There has been a dramatic improvement in the 12-inch MacBook’s performance throughout the years. What started out as a more affordable alternative to Apple’s more powerful and pricey MacBook Pro has become one of the company’s sleekest products. With a 12-inch body and a higher price tag, Apple revived the MacBook Air in 2015, four years after it had been discontinued.
Instead, its reinvention cemented its position as an ultrabook that broke new ground in terms of thinness, an accomplishment that the MacBook (2017) proved was no fluke.
This 2017 model maintains the series’ signature slim profile while delivering significant upgrades, including a gorgeous Retina display and more robust hardware. Nevertheless, it also has a higher price tag, being in the middle of the pricing spectrum between the 2017 MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar.
Those who value portability and access to Apple’s ecosystem have made the 12-inch MacBook (2017) their go-to laptop. Although production has ceased, demand remains high for this item. It’s the same sleek, brushed aluminum Apple ultrabook design, but at a fraction of the cost.
Price and Availability
Since Apple has discontinued the MacBook, you will not find it on their online store. Happily, the MacBook we reviewed here is still available from third-party dealers for $1,299 (£1,249, AU$1,899) or potentially less. At that price, you should be able to purchase everything detailed on our flamingo-pink specifications list.
There should still be more potent variants of the 12-inch MacBook available if your extravagant tastes or exacting needs necessitate it. You’ll need to put up a little more effort to find them.
For instance, you could get a MacBook with 512GB of SSD storage in place of the standard 256GB, and an Intel Core i5-7Y54 processor. It will still be fanless, so it won’t be as powerful as a machine like the MacBook Pro, but it will provide a noticeable improvement.
Note, however, that with such enhanced performance comes a hefty price tag of £1,549 (AU$2,349) for this MacBook Pro.
The most expensive configuration of the Apple MacBook includes a Core i7-7Y75 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe solid-state drive, and will set you back a whopping $1,949 (£1,864, AU$2,909).
Note, however, that in 2019, many laptops are now powered by 8th and 9th-generation chips, making these processors feel a bit dated. The updated and more affordably priced Apple MacBook Air (2019) may be a better choice if you’re looking for cutting-edge fanless silicon.
The Acer Swift 7 is an Ultrabook that aims to compete with the 12-inch MacBook, so if you’re looking for a Windows notebook with comparable features, you should consider it. Currently, a comparable Intel Core i7 Y-series processor with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage can be had for a minimum of $1,699 (£1,499, around AU$1,200). However, you do get a 14-inch screen with full HD resolution.
Chrome OS has Google’s Pixelbook, an earlier flagship machine with a more powerful Intel Core i5 processor, the same amount of RAM, but half as much SSD space as the top-end MacBook starting at $999 (£999, AU$791).
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Compared to the 2016 model, the Apple MacBook 2017 hasn’t changed visually or otherwise considerably. That is not always a negative development. And we really like that the brushed metal, which is available in Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold, continues to feel as sophisticated and modern as ever.
One of the main selling aspects of the MacBook is its size, and its thin chassis and light weight are two of its best features.
Admittedly, at this point in time, having an even thinner screen bezel or a second USB-C port would have been fantastic.
The redesigned backlit keyboard on the MacBook 2017 features improved, second-generation butterfly switches, making it a significant upgrade over the keyboards on the 2015 and 2016 versions.
Although the depth of travel remains the same, the increased force of the feedback makes for a much more enjoyable and, dare I say, comfortable typing experience.
The glass-coated, broad trackpad of the MacBook is unchanged from previous models, and it’s as pleasant to use as ever. Apple’s software and hardware for its touch interfaces continue to be nearly unparalleled in the industry.
The crucial term is “practically” because Google’s Pixelbook might already be on par with Apple’s. The device’s keyboard and trackpad are, quite frankly, unparalleled.
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Display and Sound
It’s common knowledge at this point that Apple has established its name in part by developing excellent displays; the 12-inch MacBook’s display is no exception, having remained mostly unchanged since the computer’s first debut in 2015.
Although it’s not the clearest screen in school anymore, the Retina display makes photo editing and other graphically heavy tasks seem great.
However, there are situations in which the MacBook’s unusual 16:10 aspect ratio could prove frustrating, such as while trying to view a movie in Fullscreen mode or edit an image in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The MacBook’s four stereo speakers located near the hinge allow it to play music loudly and clearly. The sound can be weak and tinny, with some channels in songs completely disappearing, as is the case with any notebook that has only millimeters to work with as audio chambers.
You probably won’t find a laptop with superior sound quality anywhere near this slim. Perhaps Apple was cognizant of this fact when it decided to keep the MacBook’s headphone connector.