When Apple first released the MacBook 12-inch in 2015, I was adamant that I wouldn’t get one. I felt the MacBook 12-inch was overpriced, under-powered and just did not offer a good bang for the buck. While the MacBook 12-inch included some nice features like a smaller form factor, being lightweight (slightly over 2 lbs), having a Retina display and incorporating current technology, it was simply too difficult to justify spending $1,299 for the base model when you could get more bang for the buck from either a MacBook Air 13.3-inch (starting at $999) or MacBook Pro 13.3-inch with function keys (starting at $1,299).
That said, I did eventually get a 2016 MacBook 12-inch base model. I bought the MacBook 12-inch to take on a two-week trip. I needed to bring a laptop with me (a tablet just wouldn’t cut it) but it had to be smaller and lighter than a MacBook Air 13.3-inch as I simply had very limited space to pack it. Thinking about it carefully, if I was going to invest the money in something smaller and lighter, it would have to be something reliable. At the end of the day, while Apple products are more expensive, Apple does make good, reliable products with longevity, so it made sense.
I must say that I have grown to enjoy using the MacBook 12-inch when traveling, whenever I need to carry a laptop around or just need true portability. The lightweight and smaller form factor are a major plus. While I prefer the keyboard on the 2017 model more than the one on the 2016 model, it’s still better than the 2015. I’ve managed to get around the single USB-C port by using an adapter either from Apple or Satechi (I’ll include links to the adapters I use at the end of this post). The Retina display is quite impressive and the improved audio & speakers on the MacBook 12-inch give the MacBook Air and older MacBook Pros a run for the money in the audio/sound department. I am disappointed that the built-in camera is only 480p when the MacBook Air 11.6-inch model included a 720p camera. The quality is really pixelated and choppy, but I have managed to avoid using the 480p camera.
Performance-wise, the MacBook 12-inch base model with the Intel Core m3 1.1 GHz processor and 8GB RAM handles relatively well for normal, average use. I have edited some short videos in Final Cut Pro X using the MacBook 12-inch but transcoding and rendering does take quite some time to complete (it’s really, really slow!). I have experienced a few crashes while trying to work in Final Cut Pro X. I’ve also run into issues trying to connect two external SSD drives via an adapter to the MacBook 12-inch where one of the drives would randomly disconnect. I did test the two external SSD drives by connecting them to a MacBook Air 13.3-inch and there were no issues. I’m guessing it could be a power issue/limitation when connecting an adapter to the single USB-C port. Obviously, the MacBook 12-inch isn’t intended for processor intensive or performance heavy work like graphics & design (ex: Adobe Photoshop) and video editing (ex: Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere). However, if you are using it for general multi-tasking, music and video streaming, it should work perfectly fine.
Is it the best bang for your buck? No, but if you are looking for ultra-portability, current technology, you’re using it for non-processor and non-performance intensive applications and you’re willing to throw out the additional cash, then the MacBook 12-inch will do nicely. Apple is reportedly working on a less expensive replacement for the MacBook Air 13.3-inch, so if you are not in a rush to get a MacBook 12-inch, I would suggest holding off a bit to see what Apple has in store.
I’ve put together a list of accessories that I have/use with my MacBook 12-inch. If you’re interested, feel free to check them out below.
Mosiso Laptop Sleeve/Case for MacBook 12-inch - https://amzn.to/2CCBb9X
Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter with USB-C Pass-Through, HDMI, Two USB 3.0 ports - https://amzn.to/2CDoUCa
Apple USB-C Digital AV Multi-Port Adapter - https://amzn.to/2wZTuQb
Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger - https://amzn.to/2oUatjl