12 or 15 inch powerbook my dillema of form vs Function

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by revenuee, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. revenuee macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #1
    i'm kinda torn between a 12 and 15 ... I NEED portability

    but i have a Lombard G3 and that thing is massive and heavy, and the 15 inch is not much lighter then that one -- which is where the 12 inch seems more appealing at 1.5 lbs difference to my Lombard.

    What i am torn about is the size of the screen -- i have a 19" monitor that i would interface with when at home, and then i have a 20" iMac that i have at work that i would be doing MOST work related things on, the laptop would be for me as i spend very little time at home during the week -- but i'm really big on getting up and out of the confines of offices, and would rather work sitting on the floor in the hall (my main work is photography, and i'm studying film, i'm aloud to be eccentric ... LOL)

    the laptop would be used for essay and article writing, but also as a photographer i would be working on my own digital imaging working with 6 MP files

    ideally i would probably be better off with the 15 inch so that i can work smoother BUT, weight has become a concern.

    On a typical day i carry,

    my DSLR, and an assortment of lenses and Flash
    my laptop (my lombard)
    a journal (i take notes of conditions i was working with ie, lighting, notes for outlining my ideas for essays and articles, as well as working out personal stuff in it.
    Notebooks for classes -- i don't really care to use my laptop to take notes -- like is said, i use to write essays, and image manipulation (so slow -- hence the upgrade) -- i have a desktop G4 that i use for more serious work, but as i mentioned, i hate the confines of desks and offices.
    Course readings -- need them for essays, and studying.

    I do also do a handful of video editing projects, i could get away with simple cuts and assembly on the 12 inch and then interface with my 19 inch monitor for more serious work, but ideally i think i would want to be fully mobile.

    ANY THOUGHTS? --- i know this was long
     
  2. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

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    #2
    Get both.

    For photography and being out on the field, a 12" PB is great.

    For video, a 15" PB is the definite must.

    But given my purchase of a 12" PB for reasons of "portability", I've found that I would rather spend a little more and got the 15" instead. The screen resolution, PC card slot, and backlit keyboard were what I deemed essential and lacking from the 12".
     
  3. revenuee thread starter macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #3
    LOL ... i wish i could afford both ... but the larger screen, and 2 firewire slots, and backlit keyboard does really appeal to me.

    but size, size is still my main concern --- but i could see myself regretting having to squint at the smaller 12 inch screen

    grr ... decisions, decisions.
     
  4. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    #4
    Get the 15''. 12''s are great for some things, but just too darn small for any sort of real productivity apps. Besides, it's only one pound more, what kind of wuss are you? ;) :D


    I'm sure you already know, but I'll say just incase you don't. Everything appears the same size on a 12'' PowerBook as it does on a 15'' PowerBook, the 15'' just gives you more real estate to work with.
     
  5. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #5
    I've got young eyes and they cope really well with the 12 inch iBook which has the same screen. However, for your uses, I'd recommend the 15 inch every time. It offers more speed, better features and it's light enough. Plus, the screen is heaps nicer.
     
  6. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #6
    My initial reaction would be that as you've already got a good machine at home (the iMac) for your heavy duty work, you may as well go as portable as possible with your laptop – so on this logic pick the 12.

    Personally though, if I was in your shoes and was looking for a new laptop... I'd go for the 1.5ghz 15 incher. As Lacero mentions, the larger screen and the backlit keyboard would sway me.

    It's a nice problem you've got there! :p ;)
     
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #7
    Is that for real? I had no idea, thanks for the info.
     
  8. revenuee thread starter macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #8
    i knew that too

    i phrased that wrong, because what i meant to say is that with less resolution i would have work with minimal expansion of my images and video files so that i can fit all the pallets and windows. and so i would have to squint to look at the pictures -- i hope that clarifies

    just to clarify further -- the 20" inch iMac is at work, i have a 19" monitor at home that i will be interfacing with.

    The problem i don't really spend time at home, and i like getting out of the office to work -- plus i don't want to litter my work computer with my personal files.

    i know it's ONLY 1 lb but it adds --- i was stuck with my equipment waiting in line at customs but function may be swaying my decision more and more.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    Function? They'll both be equally fast. I'd get the 12" because like someone else already mentioned, you have a desktop, and you're getting a laptop for portabiliity.

    Personally, I don't think the 15" is heavy at all, but it IS a bit heavier and bigger. On those long commutes to Mac Uni from the mountain, I'd prefer the 12".

    I have a 12" and have no trouble seeing anything on that "tiny" screen. If all you're doing is typing and doing "some" photo editing or whatever, the 12" is perfect. If you have to do something hardcore, you'll have your 19" screen at home, and 20" iMac at work, right?

    Anyway, the battery life of the 15" is poor when compared to the 12" because they both use the same size battery. The 17" uses a bigger battery.

    Personally, I would get a 15" for myself the next time I get a laptop, but its my only computer. I don't have an external screen either. I want a 15" because it's widescreen, perfect for typing out a Word doc with a PDF side-to-side. But for you, I'd get the 12".
     
