which powerbook...?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
ok, i need some advice. i'm getting a new pbook to replace my aging imac for the fall semester and figured that the 12 incher was a good choice. i dont want another G3, so the ibook is out. i will be using the university's wireless network, so airport is in no matter what. is the 12 inch pbook a good performer? also, i figure the 15 inch pbook will be updated soon. any word on when and what kind of update this would include? i might go that route if the specs are impressive enough. anything else i should be thinking of?


  • Reply 1 of 21
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I heard that the 12" PowerBook has a few problems - overall good but one thing I heard about is how units from the factory are bent and only sit on three of the four feet. That might only affect a few. But just like with the 15" PowerBook, the 12" will get better over time and eventually all the kinks will get worked out. A 12" would be pretty sweet, those little things are cool (I have a 12" iBook which is already very light and small, and the PB is even smaller). But you might want to stick with a current 15" TiBook because it's a known quantity - they've basically worked out all the problems. And if Airport range is ever a problem, you can pick up a range-extending antenna that goes in your PC card slot for $40 or so.

    Personally, I'd avoid Rev. 1 of just about any product.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    so you think the quality selection will be better by the end of summer? ie, updated 15 a definite and maybe the 12 inch eventually. thanks for the response, btw.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    Well, it was released in January, and Apple usually goes on a six-month upgrade cycle. Eight months at the longest, usually, and that's normally only with consumer machines. So I think the latest the 12" PowerBook will be updated would be around August. I'd say wait until the end of summer, provided you don't need it now.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    i have both a 15" and 12" powerbook.

    of the two.

    for the 12"

    better keyboard

    better sound

    faster (877 vs. 800 in my case)



    longer battery


    better airport reception

    for the 15"

    better screen

    more RAM

    i don't have any problems with the 12" being off kilter. it's balanced just fine. i really like the 12" PB, but the screen difference is significant.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member

    Originally posted by alcimedes

    i really like the 12" PB, but the screen difference is significant.

    Yeah, it really is noticeable. When I compared my dad's PowerBook to my iBook, I was just amazed at the amount of screen area he has - and his is only 1152x768, with only a few more pixels. Even so, it makes a big difference. You might want to try them out side-by-side... you might be willing to trade some performance for more screen area.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    yeah, however in my case the 877 is newer than my 800Mhz, so this isn't an issue. should have listed them via what's available now though.

    as for the screen, not only is there a size difference, what i was mainly referring to was the quality difference. the 15" has a MUCH nicer LCD than the 12".

    speed wise they both feel about the same in everyday use.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    _ alliance __ alliance _ Posts: 2,070member
    ok, another issue i just remembered. i've never owned a notebook before, and wanted to know...has there been any problems with the battery life on any of these??
  • Reply 8 of 21
    mcqmcq Posts: 1,543member
    Are you asking how long the battery life is? I'd say a safe assumption (even though I don't have one) is in the neighborhood of 3 hrs off a full charge, prob enough for most people. The people with Powerbooks would have a better idea of what kind of battery life to expect. If you're asking if the battery may get messed up (i.e. like several people with bad iBook batteries), then I don't know.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    _ alliance __ alliance _ Posts: 2,070member

    Originally posted by MCQ

    If you're asking if the battery may get messed up (i.e. like several people with bad iBook batteries), then I don't know.

    yes. i want to know if the battery life decreases dramatically over time. my ipods battery life went from 10 hrs to less than 3, but after the most recent firmware update is back up to 10+. are there any software or hardware issues relating to the battery in the notebooks?
  • Reply 10 of 21
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    Get a second battery -- problem solved if you really want to work mobile for an extended time. But with the wonderful brightness of all the PowerBook screens, you can run a long time on one battery with the backlight set to almost the lowest level. I did this on a plane trip and managed to run on one battery the whole way (about 4 hours), even while playing a DVD. And it's good whenever you do choose to run on battery to go ahead and run til it's out --- regardless of what Apple says; it's just the chemistry of the battery (don't want to develop a polarized memory that will prevent it from charging up completely).

    You'll love the notebook experience, though, especially if you get a 15" TiBook. The screen is beautiful; and you'll notice the space you lose whenever you use a Pismo or other 14" laptop. I can't imagine using a 12" XGA screen as a primary computer interface, though -- be cautious about that, most certainly in college -- you'll be up til all hours of the night crunching papers out. Do you want to be squinting at the same time?

    Anyway; just my take.

