MacBook Early 2015 review

January 13, 2016

Over the holidays I had a chance to try for 3 weeks the new MacBook, Early 2015 model. When it was announced I was pretty sceptical of it.

My initial concerns:

  • Intel Core M processor might be painfully slow
  • No USB type A slot
  • Gold is a gimmicky colour
  • Force touchpad would not feel as good
MacBook Early 2015 gold

To my surprise the CPU held up very well. I was running two IDEs (WebStorm & DataGrip), Sublime, 10 - 20 tabs in Chrome, plus some other smaller programs. I was pleasantly surprised to see no noticeable difference compared to my 4 core 15" MBP.

The lack of USB type A slot is a bit of a bummer but a necessary one. The only thing I connect to my computers these days are external drives. Since USB-C is backward compatible it's easy to fix by getting the right cables or using an adapter.

Before using the computer I thought the gold colour was very gimmicky and unappealing. In my mind there were only two allowed laptop colours; grey and black. However it really grew on me. Pictures don't do it justice, it looks much better up close. If I were to get myself another computer I'd seriously consider the gold.

The keyboard and the force touchpad are my favourite things. It took some time getting used to but after about a week I started to really like it. Going back to my 15" MBP felt weird, I notice way more how wobbly and small the keys are. Physical clicks on the force touchpad require less force which better enables certain gestures. For example selecting a piece of text by clicking and dragging with one finger is way better, on the older touchpads I find the gesture unusable.

Things I don't like about the MacBook:

  • No MagSafe :(
  • Pulling out of the USB-C slot can be awkward
  • No option for 16GB RAM
  • It's sort of required to buy an adapter and they are expensive

Overall I really like this portable little machine. I'd recommend it primarily for casual users doing light work: browsing, writing, school etc. For those users the machine will age the best since I suspect the non-upgradeable 8GB RAM will be the limiting factor after 2-4 years. I enjoyed programming on it but I'd rather have my 15" MBP for longer sessions.

Tl;dr: Initially very sceptical about the Early 2015 MacBook but was pleasantly surprised after 3 weeks of use. Would recommend for casual users and school.

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