12" MacBook Review: Greatly Misunderstood



Apple discontinued the 12″ MacBook back in early July. However, I think that this laptop is still a GREAT OPTION for those who want a laptop that COMPLETELY delivers in portability. Like seriously, it really isn’t as bad as some reviewers have said it is. It may have its compromises, but I say that it’s still worth a look. With that said, here’s my full review of Apple’s (2017) 12″ Retina MacBook! This might be a long review, but I hope you’ll get something useful out of it.

•••

Video Navigation

• 0:06 Introduction
• 1:27 Tech Specs, Configuration Tiers, and Pricing
• 2:47 Assessment of the CPUs
• 3:24 RAM & Storage
• 3:36 Drive Speeds
• 4:03 Battery Life & Charging Times
• 5:05 Thermals
• 5:38 Ports

• 6:27 Display
• 7:07 Display: Outdoor Visibility Against Harsh Sunlight
• 7:15 Display: Flex and Letterboxing

• 7:42 Speakers
• 8:21 Keyboard
• 9:14 Keyboard: The Butterfly Switches vs. Dust
• 9:55 Trackpad
• 10:44 Webcam and Microphone

• 11:00 Final Assessment (Pt. 1): What you NEED TO KNOW AND REALIZE about this laptop!!
• 12:04 Final Assessment (Pt. 2): What you SHOULD NOT DO on this laptop!!
• 12:23 Final Assessment (Pt. 3): So, what is the 12″ MacBook good for??

• 12:56 Extra: Drawing
• 13:22 Extra: Photographers / Color Grading Photos
• 14:03 Extra: Programming
• 14:36 Extra: Student Work

• 14:46 Final Assessment (Pt. 4): “If you thought the MacBook Air felt like air, you really haven’t felt this guy yet.”

•••

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Special thanks to Matthew Burke for helping me film some of the outdoor footage!

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40 thoughts on “12" MacBook Review: Greatly Misunderstood

  1. This is another long review, but I hope some people will get something useful out of it. Thank you for watching!
    Here are some timecodes for your convenience. (These may also be found in the description.)

    •••

    Video Navigation

    • 0:06 Introduction

    • 1:27 Tech Specs, Configuration Tiers, and Pricing

    • 2:47 Assessment of the CPUs

    • 3:24 RAM & Storage

    • 3:36 Drive Speeds

    • 4:03 Battery Life & Charging Times

    • 5:05 Thermals

    • 5:38 Ports

    • 6:27 Display

    • 7:07 Display: Outdoor Visibility Against Harsh Sunlight

    • 7:15 Display: Flex and Letterboxing

    • 7:42 Speakers

    • 8:21 Keyboard

    • 9:14 Keyboard: The Butterfly Switches vs. Dust

    • 9:55 Trackpad

    • 10:44 Webcam and Microphone

    • 11:00 Final Assessment (Pt. 1): What you NEED TO KNOW AND REALIZE about this laptop!!

    • 12:04 Final Assessment (Pt. 2): What you SHOULD NOT DO on this laptop!!

    • 12:23 Final Assessment (Pt. 3): So, what is the 12" MacBook good for??

    • 12:56 Extra: Drawing

    • 13:22 Extra: Photographers / Color Grading Photos

    • 14:03 Extra: Programming

    • 14:36 Extra: Student Work

    • 14:46 Final Assessment (Pt. 4): "If you thought the MacBook Air felt like air, you really haven't felt this guy yet."

  2. the killer feature is a CPU that supports fanless design.
    fans make lots of noise and get louder over time.

  3. Just wondering E.J does the surface dock charge your laptop under full load or does it drain over time?

  4. Could have been a very good laptop, but butterfly keyboard ruin it, at least for me, I’ve had a MBP 13 2018 with the 3rd gen butterfly keyboard and I hate its reliability, I didn’t mind its typing experience, but I can’t stand for what they cost that shameful reliability

  5. Finally a review worth watching, I have been looking to replace my mbp 2011 with ssd and 10gig of ram that my kids took for a swim the other day. My usage is exactly as yours with light work on illustrator, photoshop filmora some WP development and just browsing. I am getting almost new 2017 base model with only 7 battery cycle.

