, my heart sank. I was hoping for a refreshed machine, but part of me knew that two full years without a refresh could only mean one thing: the end.
It’s sad that Apple did not continue the MacBook, it’s been the a great machine.
- computing-wise: just enough power for my needs
- commuting-wise: perfect for commuting on the train
- productivity-wise: doing more everywhere, every moment!
I hasn’t been all rosey, I do have some gripes as well.
The lower end MacBook from 2017, with the m3 processor and 8GB of RAM, is sufficient for my needs. I can run:
- VirtualBoxes to host:
- Rails servers
- Angular development
- Docker Swarm experiments
- multiple browsers (Vivaldi, Chrome, Safari, Chrome canary)
- Microsoft Office apps (Outlook, OneNote, PowerPoint)
All at the same time, well, maybe not all of the VirtualBoxes, but definitely one!
The processor is powerful enough, I didn’t feel things were slow. RAM was a bit tight, so I scaled back on the default settings for each virtual machine by about 50%, which isn’t bad. I had to configure swap for angular development (wow, that uses up a lot of RAM!)
That was the only thing I had to change when using the lower end MacBook, which is bearable.
Basically, I have been able to run on a MacBook everything that I was running on a MacBook Pro 15, which is a pleasant surprise!
The form factor of the MacBook is the ultimate commuting machine. At less than 1 kg, this is a feather compared to the MacBook Pro 15. It definitely does wonder on my back.
With the MacBook, I feel it is light enough to wear a sling instead of a backpack and I am considering getting a smaller backpack to make sure I don’t fill up the pack with other stuff because the MacBook is so light.
What about MacBook Air?
The next lightest machine, MacBook Air, is close in weight, but when I think about an extra 300g of additional weight, I think:
- MacBook Air OR
- MacBook and a small bottle of water?
When I choose the latter, I have everything essential for life and to stay hydrated.
If you want computing power AND comfortable backpack, the MacBook is still the champ!
As mentioned in the computing-wise section, I was able to run all the programs I need for work, which ranges from productivity applications to virtualized servers.
The great thing about this and the MacBook’s lightness is that I am able to work from anywhere.
When I am on vacation, it’s not that hard for me to decide which device to take anymore. I used to be confound between an iPad or a MacBook Pro, but with the MacBook, the decision is simpler: MacBook. Especially with USB-C!
I (USB-)C the Light!
Although the MacBook has a single USB-C port for charging and anything else, it has forced me to upgrade my gear. I miss the MagSafe port from the last generation of MacBook Pros and Airs but when I can use the same charger for my MacBook and my iPhone with a simple adapter, the MagSafe option just seems less desirable.
This has made taking the MacBook for traveling the default.
Honestly, what kind of article would this be if there were no gripes? It would be a glorified advertisement! There are areas of the MacBook that annoys me.
Thanks to USB-C, I need to get a dongle to plug in my computer to anything other than power. Have a USB memory stick? Let me find the USB-C to USB-A adapter. Presenting? Oh, I forgot my USB-C to HDMI adapter.
Just when things were unifying to be all digital, things are changing again.
Because I am using the MacBook more because I can use it anywhere, I monitor battery health like a hawk. I want to keep the battery healthy, so I want to use it until it’s dead and charge again, so I’m constantly monitoring the health.
Single USB-C Port
Having a single USB-C port is a bit rough. As much as I love the headphone jack, I would give that up to have another USB-C port on here when I’m at home and want to have a USB drive AND charge going.
As USB-C is so new, I do research for every dongle or device I am considering. Is it USB-C compatible, how about power delivery? What is the watt output? Hubs? Chargers? Things that “fit” into the USB-C hub might not always “work as expected”, especially chargers and battery packs!
Most of these gripes are not directly the fault of the MacBook, except the single port, and I believe with education and market maturity, these problems will resolve themselves.
The 100 days since my initial article with my MacBook has been great. There’s minor gripes I have with USB-C and my own habit of monitoring the battery health like a hawk.
Otherwise, productivity-wise, commuting-wise, and computing-wise, it’s been a total dream for me. Given the style, the weight, and sufficient processing power for me, I can see myself using the MacBook as my main machine in the short and medium term.
It’s sad to know a refreshed one won’t be coming anymore, so I’ll enjoy the last version as much as I can.
I just want to repeat, ff you want to get a MacBook, Apple sells refurbished ones here