Notebookcheck

Apple MacBook 12 (2017) Laptop Review

J. Simon Leitner (translated by Martina Osztovits), 06/29/2017

What is new? As well as the quietly updated Air 13, the MacBook 12 has also got a new CPU and a faster SSD. With it, Apple aims to be "years ahead". "Compared to whom or what?" you might ask. Probably in comparison to the Air 13, whose essentials are still from 2012? This could be successful; at least in part.

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Apple MacBook 12 (2017)

For the original German review, see here.

You might hardly believe it, but the MacBook 12 is already three years old. It still uses the same base unit as the first model, which was introduced in March 2015. Since that time, there have been only minor upgrades to the CPU, GPU, RAM, and Bluetooth, while the case and the display have remained unchanged. Hence, we will skip the case and display sections in this review and only provide new measurement results where either measurement procedure or measurement instruments have changed in the meanwhile. Please refer to our reviews from 2016 and 2015 for further information on the MacBook 12.

Apple MacBook 12 2017
Processor
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, 1866 MHz LPDDR3 (on‑board)
Display
12 inch 16:10, 2304x1440 pixel 226 PPI, APPA027, LED IPS, Retina display, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-Y Premium PCH
Storage
Apple SSD AP0256, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphones, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Broadcom 802.11ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 13.1 x 280.5 x 196.5 ( = 0.52 x 11.04 x 7.74 in)
Battery
41.4 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Apple macOS 10.12 Sierra
Camera
Webcam: 480p FaceTime camera
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
920 g ( = 32.45 oz / 2.03 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
1499 Euro

 

Size Comparison

Communication

Since we have adjusted our Wi-Fi test since the review of the MacBook 12 from 2016, we have repeated the test in order to get comparable data. We measured very good values of 660 MB/s (receive) and 689 MB/s (send). The MacBook 12 from 2017 is just about on par with the MacBook Air from 2017 here, while Apple's MacBook Pro 13 still performs better. The MacBook 12 falls slightly behind the new Air, the MBP 13 and the MBP 15 (2017 models) under harder conditions (several walls between the router and the test device). This is also true in comparison with the actually cheaper Air 13.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Broadcom BCM15700A2 802.11ac
949 MBit/s ∼100% +44%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Broadcom BCM15700A2 802.11ac
845 MBit/s ∼89% +28%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
Broadcom 802.11ac
686 MBit/s ∼72% +4%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
Broadcom 802.11ac
660 MBit/s ∼70%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
530 MBit/s ∼56% -20%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
528 MBit/s ∼56% -20%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Broadcom BCM15700A2 802.11ac
949 MBit/s ∼100% +38%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Broadcom BCM15700A2 802.11ac
845 MBit/s ∼89% +23%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
Broadcom 802.11ac
692 MBit/s ∼73% 0%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
Broadcom 802.11ac
689 MBit/s ∼73%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
514 MBit/s ∼54% -25%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
497 MBit/s ∼52% -28%

Input Devices

Keyboard

Apple states that the MacBook 12 now features a revised keyboard with the Butterfly mechanism of the 2nd generation. Apple users will actually notice an improved stroke in comparison to the predecessor. However, to newcomers, the key travel will still appear short and the pressure point crisp. Since the typing experience differs significantly from all other notebook keyboards on the market, we recommend trying it in a demo model before purchase.

Short, crisp with improved mechanism: MacBook 12 keyboard (2nd Gen. Butterfly)
Short, crisp with improved mechanism: MacBook 12 keyboard (2nd Gen. Butterfly)

Display

The display of the MacBook 12 has also remained the same in 2017. The laptop still uses a 12-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 2304x1440 pixels. Resolution and display diagonal ensure a very sharp image. Texts in particular appear very sharp. In direct comparison with the recently renewed MacBook Air, the Air shows noticeable weaknesses in terms of display sharpness. The other measured values of the predecessor's display also do not show noticeable weaknesses. As so often, the glossy surface is controversial.

We have re-checked the display brightness with our test model from 2017 and observed that it is slightly less bright than the predecessor from 2016. However, this might be due to production tolerances. In the following, you will find the measurement results of the identical predecessor from 2016. Because of new measurement instruments, we have also re-measured of the response times and repeated the PWM check.

