The latest Apple Macbook beats its predecessor with a modest speed bump to a 2.2GHz processor and a move to Intel's X3100 graphics processor.

Apple obviously considered the latest revision of its Macbook line such a minor update that it was released with little fanfare. However, the new version brings a couple of new additions to the line - a modest speed bump to a 2.2GHz processor and a move to Intel's X3100 graphics processor.

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The Macbook obviously comes loaded with Apple's own operating system - OS X 10.5 Leopard. However, this latest revision of OS X contains all the tools necessary to get your machine to dual-boot both Mac and Windows. Just resize the hard drive to make space and then follow the instructions to install either XP or Vista. Running WorldBench 6 under Vista resulted in a reasonable real-world speed score of 68. Read our Windows Vista review here.

Gaming performance was less impressive - during our gruelling graphics test the Macbook managed only a pitiful 4 frames per second (fps), which pretty much rules out any modern games. Battery life, on the other hand, was much more impressive with the machine managing to work for a massive 171 minutes from a single charge.

The Macbook's hard drive is a little on the small side compared to the competition, but 160GB should still be large enough for general use and there's a dual format DVD writer for backup.

The Macbook's 13.3in glossy screen offers vibrant colours, although it suffers from increased reflectivity as a result, and stretches to a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels.

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Ports and expansion options are pretty limited - you only get two USB ports, for example, and annoyingly they're both on the same side. If you want to hook it up to an external display, you'll need to splash out extra on a digital visual interface (DVI) or VGA adaptor.

Design-wise, however, the Macbook is head and shoulders above the rest, with its minimalistic design and simple good looks.

OUR VERDICT

With a choice of operating systems at your disposal, the Macbook is a flexible machine, although you'll also need to factor in the cost of a copy of Windows if you plan to go down this route. Performance is good if you're not into gaming and it looks great too, but the minimalist design limits your expansion options.

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