    Have fun picking. All are fast, smooth OS X-running machines.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    _ alliance __ alliance _ Posts: 2,070member
    haha, yeah i understand about the screen size issue. going from the 13 inch imac to the 12 inch book shouldnt be too big of a stretch, no?

    probably gonna end up getting an old model 15 inch once the new ones come out at frys or somewhere. at a discount, of course...
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Purchasing advice belongs in General Discussion. Moving now.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,262member
    As IGM has reported previously, a 15.4" is likely and the TiBook has been EOL'd and is rumored to be replaced by an aluminium model by the end of this month. Get your plastic ready.

    From an IGM article here.

    Couldn't hurt to wait till the end of the month.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    Now, of course, money is definitely a factor here, 'specially for a college student (believe me I know ) But if I could afford it, I woulde definitely get the 17"

    The obvious reason would be better specs, but some people would argue about the size factor. I don't know about your habits, but some people worried about the size of the original Ti too (which is what I have). Most of the time, my computer is sitting on my desk. Having a laptop is wonderful because I can take it down to the coffee shop, or the library, or use it on the train, but I don't carry it everywhere I go. Therefore, the size really is no issue, as long as you have a good bag. I finally got to play with a 17 the other day. I just happened to be in SoHo, and dragged my friends into the store there because I hadn't seen one of the flagship stores yet. What a beautiful store, and it was teaming with people, I had to wait in line to get to the 17. Anyway, yeah if I could afford it right now, I'd upgrade to the 17 right now, but I can't, so my trusty Ti (500, purchased August '01) will have to continue to do. And I must say, it has served me very well. I do have a little bit of the paint peeling issue, and my screen's got a few keyboard marks. It's a solid machine, and the only issues I've had have been covered by AppleCare (which I strongly recommend). So yeah. That's my 4¢

  • Reply 15 of 21
    _ alliance __ alliance _ Posts: 2,070member
    ok, some good points. also, since i am completey ignorant on all portables, what's the word on airport? if i get the current model 15 will i really be missing airport extreme? how much better does it work compared to the older airport? and how is its range?
  • Reply 16 of 21
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    Here's what I've heard about Airport/Airport Extreme (aka 802.11b and 802.11g):

    1) All recent Macs other than the 12" and 17" PowerBooks, the new FW800 PowerMacs, and the 1 GHz iMac have regular Airport slots inside. You can get Apple's $80 Airport card for them (or get a used one for $50-$60).

    2) The 15" PowerBook has had historically poor Airport range, because there were no antennas in the screen lid. Only in the base, which meant the antenna is horizontal, which means bad range. You can either buy an antenna that plugs into the PC card slot like this. Or you could buy a regular 802.11b PC card that plugs into the PC card slot, giving you probably greater range. Finally, the 15" PowerBooks are compatible with 802.11g/Airport Extreme. You'll just need to get an 802.11g-compatible PC card for it. I don't know if any Mac-compatible ones are out yet but they should be soon.

    3) Most networks don't use 802.11g so it's probably not a concern right now.

    4) I am not sure on this one, but I have heard that 802.11g has about the same range as 802.11b, but it drops off faster. For instance, if you're near the access point, it'll be really fast, but if you move far away you get no real benefit over 802.11b.

    Basically, it can't hurt to have 802.11g/Airport Extreme. But it's probably not necessary, at least not yet. With the huge 802.11b adoption among the PC community these days, I think it's safe to say that standard will be around for quite a while.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    mggmgg Posts: 124member

    Originally posted by _ alliance _

    so you think the quality selection will be better by the end of summer? ie, updated 15 a definite and maybe the 12 inch eventually. thanks for the response, btw.

    Ya, I would say the selection would be a while a few months down the road, but the 12 in. powerbooks are really cool right now. MY friend and I went to the apple store and had races bettween machines and the 12 in pb seemed to keep up with the 15 in pb for opening applications and small stuff like that. Only one big disadvantage that I can think of about the 12 in Albook is that it dosn't have the level 3 cache.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    the 12" has excellent wireless range, better than the 15".
  • Reply 19 of 21
    mcqmcq Posts: 1,543member

    Originally posted by MGG

    Only one big disadvantage that I can think of about the 12 in Albook is that it dosn't have the level 3 cache.

    I'd prob say that the 15" Radeon 9000 is quite a bit better than the GF4 Go 420 as well.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    And it doesn't have a PC card slot, so adding any new type of connectivity (FireWire 2, USB 2) is basically impossible. And I heard you can't replace the hard drive without voiding the warranty, just like the iBook - with the 15" PowerBook, it's considered a user-serviceable part.
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