First, the bad stuff. Sadly, there are 1 or 2 dead pixels on the glossy wide-screen, but a quick look around the Internet and I've realized there's not a lot of point taking it back because low end TFTs can suffer from dead pixels. It's only when you pay more for a "pixel-perfect" display that there is a return policy on dead pixels. Oh well.
That aside, it has all the trade marks of a classic Apple product. The packaging was superb, and minimal. In fact, I've noticed a trend in packaging. My new Sony Rescission K310i from Orange came in a box barely big enough to fit everything in. It's good to see manufacturers producing packaging solutions that are both functional and well designed.
Once out the box, the MacBook looks simply stunning. The outer casing is a similar white polycarbonate (I believe) to the iBook. Opening the MacBook is a joy - there are no latches or buttons, it's all magnetically done. Opened, the MacBook is a departure to Apple laptops of the past. The keyboard keys are spaced out more and flatter, and the casing is the same ceramic-like material that is found on the base of the Mac Mini.
The connections on the left of the MacBook are the usual stuff, with one notable exception - the MagSafe power connection. It's a small, rectangular port and is also magnetically charged. When plugging in the power adaptor, the connector literally snaps into place due to the magnet. Very neat. The concept is simple, if the power cord is ripped out, instead of pulling the laptop with it, the MagSafe connector just comes out.
Powering up is quick and simple, and after the standard Tiger set up, we're up and running. Only a password was required to connect to my wireless network (new MacBooks have Airport built in) and a few more minutes tinkering had the MacBook set up how I like my Macs to be.
The first noticeable thing is how bright the 13.3 inch display is compared to my old 12 inch Powerbook. I can see me having to turn the brightness down to avoid headaches. The keyboard, which I was worried about, turns out to be almost as usable as a standard keyboard, with lovely positive feedback. Again, a definite improvement over my Powerbook.
After a few minutes playing on the Internet and trying to fix the couple of dead pixels (to no avail) I had a good play, running a few apps to see how the machine responded. General OS stuff is super quick (although the Quad Xeon I played with in the Trafford Centre was slightly quicker!).
From what I've seen so far, I'm impressed. With a 2GHz Intel chip, 1 Gig of RAM and an 80 Gig hard drive, it's got plenty to keep me going (although one of the first websites I visited was Crucial to price up the 2 Gig kit).