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View Full Version : Build quality of Powerbooks


drake
Sep 15, 2005, 09:17 PM
Figure we should have a thread on this since there's one on the iBook.

crazydreaming
Sep 15, 2005, 09:51 PM
Um... Extremely good. Very solid. Not cheapo plastic like windows.

risc
Sep 15, 2005, 10:11 PM
I have the current PowerBook G4 1.67 GHz 15" I'd say the build quality is pretty much perfect. Battery time could be a little longer, but I don't really care. Other than that for normal use it feels just as fast as the 2 G5s I have here (iMac and Power Mac Dual G5).

bursty
Sep 15, 2005, 10:14 PM
My build quality is superb. Have run into ZERO problems so far and have owned it for almost 2 years now. Absolutely best purchase of my life :D

EJBasile
Sep 15, 2005, 10:14 PM
I would say the build quality is excellent.

My 12" feels completely solid.

I am a little upset that my new battery (from after the recall) doesn't fit as well as #1.

kasei
Sep 15, 2005, 10:17 PM
I have had my 17" PowerBook for over a year and it is still ticking. The keyboard and trackpad are holding up pretty well. Nothing broken thank God. I just wish Apple would make the feet on the bottom of the laptop stay on. I lost one while I was on a business trip in China and the rocking of the laptop drove me nuts.

law guy
Sep 15, 2005, 10:22 PM
Good in ways. Not great in others.

Keyboard is okay on my 15" - year and a half old. Has some noisy keys around arrows. Not the bullet-proof feel of a ThinkPad.

The cover has a single latch - my cover is not flush with body, leans up on one side a little.

You'll want to take care of the PB as it's a little more sensative to how you treat it to keep it looking good. I keep mine in a Timbuk2 computer bag. Some PCs are a little better adapted to rough treatment - again I compare my thinkpad with the rubberized top.

40167
Sep 15, 2005, 10:41 PM
Um... Extremely good. Very solid. Not cheapo plastic like windows.

Since when was windows made of plastic? and not all PC notebooks are plastic, they got carbon fibre and what not too :)

QCassidy352
Sep 15, 2005, 10:44 PM
the 12" PB I used to have was extremely well built. No complaints at all.

wako
Sep 15, 2005, 11:15 PM
I definately like the solid feel it gives me over the iBook.


What I love most about is... HOW SEXY IT IS!!!!

TheMonarch
Sep 15, 2005, 11:34 PM
Make aluminum thicker. And its perfect.

northernleitz
Sep 16, 2005, 01:09 AM
I've got the last iteration of the Titanium Power Book. It's going on three years since new. I've had a few software problems, most brought about by that worthless disc utility from Symantec, but never any hardware problems, not even the problems this model is "known" for (display hinge, firewire controller). I am probably more likely to install a bigger hard drive and/or faster SuperDrive than buy a new model.

I imagine if I get a new Mac any time soon, it will be an iMac, but only if Apple's next model includes a firewire 800 port, like my Power Book does... er, thanks to the PC card slot and eighty bucks for a fw800 card....

ctsport1234
Sep 16, 2005, 01:32 AM
The fit and finish of my 15'' is perfect and Iam a really picky person. (Picky about details etc.)

The only grip I have is the 3 hour battery life. But I do have an extra battery so its not too bad. :p

devilot
Sep 16, 2005, 01:40 AM
I have that lazy 12" PB latch that doesn't always want to close w/ the first try. Also, it's not completely flush so that it just slightly 'rocks' on a table top-- eh, nothing too bad though, but a bit dissapointing considering I haven't had any problems w/ my iBook.

kalisphoenix
Sep 16, 2005, 01:48 AM
I have had my 17" PowerBook for over a year and it is still ticking.

Steve Jobs must get down on his knees everyday and thank $DEITY for giving him a massive contingent of customers who think it's noteworthy when a $2000+ computer survives a year of ownership :p

CandyApple
Sep 16, 2005, 01:53 AM
The build quality on my 12" PB is so-so.

Problems:
Motherboard got fried somehow during normal usage - had to be replaced under apple care.

