This is one of 5 articles dedicated to Apple’s Macbooks:
1. How you can choose the ideal Macbook 12″ (this article)
2. How to choose the best Macbook Air 11.6″
3. How to choose the best Macbook Air 13.3″
4. How to choose the best Macbook Pro 13.3″
5. How to choose the best Apple 15.4″ Macbook Pro
Who is the 12″ Macbook ideal for?
Anyone who wants a laptop that’s as light weight as possible, with a long battery life.
What is the Macbook 12″ good for?
- Web browsing
- Office work (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)
- Listening to music
- Watching TV/movies from local files or streaming. Note that you’ll need an adapter to connect a monitor or HDTV.
Why do you want the 12″ Macbook: Pros
- Incredibly thin and lightweight: Only 2lbs and 0.11-0.52″ thick. Perfect if you’re traveling and often on the move.
- It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
- 2304 x 1440 (16×10 ratio, 226 pixels per inch) high resolution Retina 12″ IPS display. 178° wide viewing angle, great contrast and accurate, vibrant colors.
- Outstanding out of the box grey scale and color accuracy
- Excellent keyboard, with new butterfly switches: More stable and they have the same feel to them no matter where on the key you press.
- Backlit keyboard: Each key is individually lit. The LEDs are calibrated for uniform brightness, so every key and character looks clear and sharp with minimal light around the keycap.
- High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
- Silent: The use of the low power Core M processor allows the Macbook to be fanless. It contains no motorized parts and the only moving parts are the keyboard keys, the trackpad, and the screen hinge.
- USB-C port is reversible: Type-C connector is a clear improvement over Type-A if you’ve ever struggled with getting a device plugged in the first place. Either way is the right way, making it much easier to plug in USB devices.
- Long battery life: 9 hours of web browsing, 10 hours of Itunes movie playback.
- Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
- Solid screen hinge
- Force Touch trackpad: Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Latest generation 802.11ac WiFi
Why you might not want the 12″ Macbook: Cons
- Limited amount of ports: Only a single USB-C port and a combo audio jack. The Macbook 12″ uses its single USB 3.1 Type-C port for charging with the AC adapter too. If you plan on docking it to a screen, keyboard, mouse, etc., you’ll need an adapter or a dock. See the recommended adapters/dock section at the end of the article.
- Limited CPU performance: In sustained workloads (30 minutes +) the Core M will lower its frequency (and performance) to keep heat under control. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required.
- Limited GPU (video card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that.
- No LAN port
- No optical drive
- No Numpad
- The Macbook cannot be serviced: RAM and storage cannot be upgraded, the battery is only replaceable by Apple.
How to Choose your Macbook 12″
What you need to know:
All models have this in common:
Dimensions: Height: 0.11-0.52″/0.35-1.31cm, Width: 11.04″/28.05cm, Depth: 7.74″/19.65cm
Weight: 2.03 lbs (0.92kg)
Screen: Retina 12″, resolution: 2304 x 1440 (226 pixels per inch (ppi)), type of panel: IPS (178° wide viewing angle, great contrast and accurate, vibrant colors!)
Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C, 3.5mm combo jack
Networking: 2×2:2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
OS: Mac OS X El Capitan, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.
What’s better on the 2016 models compared to the 2015 models:
Faster CPU, improved integrated graphics, much faster storage, faster RAM and 1 more hour of battery life.
– Upgraded CPU: You get the newer, higher performance, 6th generation Intel Core CPU architecture, Skylake. Expect 10 to 20% more performance compared to the older models.
– Upgraded GPU (video card): While the 2015 model included an Intel HD 5300 integrated setup, the 2016 model includes the faster Intel HD 515 GPU. According to Apple, expect “up to 25 percent more performance”.
– Higher performance RAM: 8GB LPDDR3-1866MHz vs 8GB LPDDR3-1600
– Storage: You get a faster storage solution, with 30-40% faster reads and nearly 100% faster writes performance.
– Battery: You get an extra hour of battery life with the newer model, thanks to its higher capacity battery: 41.4 Wh in the 2016 model, 39.7 Wh in the 2015 model, as well as improved efficiency.
The 3 choices you have to make:
1. Choose your level of CPU performance:
Intel Core 6th generation ‘Skylake‘
Intel Core m3, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.1-2.2GHz
Intel Core m5, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.2-2.7GHz
Intel Core m7, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.3-3.1GHz
The difference is in the base and Turbo clock frequencies (speed). Higher frequencies (GHz) = higher performance.
2. Two storage capacities:
256GB or 512GB
Are you unsure about how whether you want 256GB or 512GB of storage capacity?
Read our article on How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer.
3. Choose between 4 colors:
You have the choice between four different colors:
1. Space Grey
4. Rose Gold (2016 models only)
Apple Macbook 12″:
The 4 recommended configurations
1. Intel Core m3, 256GB storage
This is the entry-level model:
Equipped with the Intel Core m3 Skylake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.1-2.2GHz CPU.
You get 256GB of storage capacity.
2. 2016 model: Intel Core M5, 512GB storage
This is a mid-range model:
It’s equipped with the Intel Core m5 Skylake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.2-2.7GHz CPU.
Compared to the Intel m3 CPU, it has a base frequency that’s 100MHz higher and a Turbo frequency that’s 500MHz higher!
You also get 512GB of storage capacity.
3. Intel Core M7 1.3-3.1GHz CPU, 256GB storage
This is the second highest end configuration
You get the fastest CPU available in a Macbook 12: The Intel Core m7 Skylake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.3-3.1GHz.
You get 256GB of storage capacity with that.
4. Intel Core M7 1.3-3.1GHz CPU, 512GB storage
This is the highest end configuration available for the Macbook 12.
You get the Intel Core m7 Skylake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.3-3.1GHz CPU as well as 512GB of storage.
Adapters for the Macbook 12″ USB-C port:
Apple USB-C to USB-A Adapter
OWC 13 Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock:
Love the Macbook portability but need a lot more ports?
This is a dock with 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C), 5 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x FireWire 800, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm Audio In/Out, 1 x S/PDIF Out and SD Card Reader
– $279.00 at B&H (International Shipping)
Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter: Power, HDMI and USB port
Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter: Power, VGA and USB port
Kanex USB C to VGA Adapter
Kanex USB C to HDMI 4K Adapter
Kanex USB C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on how you can choose the ideal Macbook 12″.
Do you have any feedback or any questions?
Please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.