  6. Imagine Apple releasing a 12-inch MacBook with 2 USB-C ports and Magic Keyboard, basically a baby MacBook Air.

  7. Thank you for this. I have always wanted this laptop, even if its for a collector's. However, the 2nd gen butterfly keyboard has me uncomfortable and more so , the price is out through the roof even now. But this little thing sure is a cutie.

  8. Literally worst MacBook. First iteration of the shit keyboard struggled to compile programs written in c…. Just c….. The CPU is so shit for anything outside watching a cat video. I thought it would be nice to program on … Nah

  9. Dont be fooled
    THIS MACBOOK IS A TICKING TIMEBOMB:

    Ever wonder why every laptop from 2006 all the way up to 2020 have proper cooling fans?
    Its pretty much a tequirement to have a fan cooling the cpu down.
    Every macbook, every single one has a NORMAL operating temperature of 100°C. Yes 100 degrees is normal for a running macbook. Now you can start to understand why tjis model was discontinued. The cpu always overheats and dies. Its unrepairable and because your ssd is also soldered on, theres nothing you can do
    DO NOT BUY THIS MACBOOK for the love of god. You can trust me, i work for Louis Rossmann

  10. I've owned the 2015 and 2016, and I am picking up a 2017. I've used it as a first computer, but currently have one as a satellite to my 2015 15" MBP. The MB12 will do much more than people give it credit for. I've done video editing, audio editing, Python coding, all the usual Office suite stuff, and mine never throttled (mine were all m5 models; the m7 does seem to throttle fairly readily). It is a gem of an ultrabook. I travel, and it gives me a lot of capability for very little space and weight.

  11. ummm.. The top tier 2017 model should be 1.4ghz cpu, not 1.3ghz. Other than that it is a decent review. Subscribed 👍

  12. Can you please tell me could this laptop handle, 2D pixel animation(aseprite) , 2D light game design (godot). I already have a good PC as my main computer. I need something to bring with me when I’m at my dorm room/college while I use my PC at home. I already have an iPad Air 2019 but it doesn’t have any software I require so I only use it for note taking.

  13. Just bought a 2015 base model on Ebay for $400. Battery has been changed and has less than 10 cycles. I would mainly use it for Web browsing and watching videos on YT or movies. Hopefully it's enough but I feel this was a still. My other option was to get an iPad mini (regular one is too big) which is also $400. I have another more powerful laptop so that one would be my travel companion or when I chill in bed. Oh it's the good one which I think looks super nice!

  14. watching this video on my early '15 Core M1 1.1ghz processor MacBook. Done some light video editing on it before using iMovie, have Chrome and Safari open with many tabs while watching 1080p Youtube videos. Not too slow but battery drains quick though. I believe next month will be the 5 year anniversary!

  15. Save yourself 1k$ and 15 minutes of life: google DeadCPUBook 12. Worst piece of shit ever designed by apple or any other . Buying a used one is as stupid as buying 2011 DeadAMDBook. It will die and take all your data with you, sooner or later.

  16. This laptop would have been great if they priced it correctly. Portability is important, but not at the cost of lower performance and questionable keyboard design in that price. I guess if they had priced it around $849 (the lowest end model) , it would have been a great portable system, especially for students and professionals who mostly deals with mail, office suite and media consumption.

  17. Got a deal for brand new 2017 i5 8G 512GB for about $800 (only Gold and Silver). Should I go for it? I am using macbook air 11" i7 from 2014. It is still a beast but display is not on par with current gen and its battery now is 70%.

  18. Just found a late 2017 gold 256g for 800 at a pawn shop in pristine condition only 20 battery cycle said they would take 700 out the door should I go back for it ?

  19. Hey, really apprieciate the quality content. I'm an engineering student and I do a lot of programming, web browsing and writing long essays. I am wondering if its a good idea to purchase this 12inch MacBook as my main laptop. Im thinking of switching from windows to Mac, this model is on a clearance sale and it is the cheapest Mac I can get atm.

  20. At $1300 this doesn't make a lot of sense, but for $600 used on eBay with AppleCare remaining this is a great deal. I've been using it for a few weeks now and haven't run into any power bottlenecks. Fantastic secondary machine.

  21. Hi E.J. Yu, this is an awesome review, however, my 12" MacBook frequently gets up to 67ºC or 152.6ºF, which is lap burning temperature. Does yours ever get that hot?

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