363
cd/m²
362
cd/m²
352
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
387
cd/m²
360
cd/m²
363
cd/m²
350
cd/m²
339
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 387 cd/m² Average: 358 cd/m² Minimum: 6.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 387 cd/m²
Contrast: 823:1 (Black: 0.47 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.6 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 1 | - Ø
97.8% sRGB (Calman) 82.2% sRGB (Argyll) 61.6% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.26
Apple MacBook 12 2017
APPA027, , 2304x1440, 12
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
APPA027, , 2304x1440, 12
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
1440x900, 13.3
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
APPA034, , 2560x1600, 13.3
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
APPA031, , 2880x1800, 15.4
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
2732x2048, 12.9
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
2224x1668, 10.5
Response Times
-3%
-25%
-10%
-10%
18%
22%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
40.8 (19.6, 21.2)
41.2 (15.6, 25.6)
-1%
52.4 (30.4, 22)
-28%
48 (23.6, 24.4)
-18%
48 (23.6, 24.4)
-18%
41.6 (20.4, 21.2)
-2%
39.6 (19.2, 20.4)
3%
Response Time Black / White *
29.2 (15.8, 13.4)
30.4 (6.8, 23.6)
-4%
28.4 (18.4, 10)
3%
33.6 (16.4, 17.2)
-15%
33.8 (19.6, 14.2)
-16%
18.4 (6, 12.4)
37%
17.6 (6, 11.6)
40%
PWM Frequency
116000
58000
-50%
119000 (80)
3%
119000 (80, 210)
3%
Screen
Black Level *
0.47
0.48
0.44
0.42
0.39
Brightness
358
514
523
614
625
Brightness Distribution
88
88
86
90
87
Contrast
823
1148
1239
1548
1626
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.6
0.8
1.6
1
1.9
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1
1
1.9
1.5
2.8
Gamma
2.26 106%
2.16 111%
2.26 106%
2.25 107%
2.26 106%
CCT
6680 97%
6672 97%
6834 95%
6734 97%
7027 93%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
61.6
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
82.2
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-3% / -3%
-25% / -25%
-10% / -10%
-10% / -10%
18% / 18%
22% / 22%

* ... smaller is better

While the response times have not changed noticeably in comparison to the predecessor, we discovered something new in terms of PWM: Our new, more sensitive instrument reveals that the MacBook 12 also uses PWM for brightness control at brightness level 30% and lower. The reason why PWM has remained hidden so far is the extremely high frequency: 11.6 KHz or 116000 Hertz. If this can even mislead expensive measurement instruments, impacts on users appear to be more than unlikely.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
29.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.8 ms rise
↘ 13.4 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 69 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
40.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 21.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 47 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (42.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 116000 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 116000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 116000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6272 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

Even the entry-level model features a Core m3-7Y32 with a base clock of 1.2 GHz instead of a Core m CPU 1.1 GHz now. Intel has specified a base clock of 1.1 GHz for this chip. This means that Apple drives it with a higher clock rate. The chip has a configurable TDP and Intel has designed it for a clock rate range between 600 MHz and 1.6 GHz (3.75 to 7 watts TDP). Regardless of the low clock frequency, the processor can temporarily increase its clock rate to up to 3 GHz. 

Our Cinebench 15 results show a performance gain of up to 20 to 30% when compared to the predecessor with a 1.1 GHz CPU. This is significantly higher than expected, since the CPU was only updated from Skylake to the current Kaby Lake architecture and the base clock was only increased by 100 MHz. Note: This is only representative for short performance peaks. The refreshed Apple MacBook 12 behaves oddly under prolonged load, since it is passively cooled.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-7267U
141 Points ∼100% +18%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
Intel Core m3-7Y32
120 Points ∼85%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
Intel Core i5-5350U
116 Points ∼82% -3%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core M-5Y31
98 Points ∼70% -18%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core M-5Y31
98 Points ∼70% -18%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core M-5Y31
98 Points ∼70% -18%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
91 Points ∼65% -24%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
90 Points ∼64% -25%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-7267U
383 (min: 377) Points ∼100% +45%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
Intel Core i5-5350U
277 Points ∼72% +5%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
Intel Core m3-7Y32
265 Points ∼69%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
218 Points ∼57% -18%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core M-5Y31
211 Points ∼55% -20%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core M-5Y31
205 Points ∼54% -23%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core M-5Y31
211 Points ∼55% -20%
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
25.61 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.3 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
265 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
120 Points
Help

As usual, we also let the current MacBook 12 run Cinebench in a loop in order to analyze the long-term behavior of the notebook. The first quick glance at the diagram reveals that the MacBook 12 behaves oddly. The notebook starts at a good level. Then the performance falls slowly by about -10% before it collapses for the first time. Apparently the threshold of the passively cooling system is exceeded at that point and the CPU throttles significantly. It takes about 15 minutes before this occurs, whereas the processor can rest for a few seconds after each run due to the design of the test.

