17 months with 12″ Retina Macbook

Wow, it has been 17 months since I first bought my 12 inch retina Macbook. So how is the Macbook doing?

No More iPad

For the 17 months I have not been touching my iPad any more. The main reasons behind me not using my iPad are first of all the 12 inch Macbook is not much heavier than the iPad. I can hold in for a prolong period of time, and I guess having the ability to place it on my lap and type beats placing the iPad on your lap while trying to type on the screen.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-26-38-pmAnd also the screen is way bigger than the iPad and I do not want to dump more money on a 12 inch iPad Pro. And to adjust the screen brightness I just need to hit the F1/F2 keys while to adjust the brightness on the iPad I will need to slide up and adjust the brightness. That brings me to the next reason, the surfing experience on a Mac is way better than the iPad.

The touchpad gestures and screen real estates makes surfing a joy while on the iPad, although with the retina screen the resolution for web is only 1024px wide. Using touchpad gestures I can return to previous page with two finger swipe, or switch to another desktop quickly with 4 fingers swipe to check mail or view Apple Music.

On an iPad, the back swipe is a mixed success though and not as fast as the two finger swipe gesture. To switch application the five finger swipe is not as efficient as the Mac desktop change honestly. The split screen on the iPad is also hard to use.

Battery Life

Macbook Battery MeterThe biggest bane is of the 12 inch retina Macbook is battery life. I do not know how people can achieve 9 to 10 hours of battery life. On average I only managed to get 7 hours of continuous usage. And if I set brightness to 50%, close all other applications except the one that I am using, I managed to squeeze 8 hours.

I have since bought a second USB-C charger so now I have one at home and one in the office. I do not have to carry the charger with me any more between work and home. This save quite some weight.


From the first day this Macbook has not disappoint me in terms of performance from the Intel M chip. (I have the 1.2 GHz chip). No lag or whatsoever from my day to day use.

The only time I start to experience some under-performance is OneDrive app. I used to have it start automatically but recently I realised that it has been hogging 98% of the CPU every now and then. So now I just manually fire OneDrive up at the end of the day or whenever I need a file to be available immediately.

Heat Dissipation

The other issue I discovered was heat dissipation. I used to have a skin/film on to protect the Macbook from cosmetic damage. After pealing it off I realised just how cool the Macbook is to touch. Upon having now skin on I also realised that the CPU temperature has dipped from the usual 48 degree C to between 38~40 degree C! And after a high CPU load the temperature is able to drop back to normal very quickly.

The downside is you will have a kinda hot bottom on the Macbook which can be disturbing if you place it on your bare thighs!



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Chi Siang Written by:

Hi! I am a Singaporean who used to work and live in Saigon for 6 years. I am married to my Vietnamese wife and we travel back to Saigon regularly. My years living amongst the Vietnamese and not amongst the expats community, gave me an unique insight into Vietnamese people, their culture, and their way of life.

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