Apple MacBook 5K4M2LL/A Laptop Review

June 24, 2016
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Apple MacBook 5K4M2LL/A, like every laptop from the big A, reeks of premium looks and prestige. Sure, there are people who value a nice-looking shell, but what about those who are more concerned about the performance and other things? This review will tell you whether the MacBook is actually a great laptop or not…

The good

The strong point of Apple MacBook 5K4M2LL/A is the retina display. The small 12-inch non-touch screen comes with a set of features that would please professionals: IPS panel and 2304×1440 resolution. Graphics editing and similar work would be a pleasure, at least if you don’t mind the small physical size. There’s also a 480p webcam installed on top, it supports FaceTime application.

A true Apple, also the battery life is good. The 39.7 Wh unit should last for 9 hours per Apple specifications, although there are users reporting over 10 hours duration on lightweight use.

The storage is Apple’s own design, an on-board 256GB drive attached to PCIe 2.0 x4 bus. It’s not a real SSD, however transfer rates are still far better than those of regular hard drives.

Memory is solid 8GB, it’s soldered on motherboard so it can’t be upgraded.

The neutral

Apple MacBook 5K4M2LL/A has a modest processor performance, it’s Intel Core M-5Y31 that’s running the show. The 0.9Ghz base frequency is upped to 1.1Ghz by Apple, and the maximum frequency is 2.4GHz with the help of turbo. Core amount is two. This processor gets ~2500 points in CPU Mark, hence it’s comparable to Core i3s from the older 4th generation.

By the way, if you’re wondering what “custom built” means, it’s these two things: the package the laptop comes in is a white box without logos, and it has a warranty from the seller (not from Apple). Otherwise, the unit is a normal early 2015 model.

The two ports on this unit are USB Type-C and headphone jack. So not much. You’ll use the USB port for charging, and with special adapters it also acts as a video output (HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA etc). Networking is handled by 802.11ac WiFi adapter with Bluetooth 4.0 support.

Keep in mind optical drive isn’t included – but you can use an external drive that hooks up to USB port. Also media card reader is not available.

Keyboard is backlit, just as expected.

The bad

You must be realistic with your gaming performance expectations. Apple MacBook 5K4M2LL/A does not have dedicated graphics, just the Intel HD 5300 chip integrated on the processor. Graphics-heavy games will be too much, for example if you use low settings and 800×600 resolution, GTA 5 will give 15-20FPs – not desirable at all. Games that are not so demanding, such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Go, will however get smooth frame rates.


Apple MacBook 5K4M2LL/A is, in short, a premium ultrabook. The design is superb and the compact 12-inch screen means that for a frequent traveler this thing should work great. Of course, there are compromises in the engine room: the Intel Core M processor belongs to low-end category, however the 256GB flash storage saves the situation somewhat. Screen is a true Apple retina display with 2303×1440 resolution; image quality should be top-notch. So, for a person who values good looks, portability and beautiful display I think this notebook should be something to think about!

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