After the CPU has throttled for a while, it increases its speed again, but remains 15 to 20% below the initial results. After another six runs, the clock rate collapses again, this time even more noticeably than the first time. In the following, the score almost reaches its initial value, but it falls notably faster during the following runs.

The behavior can be easily explained with the passive cooling solution of the MB 12, which reaches its limits under prolonged load. As a result, the CPU has to throttle. The longer this takes place, the more "reserves" are available for the next try. The time it takes until the first collapse (15 minutes) should be long enough for most demanding office tasks. Thus, a noticeable performance loss is not to be expected here.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

System Performance

In order to run the PCMark 8 benchmark, we have once again, installed Windows via Bootcamp on the Apple computer. Depending on the score, PCMark rates the new entry level configuration about 10 to 17% better than the predecessor. Despite being cheaper, the Air 13 performs better in both tests. However, it features an older, yet actively cooled CPU with higher performance reserves.

Meanwhile, the MacBook 12 is marginally better in the Geekbench 4 benchmark (single-core and multi-core), while it remains behind the new Air 13 in the OpenCL test (GPU).

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
4648 Points ∼100% +18%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
HD Graphics 6000, 5350U, Apple SSD SM0128G
4371 Points ∼94% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 650, 7267U, Apple SSD AP0256
4081 Points ∼88% +3%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
HD Graphics 615, 7Y32, Apple SSD AP0256
3946 Points ∼85%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Apple SSD AP0256
3550 Points ∼76% -10%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
4054 Points ∼100% +32%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 650, 7267U, Apple SSD AP0256
3829 Points ∼94% +24%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
HD Graphics 6000, 5350U, Apple SSD SM0128G
3396 Points ∼84% +10%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
HD Graphics 615, 7Y32, Apple SSD AP0256
3078 Points ∼76%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Apple SSD AP0256
2550 Points ∼63% -17%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3078 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3904 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3946 points
Help

Storage Device

According to CrystalDiskMark 3.0, the sequential read and write rates are marginally higher than the predecessor's. When comparing the results of the newer CrystalDiskMark 5.2, which is more suitable for testing PCIe-based storage devices, the drive performs worse, especially in sequential reading than the equally large storage device in the MacBook Air 13. Without exception, the storage solution in the current MacBook Pro notebooks are faster.

You have to buy the variant with 1.3 GHz processor for more storage space, which costs 1799 Euros (~$2051), i.e., 300 Euros (~$342) more than the entry level variant at hand.

Apple MacBook 12 2017
Apple SSD AP0256
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Apple SSD AP0256
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Apple SSD AP0256
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Apple SSD SM0256L
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
Apple SSD SM0128G
Asus Zenbook UX310UA-FC347T iGP
Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
15%
25%
36%
52%
167%
257%
Write 4k
12.78
20.5
60%
10.74
-16%
12.87
1%
27.17
113%
88.65
594%
116.9
815%
Read 4k
9.721
14.6
50%
9.92
2%
10.76
11%
16.29
68%
26.68
174%
29.31
202%
Write Seq
898.5
638
-29%
1353.2
51%
1505.1
68%
730.8
-19%
431.6
-52%
732.6
-18%
Read Seq
954.8
754
-21%
1539.5
61%
1556.5
63%
1390
46%
489.4
-49%
1233
29%
CrystalDiskMark 5.2
13%
33%
12%
Write 4K
95.7
32.94
-66%
86.72
-9%
105.9
11%
Read 4K
22.8
23.77
4%
23.33
2%
21.26
-7%
Write Seq
867.3
1344.68
55%
1473.23
70%
740.5
-15%
Read Seq
940.2
1508.95
60%
1571.73
67%
1491
59%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
15% / 15%
19% / 19%
35% / 34%
32% / 32%
167% / 167%
257% / 257%
Apple SSD AP0256
Sequential Read: 954.8 MB/s
Sequential Write: 898.5 MB/s
512K Read: 658.1 MB/s
512K Write: 579.3 MB/s
4K Read: 9.721 MB/s
4K Write: 12.78 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 521.3 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 370.1 MB/s