Second motherboard had similar problems - would lose cached data when awaking from sleep and cause comp to crash - also replaced.

Bottom of PB is not level - and it has all the rubber pegs, but it has never sat completely flat since day 1 - I get a bit of rocking.

Latch does not close on first try most of the time.

The good:
Keyboard and trackpad are great.
Whole machine "feels" solid.

Powerbooks are nice systems in all, but you have got to be pretty careful with them. I saw a friend of mine drop his (while in a Booq case) from less than a foot onto pavement, and it really did serious damage to the aluminium ($800 for Apple to fix, by the way) but his system still works fine.

berns19
Sep 16, 2005, 02:14 AM
The biggest thing with my 12" PB was that the casing near the front latch started popping out not long after I got the machine: when I could start seeing inside, I convinced an Apple tech to somehow fasten the casing back - not aesthetically perfect, but definitely sufficient.

Also, the metal tends to blacken a little over time, partly from the presence of body oils on your hands on wrists - I've noticed a little, even though I've been fanatic about avoiding it.

macOSX-tastic
Sep 16, 2005, 02:48 AM
my 15" rev. d has perfect build quality as far as im concerned. no wobbling or warping as yet (touch wood), everything is perfect

tastic

crazydreaming
Sep 19, 2005, 04:55 PM
Since when was windows made of plastic? and not all PC notebooks are plastic, they got carbon fibre and what not too :)

Ok, would it have been better if I said "Cheapo $600 Dell Notebook"?

dkeninitz
Sep 20, 2005, 08:40 AM
Very high IMHO. I have a 3 year-old TiBook 15" that works great. It still looks pretty good too, other than for a few paint scrapes. The display remains excellent and the keys are fine. I also have a new PB 12" that feels very solid. The screen could be a tad brighter, but that's my only complaint.

I've used a lot of different laptops over the years, including machines from Dell, Gateway, Zeos, Compaq and Toshiba (never had a Sony or an HP). I have a Thinkpad T41 right now. To me, the Thinkpads are the only other laptops that can compete with the PowerBooks on build quality. One test I use is to press down firmly on a couple of keys in the center of the keyboard. On virtually everthing besides PowerBooks and Thinkpads, the whole keypad depresses and flexes.

Case quality is another factor: the Thinkpad uses carbon fiber for part of the case, along with titanium hinges. Apple uses aluminium and also has quality hinges.

I'm speaking only of PowerBooks. To me, iBooks, while nice machines, suffer from a lot of the same build quality issues as their PC brethren.

eva01
Sep 20, 2005, 09:10 AM
Both of my 12" powerbooks have had no problems aside from what i caused on the 1Ghz one.

robx2
Sep 20, 2005, 11:44 AM
Love the Powerbook, but there are two things that are constantly annoying.

1) The latch is worthless. It's like a cruel joke. You push it down, think the machine is closed, then it pops back open a second later. Always pops open in my carrying case. I'll be in class or on the subway, and I'll hear my Entourage reminder "ding" from inside the bag. I miss the old G3 Powerbook -- now that was a latch.

2) The A/C adaptor. I'm on my fourth. Eventually, the connector stops making the connection despite twisting, coaxing, and manipulating. Fortunately, Apple care covers it.

Great machine, but some of the little details are lacking.

crazydreaming
Sep 20, 2005, 09:58 PM
Love the Powerbook, but there are two things that are constantly annoying.

1) The latch is worthless. It's like a cruel joke. You push it down, think the machine is closed, then it pops back open a second later. Always pops open in my carrying case. I'll be in class or on the subway, and I'll hear my Entourage reminder "ding" from inside the bag. I miss the old G3 Powerbook -- now that was a latch.

2) The A/C adaptor. I'm on my fourth. Eventually, the connector stops making the connection despite twisting, coaxing, and manipulating. Fortunately, Apple care covers it.

Great machine, but some of the little details are lacking.

What powerbook do you have??? I've never heard of any of these problems, and haven't had any myself. As to the latch, I carry mine around in a backpack everyday, and it has never opened on me.

katie ta achoo
Sep 20, 2005, 10:33 PM
Mmm, PowerBook.

