July 2019: Apple discontinued the Apple Macbook (12″). The Macbook Air is the new alternative. This is the final update to this article. Prices for B&H as of July 16th 2019. Note that I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Prices and availability are subject to change.
This is one of 4 articles dedicated to Apple’s Macbooks:
1. How you can choose the best Apple Macbook 12″ (this article)
2. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Air
3. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 13
4. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 15
Who is the 12″ Macbook ideal for?
Anyone who wants a laptop that’s as lightweight 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 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: 10 hours of web browsing, 12 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 CPU 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 (graphic 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
The 4 differences between all models
What you have to choose:
1. Choose your level of CPU performance:
All models featured dual-core CPUs, with Hyper-Threading (4 threads). The difference is in the base and Turbo clock frequencies (speed).
Higher frequencies (GHz) = higher performance.
– Intel Core m3: 1.2-3.0GHz
– Intel Core i5: 1.3-3.2GHz
– Intel Core i7: 1.4-3.6GHz
2. Choose between 8GB or 16GB of memory (RAM)
Is 8GB of RAM enough for you or do you want 16GB?
It depends on what you intend to do with your Macbook.
If you only use your MacBook to run a few basic programs at once, like email, some Excel, Word, a web browser, and iTunes, 8GB is plenty of memory.
On the other hand, if you run multiple programs at once, run heavier programs (audio/photo/video/3D), like to multitask and have no time to lose, 16 GB is the wiser option.
If you intend on keeping your Macbook for many years, going with 16GB is a good idea, seeing as memory usage keeps increasing, with newer versions of programs using more and more memory.
Keep in mind that the memory is soldered in the Macbook computer, so you cannot add memory to upgrade your computer.
3. 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.
4. Choose between 4 colors:
You have the choice between four different colors:
1. Space Grey
4. Rose Gold
Apple Macbook 12
The 4 recommended configurations
1. Intel Core m3, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage
Used: 9/10: $1018.95 at B&H
Used: 9+/10: $1054.95 at B&H
New: – $1,149.00 at B&H
Equipped with the Intel Core m3 1.2-3.0GHz CPU.
You get 8GB of RAM as well as 256GB of storage.
Fine for most students, web browsing, Office type of work and other light workloads.
2. Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage
New: – $1,449.00 at B&H
This is a mid-range model:
Compared to the model above, you get the same CPU and the same amount of RAM.
What you gain is storage: You get twice the storage capacity, with 512GB.
It’s basically the least expensive model with 512GB of storage.
3. Intel Core m7 1.3-3.1GHz CPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage
Used: 9/10 – $1,116.95 at B&H
This is an older model, equipped with the Core m7 1.3-3.1GHz, which offers similar performance to the Core i5 model of the last generation.
So performance is similar to the model above, but at a significantly lower price, if you don’t mind a lightly used Macbook.
4. Intel Core i7 1.4-3.6GHz CPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage
Used: 10/10 (Pre-owned, looks new) – $1,399.95 at B&H
You get the fastest CPU available in a Macbook 12: The Intel Core i7 1.4-3.6GHz.
It’s equipped with 16GB of RAM.
You get 256GB of storage capacity with that.
I’d love to know what is Apple’s plan with discontinuing the Apple Macbook. What do you think Apple is planning to do in the future?
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.