  10. revenuee thread starter macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #10
    actually it would be "some" typing -- mostly photo stuff, and some video -- i'm not overly concerned with the video because i can assemble and capture to with 12 inch do the bigger stuff with the 19" dual -- but ya, worse comes to worse i can interface with the 19" monitor --- LOL can't avoid working in an office all the time

    i realized i really am a field person -- i wasn't built for an office ... the 12" would also be cheaper and i could get more ram instead --- crunching through those 30 meg RAW files takes up juice
     
  11. breathofj macrumors newbie

    breathofj

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    #11
    Long time lurker...first time poster. Now that it's out of the way...

    I'm going through the exact same issue. I can't decide on the real estate of the screen on the 15 inch versus the compact size of the 12 inch. I write a lot, and the 15 would be nice to have so that I can do side by side stuff with note cards in applications like Final Draft, but I do dig the compact feel (and the price) of the 12.

    To take it a step further, I can't decide between an iBook and a Powerbook in the first place. I'm really having issues :p

    Suggestions are more than welcome, as this is my first romp into the laptop world. I still have my desktop G4 dual 500 at home, and am just looking for something that I can travel to the coffee shop with to write and such.

    Thanks guys.
     
  12. Lau Guest

    #12
    I'va had a 12" PowerBook for about 6 months now and in spite of being a graphic design student and using Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark, Flash etc. daily, have had no trouble with the screen size, and have loved the portability.

    However, recently I've started doing some web design and have found using Dreamweaver to be quite frustrating on the small screen. I think it's the way a page is laid out means that all the palettes get in the way all the time.

    That's the one program so far though, and unless you intend to be using Dreamweaver all the time (on the road, without the extra screen) I'd say go for it. When you're lugging around everywhere you'll love the size of it. And it's not as if friends of mine with 15"ers don't get annoyed with palettes either!
     
  13. revenuee thread starter macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #13
    Lau -- well i get frustrated with palettes working on my 19 inch screen too -- i can see it be OKAY for the most part -- but i've worked with that screen resolution on my G3 laptop -- but still trouble

    breathofj -- i don't know your needs, but the powerbook over iBook has been an easy decision as the powerbook has dual screen compatibilities, not just mirror -- i know there is a hack for this, but thats not the point

    hmm ... okay ... here are the list of pro's and cons i've come up with

    12 inch, Pro -- light and compact, battery life, less expensive
    CON - screen size/resolution, no firewire 800 and only one firewire 400, only 1 USB two slot no PC slot, (this one is less important no backlit keyboard)

    15, slightly heavier, lower battery, more expensive
    but has all those other things

    i can see myself getting frustrated with only one firewire slot -- i know i can get a hub, and i have a firewire 400 external hard drive, now 800

    no PC slot, i know i can get the external card readers, but it was a convenience on my G3 to use the PC slot for downloads from my compact flash cards

    the USB 2.0 is probably a faster transfer then the PC slot (any confirmation on that?) if so i'll probably go with that solution for card reader. the other one was getting that new card reader accessory or the Belkin card reader for my iPod and just dump my cards onto that when i'm shooting, and then transfer from the iPod via firewire to the laptop, less stuff to carry to the location, and just keep the laptop in the car

    Firewire 800 -- not a huge deal breaker for me, but it would be nice to have

    only one of each slot firewire and USB ... well this one might not be the problem i'm making it out to be as i can just use hubs at home, and i'm not going to be carrying a million devices with me anyway -- usb memory things have been rendering ZIP drives/disk obsolete (i have an external zip drive)

    the back lit keyboard --- this is just something that i would LIKE to have ... i don't really NEED it, but i could find uses for it.
     
  14. Ringu macrumors member

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    Mar 20, 2005
    #14
    I have the same dilemma. I've been using a 15"Ti PB for years and it's been great, but it's time to upgrade.

    I now travel a LOT more than before, with most of my work now involving writing emails. After numerous times lugging my Ti across cities and continents, I long for something a little smaller and lighter.

    I plan to go for the 12"PB and and external screen at home. However, if you're doing a LOT of portable digital imaging, then I'd go for the 15".
     
  15. revenuee thread starter macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #15
    ya and i DESPISE working in the office -- It would only be in the diarist of situations where i would want to interface with my larger monitor and work inside

    hmm ... not i have to convince myself of price ... LOL
     
  16. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

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    #16
    quick minor correction: the 12" has 2 USB2 ports
     
  17. breathofj macrumors newbie

    breathofj

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    Mar 22, 2005
    #17
    Well, that means very little for me...as I don't know if I'd ever hook up the whole dual screen thing.

    I got back and forth due to wishy-washiness. I know the MAIN thing I need it for is writing, which I know both the iBook and Powerbook would be fine for....but 15 or 12 becomes the issue.

    Would I do graphics work on the road with it? I say no...but who knows. Would I do any video editing? Probably not, but who knows. Would I code with Dreamweaver using my laptop? Most likely not...but I guess I could.

    I do know that I'd like to be able to game a little on there, and I think either system would be okay with that.

