iBook 12inch or PowerBook 12 inch?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
I need purchasing advice for a friend. She's a student at American University-- where they actually have lots of Mac users! Anyway-- she's considering a 12inch iBook, but I'm wondered whether the 12inch PowerBook would be a better deal.

Similarly configured (and with educational discounts),

the iBook costs $1,155

and the PowerBook costs $1,400,

which leaves a $245 price difference. My understanding is the following:

The PowerBook is generally speedier, slightly smaller and lighter, more expandable, and more connectable than the iBook. On the other hand, the iBook is more durable, has slightly better battery life, and is cheaper than the PowerBook.

She's a college student not really doing any intensive graphics work as a philosophy/political science major. My inclination is to recommend the ibook based on its advantages-- even though for me the coolness of the PowerBook would almost certainly win out.



  • Reply 1 of 11
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    I wouldn't say the iBook is more durable!!! This 12" PB I have is the most durable computer I've ever used. It has survived flying to the front of my car numerous times while on and smashing in to the dashboard, being dropped several times by my roommate, having a can of Pepsi spilled on it (oops! which only made the key to open it a little sticky, and has outside its battery problem performed like a champ! My old iceBook was durable too but from what I've read and seen the 12" PB is as tough or tougher! I'd say get the PowerBook, it's so nice being just a little smaller and the does the new iBook have the metal keyboard? That's also a major plus. The new iBooks look weird anyway. I'd say spring for the PB.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    If she has an external LCD (or plans to get one) the PB's mini-DVI port is a key feature.

    If she has an external CRT, the iBook will drive it fine (although you may need to apply the spanning hack)
  • Reply 3 of 11
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Normal pricing, I'd say iBook. Edu pricing, I say Powerbook. No contest.

    At 12", she should get an external display, 1024x768 isn't really enough even for basic reading & writing when you do it hours a day; also, I find Apple's 12" screens very hard on the eyes. This is where the PB wins because of the DVI connector and better spanning vs. a hacked iBook.

    Airport and Bluetooth are huge, and I'd slap them on an iBook anyway if I bought one. These alone are about 1/2 of the price difference at edu prices.

    The better processor/HD/etc specs are gravy.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    greggwsmithgreggwsmith Posts: 523member
  • Reply 5 of 11
    crazychestercrazychester Posts: 1,339member
    But don't forget to factor in any additional memory costs beforehand.

    While the relative costs might remain the same, it might influence her decision depending on what the upper limit of her budget is.

    Edit: Ooops! Sorry missed the "similarly configured". I assume that means with additional memory.

  • Reply 6 of 11
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    iBook all the way. No doubt.

    I've used an iBook for three years of law school. Now that I'm graduating, I'm about to buy a 12-inch PowerBook. There are good reasons that I have waited until the end of my student days to move (back) to a PowerBook. To me there is no question that the iBook will be superior for your friend at AU. Longer battery life will serve her better than the extra clock speed. I am persuaded that the iBook will be more durable during college use, despite the comments above. She won't need Bluetooth. Both have AirPort.

    Final point: Make her get AppleCare. It's half the price for an iBook.

  • Reply 7 of 11
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member

    Originally posted by Escher

    iBook all the way. No doubt.

  • Reply 8 of 11
    paulpaul Posts: 5,278member
    for a second I thought you were getting rid of your machine there shawn...

    I don't remember but does the iBook have the 256 soldered like the PB does? I think it does...

    Escher's point about applecare is a big difference as well...

    but in the end it is just a computer... Your friend probably will use the computer the same way regardless of whether or not it is a PowerBook. It will probably last the same amount of time... the only MAJOR difference between the two is the VRAM on the PB being double that of the iBook... however the iBook has an ATI card and the PB has Nvidia... the Nvidia is a better card, but the ATI card will probably have better support from the manufacturer and less chance of defects... (and better battery life...)

    the more you deconstruct it the better the iBook looks... better value and you can get Applecare MUCH cheaper...

    then again, I'm not the one buying it...


  • Reply 9 of 11
    giaguaragiaguara Posts: 2,724member
    Battery life > iBook.

    Not heavy (graphic etc) use > iBook.

    Price (not sure how big effect this has - should be considered the laptop to last 3 years, so the difference / year is under $ 100) > iBook.

    Durability (if dropping by mistake etc) > iBook.

    Powerbook is nicer for some uses. But when you are on the run, and need portability, long battery life, resistance to carrying it on a backpack, I'd say iBook.

    the 12" Powerbook may be durable to shocks - I haven't wated to try that in practise though. A friend had his iBook drop from the 2nd floor of his studio, 14 feet (4 meters) drop. The wooden floor got a hole where the iBook landed corner first). The iBook worked perfectly after, and I have seen it, and the floor. No cracks on the iBook. Whereas some friends have made their Powerbook fall 1 foot, 2 feet or 3. And the metal twisted visibly with that small small drop. If anyone has any more insight for the 12" Powerbook drops etc kind of durability, please advise.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    My buddy had his 12inch PB fall from a table on to hardwood floor and it twisted as well. There is a bulge near the superdrive slot and also in the aluminum near the latch. It does however work just fine and he is in the process of trying to get a new bottom piece.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Thanks for everyone's comments. It's nice to have a community like this to help make informed decisions-- in this case, helping to figure out the better value between the iBook and the Powerbook.

    My friend did talk to me about getting AppleCare, so I'll have to update my subtotals:

    Similarly configured (256mb, 60gb, Airport Extreme Card, AppleCare),

    the PowerBook is now $1,638

    and the iBook is now $1,338

    ....a $300 price difference.

    Again, for me, the solid feel of the metal keyboard and the aluminum case, coupled with the slightly smaller size and generally faster specs wins out-- I'd get the PowerBook. But based on everyone's comments, I'm finding it hard to justify the price difference for other people.

    I'm recommending the iBook.
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