Graphics Card

The migration from Skylake to Kaby Lake has also upgraded the graphics unit: The Intel HD Graphics 515 is replaced by the HD Graphics 615. However, big performance gains are not to be expected. In the 3DMark benchmark test (Bootcamp Windows), the new configuration performs just 3 to 13% better. The Apple MacBook 12 is definitely not designed for complex 3D tasks, such as running modern computer games.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5185 Points ∼100% +323%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
2761.5 (min: 2743) Points ∼53% +125%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1545 Points ∼30% +26%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
Intel HD Graphics 6000, Intel Core i5-5350U
1487 (min: 1466) Points ∼29% +21%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
Intel HD Graphics 615, Intel Core m3-7Y32
1227 Points ∼24%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
1186 Points ∼23% -3%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 5300, Intel Core M-5Y31
859 Points ∼17% -30%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
3721 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
1698 Points ∼46%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
963 Points ∼26%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
735 Points ∼20%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 5300, Intel Core M-5Y31
671 Points ∼18%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
22624 Points ∼100% +230%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
13153 Points ∼58% +92%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
8177 Points ∼36% +19%
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
Intel HD Graphics 6000, Intel Core i5-5350U
7825 Points ∼35% +14%
Apple MacBook 12 2017
Intel HD Graphics 615, Intel Core m3-7Y32
6863 Points ∼30%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
6078 Points ∼27% -11%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 5300, Intel Core M-5Y31
5512 Points ∼24% -20%
3DMark 11 Performance
1324 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5035 points
Help

Emissions

System Noise

The Apple MacBook 12 is and remains silent. There are no moving parts in the notebook, neither on part of the cooling system nor in the storage device. Electronic noises were also not noticeable in our test.

Temperature

The surface temperatures are not noticeably different from the predecessor's. However, this was not to be expected anyway, since the changes are too small. While the MacBook 12 remains cool without exception during normal use such as office tasks and web surfing, hotspots develop during prolonged load in the lower middle segment at the top side and the underside. However, a temperature of just above 40 °C (~104 °F) does not cause problems.

Max. Load
 34.6 °C38.9 °C38.3 °C 
 33.9 °C34.8 °C35.1 °C 
 32.1 °C31.6 °C32.8 °C 
Maximum: 38.9 °C
Average: 34.7 °C
42.1 °C42.5 °C38.9 °C
37.6 °C37.6 °C35.6 °C
33.7 °C33.9 °C32.4 °C
Maximum: 42.5 °C
Average: 37.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  39.8 °C | Room Temperature 24.1 °C | Raytek Raynger ST
Stress test MB 12, top side
Stress test MB 12, top side
Stress test MB 12, underside
Stress test MB 12, underside

Speakers

We have also repeated the audio measurements on the new MacBook from 2017 and our measurements are almost identical, apart from a small exception. An extraneous noise in the range of 100 to 125 Hertz might have been present in the measurements of the predecessor. You can still say that the Apple MacBook 12 really features an exemplary audio solution worth hearing for a compact notebook.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203739.72532.631.13129.827.94029.229.65027.630.36331.432.58028.135.910025.342.412523.65016023.356.220023.656.725020.662.831520.763.740020.167.15001971.863018.57580017.673.7100017.972.4125017.371160017.270.7200017.270.325001770.2315016.868.240001772.650001774.3630017.272.2800017.372.31000017.374125001768.71600017.360.7SPL29.783.9N1.363.5median 17.3Apple MacBook 12 2017median 70.3Delta1.85.335.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Apple MacBook 12 2017 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (10.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 3% of all tested devices in this class were better, 6% similar, 91% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 3% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 94% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram in comparison (check boxes above can be turned on/off!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

With the exception of the idle average value, the power consumption measurements on the revised MacBook at hand are quite close to the predecessor's. This could be caused by a measuring error or deviations due to the new measurement instrument. Overall, a significantly higher power consumption due to the use of the newer, faster CPU is not noticeable.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.13 / 0.35 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 2 / 5.4 / 6.6 Watt
Load midlight 22 / 20 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Apple MacBook 12 2017
7Y32, HD Graphics 615, Apple SSD AP0256, LED IPS, 2304x1440, 12
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, Apple SSD AP0256, IPS, 2304x1440, 12
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
5350U, HD Graphics 6000, Apple SSD SM0128G, TN LED, 1440x900, 13.3
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
7267U, Iris Plus Graphics 650, Apple SSD AP0256, IPS, 2560x1600, 13.3
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
A10X Fusion, A10X Fusion GPU, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND , IPS, 2732x2048, 12.9
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
A10X Fusion, A10X Fusion GPU, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND , IPS, 2224x1668, 10.5
Power Consumption
1%
-50%
-111%
7%
26%
Idle Minimum *
2
2.7
-35%
3.4
-70%
2.8
-40%
1.55
22%
1.44
28%
Idle Average *
5.4
2.7
50%
6.3
-17%
10.9
-102%
8.58
-59%
6.12
-13%
Idle Maximum *
6.6
7.2
-9%
7
-6%
11.4
-73%
8.59
-30%
6.14
7%
Load Average *
22
22
-0%
34.5
-57%
55.4
-152%
10.09
54%
8.55
61%
Load Maximum *
20
20.5
-3%
40
-100%
57.5
-188%
10.61
47%
10.62
47%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The battery life of the revised MacBook 12 is slightly better than the predecessor's: It lasts 540 minutes (9 hours) in our standardized Wi-Fi test. This should be enough for a work day on-the-move if demanding applications are not used.