    Basically, I'm indecisive and don't know what I really NEED versus what I just want. :confused:
     
  18. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #18
    If you are working on Photoshop or other graphics programs you'll really appreciate a dual monitor setup - Palettes and text docs on the PB screen, images on the larger external screen.

    The original 12 vs 15 argument is a tough one. IF most of the production work was going to be done on the desktop machine(s), then the 12" for occasional portability would be viable. But Rev seems to say that their PB is really going to become the main machine for working on, which sways me to the 15".

    I had a 12" iBook. Didn't like the keyboard or the screen much, so I used it, like, 4 times a year. It got stolen, I tried a 14" iBook and took it back for 2 Minis and a USB memory keychain. If I ever went portable again, I wouldn't compromise- I'd go with the 15" Powerbook. The screen size and quality, keyboard, FW800 larger RAM capacity and PCCard slot are all deciding factors over the 12" and the iBook. The iBook is further hampered by lack of true monitor spanning and the difficulty of upgrading the hard drive. (You say you'd never upgrade? But hard drives and machines fail... and I have removed drives from laptops to recover data more times than I can count.)

    Just wish the 15" AlBook was a better wireless performer - the Airport reception can be truly bad. I stick to wired Ethernet but if going wireless for serious work, I'd probably buy a PCCard high performance WiFi Pre-N system and forget Apple's Airport entirely.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  19. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #19
    get the 15" you'll find 12" limiting after a while, i do with my ibook and i rarely use photoshop or anything like that but when i do it annoys me.
     
  20. omala macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Last summer I got a 12" powerbook - it quickly became my one home computer I use for nearly everything (despite an older G4 tower and winXP boxes sitting nearby). I didn't expect that - if I'd known I was buying my new "replace everything" computer I'd probably have thought a lot harder about the 15"... but then again, for the times that I'm carrying both my powerbook and my (work) thinkpad, that extra portability is a huge plus. I'm still happy with it, basically - when I'm doing audio editing, I'll usually plug in and use a second monitor. For everything else, Expose (F9!) makes the 12" screen far more practical than it'd otherwise be.

    You weren't looking for just one right answer, were you? ;)
     
  21. BlairMALL macrumors newbie

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    #21
    12 - Definitely!

    I must say that I can appreciate the portability factor. I travel with an aweful lot of gear - video production - and I am moving from a 14' ibook to a 12 PB as soon as I can. I understand all of the arguments for the 15' PB, but they fall on deaf ears for me. Currently, I edit an hour long show on a G3 14 with final cut 3. It can be tedious at times, but I would rather have a few tedious moments editing, than the give up the simplicity of the smaller machine. Also, someone mentioned battery life. With all of the traveling and moving around, it is nice to have a longer battery life.

    All told, you have a nice set up at home. Go with the most portable when you need portability.

    Blair
     
  22. revenuee thread starter macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #22
    This laptop will the DO IT ALL machine ... my machine at home is a 400mhz G4 -- i plan on using the laptop exclusively with the exception of doing scans since my scanner is SCSI and i have a SCSI card in that machine, i may also find another use for it. IE folding

    i have the iMac G5 at work, which is fine for the occasional time i might need to do something for myself, but for the most part i want my work to be done on my machine ... if anything, i would take work with me and work in the coffee shop or something like that

    i was born to work in the field ...
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #23
    Well now you say its the ONLY machine you're using. If you forget the 20" iMac you have the option to work with, then sure, get the 15" PB. It seems you've already decided on the 15", and quite frankly, I don't even know why you keep asking if that's the case.

    Get the 15" if that's the one you want. Otherwise you'll be on this board with your 12" complaining about how you should had bought a 15" instead.
     
  24. TDM21 macrumors 6502a

    TDM21

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    #24
    For your needs I say go with the 12". I have been using a 12" Pb as my main machine since July. I bought it for when I went to college. Yes, it might be small and the screen is only 1024x768, but it more than does the job. I use the computer for things from writing papers to playing Call of Duty. It does everything with ease. I wanted a fully loaded 15" Pb but that exceeded my price range. I settled for the 12" and planned on getting a external monitor down the road (and I'm still traveling that road). The 12" form factor is great for travel. The footprint is the size of a notebook so it fits perfectly in backpacks and other bags. The battery is decent with airport and bluetooth turned off and the brightness set to a low setting.

    If you are still unsure on which to pick I suggest finding a Apple Reseller nearby. There you can look at the two different models and see which most fits your needs.


    Yes, my 200th post :)
     
  25. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

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    #25
    revenuee,
    I am inclined to believe you'd be better off with the 15", based on what you say. It is more computer than the 12", for more money of course. If you can afford it and desire its extra speed/features, and don't mind its somewhat diminished portability/battery life, why not? The only benefits of the 12" are, again, size/weight, battery life, and price. If those are not at the top of your list of priorities, the 15" might be a better choice, as it should be better at everything else.

    That said, I bought my 12" with, like you, some worry about its small screen. I planned to use it with my 17" external monitor when necessary, spanned or clamshell ... but that has turned out to be incredibly rare. I don't know, maybe I'm used to it now.
     

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