IMO, they're SOLID. I could heave mine across the room, and..


ok, it would break, I was thinking about my shuffle! :)

But I prefer how this feels sooo much more over the iBook.

Maybe I just really like free stuff.

...yeah, free > pay for.

but the PB is nice. Feels like a brick, in a good way.

I have a way with words.

the only thing I've ever had an issue with is my HD died and got it replaced under applecare. (I actually got an email from Apple about this, asking me to take a survey about it. I wrote in the comment box "GIVE AARON DAVIS A RAISE!!!" aaron is the genius. Man, I love him; he's the man!)

ZoomZoomZoom
Sep 21, 2005, 12:00 AM
Top notch build quality, except that I've had one keyboard issue where a key malfunctioned. After applecare replaced it, everything was good again. Looks great, feels great... Just overall a good experience.

However, I've heard about people who have had their palm rests on their PBs corrode over time, so I'm taking extra care to wipe things down every week...

katie ta achoo
Sep 21, 2005, 12:28 AM
Top notch build quality, except that I've had one keyboard issue where a key malfunctioned. After applecare replaced it, everything was good again. Looks great, feels great... Just overall a good experience.

However, I've heard about people who have had their palm rests on their PBs corrode over time, so I'm taking extra care to wipe things down every week...

My keyboard is a bit wonky.. my / key is NUTS!
If I'm writing a little / slashie or a question mark, like FOUR get written, instead of one.

I swear, that thing is like... feather triggered.

Also, you only clean yours once a week? Try every day! :)

/I'm still on my first bottle of iKlear
///whoops, too many slashes
////stupid keyboard. I am bad at typing.

davebl
Sep 22, 2005, 01:56 AM
ibook's are great. the shell is a polycarbonate similar to bulletproof glass.

witness
Sep 22, 2005, 03:50 AM
My keyboard is a bit wonky.. my / key is NUTS!
If I'm writing a little / slashie or a question mark, like FOUR get written, instead of one.

I swear, that thing is like... feather triggered.
I have exactly the same problem.

I've had my PowerBook replaced twice already for build quality issues and it looks like I'm going to have to have this one sent in for repair also.

The PowerBook is a great product, but for 1800 I'd expect better quality checks prior to shipping.

tom2517
Sep 22, 2005, 04:46 AM
I like my PB because it is...quiet.

I also uses IBM thinkpad, build quality is great, but it is loud! I hate the fact that the fan is almost on all the time.

BGil
Sep 22, 2005, 04:56 AM
ibook's are great. the shell is a polycarbonate similar to bulletproof glass.

Hell yeah it is. IMO the PB is just a marketing gimick. Sure the keyboard is great but the aluminum/titanium case is super-thin in addition to be prone to warping, pitting, scratching, and all sorts of stuff. Not to mention it makes the wifi recpetion worse and conducts heat really well (read:can get very hot). IIRC the battery life is worse than iBooks as well. If the iBook had a 15 inch screen then a lot less people would buy PB's IMO.

With exception to the keyboard, the build quality of a good plastic, magnesium, or carbon fiber PC notebook (read: not anything from Dell) is better than the PB. The iBook is a shining example of build quality IMO.

em500
Sep 22, 2005, 05:14 AM
ibook's are great. the shell is a polycarbonate similar to bulletproof glass.

It really drives me nuts to read this. Polycarbonate is also the stuff that CDs and DVDs are made of, but I guess that doesn't quite have the ring of "bulletproof glass"...
I like Apple as much as anyone else here, and iBooks are indeed pretty durable, but people should really learn to read through marketing BS.

Els
Sep 22, 2005, 05:26 AM
12" 867 Mhz Powerbook:

Love:
keyboard
trackpad
looks & feel

Hate:
Fan
It's always on!!! I can't use this machine in a library because it makes to much noise.

The built-in speakers were OK for small laptop speakers, but they were damaged at the Apple repair center and now I can only play back sounds on low volumes or I get awful resonance.