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing v1.3
9h 00min
Apple MacBook 12 2017
7Y32, HD Graphics 615, 41.4 Wh
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 41.4 Wh
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
5350U, HD Graphics 6000, 54 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
7267U, Iris Plus Graphics 650, 49.2 Wh
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
A10X Fusion, A10X Fusion GPU, 41 Wh
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
A10X Fusion, A10X Fusion GPU, 30.8 Wh
Battery Runtime
-7%
18%
-4%
36%
28%
Reader / Idle
2919
2036
WiFi v1.3
540
501
-7%
638
18%
519
-4%
736
36%
693
28%
Load
231
70
257
199
H.264
512
415
676
629

Verdict

Pros

+ high-quality, extremely thin and lightweight case
+ very good Force-Touch touchpad
+ very good, high-resolution display
+ silent operation
+ very good speakers

Cons

- only one port, which is also used for charging
- keyboard takes some getting used to
- display with glossy surface
- reduced performance under prolonged load
In review: Apple MacBook 12 1.2 GHz 2017
In review: Apple MacBook 12 1.2 GHz 2017

How is the new MacBook 12 from Apple doing about 2 years after its first release? Well, we would not say that it is "light years" ahead, since other manufacturers have not slept during this time and offer slim and likewise powerful mobile computers too. Nevertheless, the MacBook 12 still features many qualities, which are as important today as two years ago.

First of all, not only does the high-end aluminum case feel very good to the touch, but is also very robust, slim, and light (1.3 cm, 0.92 kg/~0.5 in, ~2 lb). The only disadvantage: There is only one USB Type C port, which is also used for charging. Without compatible hubs or adapters, you will quickly reach the limits here.

Compared to other notebooks including the new MacBook Pros, the keyboard still features an extremely short travel. However, the revised Butterfly mechanism brings significant advantages in comparison to the predecessor. In contrast, the touchpad implements a fully-fledged Force Touch technology.

The display has remained unchanged since the first launch. However, it is still one of the best panels of its size available in the market in view of its specification and measured values. In contrast to previous assumptions, Apple apparently uses PWM for brightness control. However, this is negligible due to the high frequency used.

The CPU, GPU, and SSD performance are higher than the predecessor's. However, the performance gain is not high enough to justify replacing a model from 2015 or 2016. The performance loss during prolonged load remains a crux. However, since it takes about 15 minutes until it occurs (full load!), this should not cause problems in practice.

Always silent operation, good battery runtimes of up to 9 hours during realistic use and very good speakers, which do not indicate that they are squeezed into an extremely slim case, are still important pros of the MacBook 12.

The Apple MacBook 12 can be recommended to ultra-mobile users, who need to frequently transport their device and to not have high requirements on the performance reserves of their companion (office task always run fast). While there are several better equipped companions available in the Windows world for the asking price of 1499 Euros (~$1710), the MacBook 12 from Apple is an attractive choice for users you can accept its few compromises (lack of ports, keyboard with short key travel, reduced long-term performance).

Apple MacBook 12 2017 - 06/27/2017 v6
J. Simon Leitner

Chassis
91 /  98 → 93%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
99%
Connectivity
41 / 80 → 52%
Weight
76 / 78 → 96%
Battery
91%
Display
87%
Games Performance
58 / 68 → 85%
Application Performance
72 / 87 → 83%
Temperature
91 / 91 → 100%
Noise
100%
Audio
87 / 91 → 96%
Camera
42 / 85 → 49%
Average
79%
90%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple MacBook 12 (2017) Laptop Review
J. Simon Leitner, 2017-06-29 (Update: 2017-07- 3)