Okay, so I’ve been in Vietnam since last Thursday and I’ve run through all of the possible needs I have for this MacBook White to be completely useful as a modern computer. How has it stood up to my sole computer use during a professional development course in another country running Linux?
So turns out, it cannot Skype, but it CAN Wire, which seems preferable anyway. Seems less bloated. I can also Skype, Wire, WebEx, etc on my 6S or my S8+, so nowadays a computer isn’t absolutely necessary for this. I do need my USB HD Cam with Mic, but that’s far better than the onboard.
Email: Evolution works just fine. Not nearly as nice as Apple’s Mail, but significantly better than Thunderbird.
Coursework: LibreOffice Writer is just fine for essays and taking notes. I haven’t yet tried the presentation software for conducting a lesson (I’m a teacher, doing teacher training), but I will sometime next week. It seems less polished and less intuitive to keynote, but I suspect it will work.
Internet: Old Chrome handles nearly everything, Chromium handles everything else (but has screen tearing). I largely only use Chromium for its LINE app, as there is no stand-alone Linux LINE app. Old Chrome is fine.
Video: VLC works perfectly. KDEnlive is a really, really great non-linear editor, far more substantial and useful than when I tried to use Cinelerra several years ago. Old Chrome streams fine. No problem with screen tearing or other GPU issues.
Photos: No problem there. I haven’t tried to do any photo-editing, but as far as copying them over from my S8+, no problem.
Battery Life: this is my main problem. Battery life was always only about 4 hours when these batteries were new. One of my whites is already dead (and I left it in Japan, I’ll need to give it to Apple to recycle), and the other white and the black both die just really quickly. My classroom doesn’t have plugs for students, nor do many of the coffee shops, etc,
I’m concerned even if I purchase a third party new replacement, it will still have around the 4 hour charge, which is really not enough for sitting in classes for 8 hours a day or spending several hours at a coffee shop writing term papers. With keeping my screen brightness down and having an SSD, I am rather surprised that I have so few hours of battery available to me for word processing tasks. Can anyone confirm if getting a new third party battery will actually make this better?
So what’s my verdict here? Battery life aside, this machine is absolutely a capable modern machine for a shocking amount of people with Mint Linux on it. I almost never use the command line, these days so many things are browser based, and nearly all apps have Linux equivalents or actual Linux versions. This is especially useful for someone like me who has a Mac Pro at home and is ONLY using the MacBook White as a student or as a teacher. I’m quite impressed by how well this holds up with a proper modern operating system and I just don’t understand why we aren’t doing more to save these machines from the rubbish bin.