New 12-inch MacBook with Retina display unboxing, overview, and benchmarks … – 9 to 5 Mac (blog)

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 5.37.54 AM

Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is out now, and today we’re going hands-on with the new machine. This ultra thin and portable MacBook is as controversial as it is beautiful, but will its features make up for the compromises? Let’s go ahead and find out…

We’re taking a look at the base model which includes a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor, 8GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 5300, and 256GB of internal storage. The display is 12-inches diagonally with a 2304 x 1440 resolution at 226 pixels per inch and a 16:10 aspect ratio. Essentially, this is Apple’s version of a netbook, but don’t let that scare you away. I was definitely surprised by the smooth performance within OS X. Of course, this MacBook isn’t built for CPU/GPU intensive workloads, but for the majority of people performing simple everyday tasks, it’ll get the job done.

This is Apple’s first fanless MacBook and there are no moving parts inside of it. The design is slim, sleek, and we once again have a MacBook available in more than one color. We have the Space Gray version on hand and have detailed its hardware and performance in the video below.

Check out our 12-inch MacBook unboxing, overview, and benchmarks video:

With this new MacBook, we have a new keyboard and trackpad design. Apple has created a new ‘butterfly key mechanism’ that provides a 40 percent thinner key assembly. Fortunately, there’s still a full-size keyboard here, and with 17 percent larger keys than a standard MacBook. They keyboard has much shallower travel, but I found it to be very easy to type on.

Apple has also implemented a new Force Touch trackpad that looks like a normal trackpad, but doesn’t act like one. This trackpad is pressure sensitive and doesn’t actually move like other’s we’ve seen on previous MacBooks. The sensors determine how much pressure is applied and Apple’s new Taptic Engine provides a “click sensation” when you press on the surface. It actually feels like a real click, but that’s not where the fun ends. This new Force Touch trackpad also comes with a wide variety of features that can be accessed with a Force Click. If you’d like to find out more about the Force Touch trackpad and its features, check out the video below.

As for the controversy, Apple has ditched all known forms of I/O this time around and left us with a single USB-C port on the MacBook’s left side. There is still a 3.5mm headphone jack present, but with only one very new USB port things may get tricky. The solution for just about anything is going to involve adapters at this point. The market hasn’t fully adopted USB-C yet and until it does, this is definitely going to be a concern to a lot of consumers. It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but if you rely on ports, this MacBook may not be for you.

Something interesting to note is that you can recharge the MacBook’s 5,191 mAh battery with an adapter cable and an external battery pack. This can be very useful for long trips away from an outlet and is only possible because of the USB-C connection port available. With a 10,000 mAh battery pack, you can nearly triple the battery life on this MacBook.

All of the MacBook’s benchmark results performance tests can be found in the first video embedded above. Just out of curiosity, we put this MacBook through a real-world video editing test to see what it could handle and the results were surprising. With Adobe Premiere, there was absolutely no issue editing together a one minute clip with 1080p footage. We gave it a go with some UHD footage, but unfortunately that was a bit too much for it to handle and resulted in dropped frames all over the place.

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18 Responses to “New 12-inch MacBook with Retina display unboxing, overview, and benchmarks (Video)”

  1. how would you say the other adobe programs preform? like Photoshop, illustrator and indesign? I won’t be doing video editing so i don’t have to worry about that


    • Dom Esposito says:

      Haven’t checked, but will be over the next week or two. Should run Photoshop though.


      • ok thank you, I’m between the new macbook or the new 13″ macbook pro. I just like how thin the new macbook is but wanna make sure it’ll run graphic design programs well


      • jomirrivera says:

        You have become the best at doing reviews. Keep doing them like this!

        As someone else suggested, a video of your setup and daily workflow app and devices would be great!

        Thanks a lot for the videos.

        Btw, the apple wacht video try one was absolutely amazing, the best one out there!


      • Yes. Watching you improve your reviews and turn them into an art form has been insanely great.


    • Joseph Frye says:

      I was faced with the same questions and went with the MacBook Pro 13″. I love it and haven’t regretted my decision.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just tested it out last night and it runs Photoshop well, but if you’re running those programs for professional or freelance use, it might not cut the mustard.

      If it’s going to be your primary work machine, I’d go with the MBP. If you have another MBP or a desktop you do most of your work on, the MacBook is a nice little complementary machine.


  2. Ryan says:

    Don – Would you be willing to do a post of your day-to-day mac setup? I like the way you roll.


    • Dom Esposito says:

      What specifically would you like to see? Just the Mac that I use ad my workhorse or what I have?


      • Ryan says:

        Your workhorse setup (display, stands, etc.) and your mobile goto (MacBook Pro, Air or iPad) and any Apps that help you get stuff done.

        Thanks man.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. acslater017 says:

    Nice video, Dom. Thanks for putting the MacBookthrough a bit of stress testing. Maybe in the future, you could also compare the results to another Mac for reference? e.g. The 2015 MacBook took 4 minutes to render this video, the 2013 MacBook Air took 3 min 10 sec or whatever :)


  4. Hi Dom

    Thanks for the great review. Quick question – have you tried to load any VM software like VMWare Fusion or VirtualBox and install Windows 8 as a Guest OS and see how well or poorly that performs ?


    • Mike Leardo says:

      really interested in this as well… i run windows 7 on Parallels and want to make sure that will still run smoothly


      • lellis2k says:

        And I run Windows 7 on a separate partition using BootCamp (runs smoother than VM) if anyone has tried that.


  5. Hey Dom. Thanks for your video on the Macbook. I needed this. I am shopping for a new Macbook from a Late 2008 Unibody MacBook (Yea I need an upgrade). I don’t use Photoshop, but I do use iMovie and Motion from time to time. It appears that 1080p rendering flows very easily on this Mac. I primarily write and research. I think that this MacBook may be best than getting a MacBook Pro, at least for what I do.

    Thanks again!


  6. ajhartless says:

    You may still be skeptical of the the new Macbook, but you have to admit this is one beautiful little machine. In an original post by Mr. Dom Esposito on 9to5Mac, the new 12 inch beauty is unboxed and bench marked. Maybe your waiting to get your hands on the one you ordered, or still trying to decide whether or not it’s worth the buy – either way, the unboxing is worth taking a look at.


  7. davidt4n says:

    This is like first gen MacBook Air. I’ll buy it probably years later. So an iPhone and a MacBook. iPad just doesn’t work when u have a phablet like 6+


  8. I just hope that, instead of hundreds of new third party adapter cables for MacBook owners, there will be significant improvements to wireless support on network attached printers, projectors, storage and whatnot. Fighting backwards compatibility will slow down the beautiful progress that this specific laptop is about to make.



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