Is the 12" really that much more portable than the 15"?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Diatribe, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. Diatribe macrumors 601

    Diatribe

    Joined:
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    Back in the motherland
    #1
    Ok, here's the deal. I got a 12" iBook 5 weeks ago and I love the size and it's portability. But since my Mum needs a computer and I am giving this iBook to her I need a new one.
    I was hoping that the 12" powerbooks would be closer to the 15" specwise, but I guess not. For me the 12" was always about portability. So I compared the two (my 12" iBook and the 15" pb):

    height:
    12" - 1.35 inches (3.42 cm) 15" - 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) ---> 15" actually smaller
    width:
    12" - 11.2 inches (28.5 cm) 15" - 13.7 inches (34.8 cm) ---> 2,5 inches more on the 15"
    depth:
    12" - 9.06 inches (23.0 cm) 15" - 9.5 inches (24.1 cm) ---> just half an inch bigger
    weight:
    12" - 4.9 pounds (2.2 kg) 15" - 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg) ---> also just a slight difference

    So is this just this way on paper or is the 15" really only wider not that much bigger generally speaking? The 15" would last me at least the next 2 years, which the 12" wouldn't I'd think. Also it wouldn't get that hot.
    Tough decision... what do you guys think?

    Diatribe
     
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #2
    I've looked at both PowerBooks in my local Apple Store - to me, the 12" PowerBook looks tiny and extremely portable compared to the 15", but I'd get the 15" model because you'll have a greater useful life for it. I wouldn't get the 17" PowerBook - that's too big for your needs. Also, you may discover that the reduced depth of the 15" compared to the 12" makes it easier to transport. I used to own a PowerBook G4 Ti 667; I didn't carry it around much, but I liked the 1" depth.
     
  3. TheT macrumors 6502

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    #3
    My advise #1: Go to a store and check 'em out for yourself...
    #2: I've been thinking about the same thing, my girlfriend has a 12" iBook and my Dad a 15" Powerbook... but if you really want portability, go for the 12", the 15" is not as small as it seems when reading the specs...
     
  4. howard macrumors 68020

    howard

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    Nov 18, 2002
    #4
    personally i love the 12 inchers... they are super duber portable... however the only drawback is the small screen, if your doing a lot of work or don't have an external moniter it can be a pain.

    now the old 15 inch titaniums seemed quite portable to me, the new 15 inch alu books are slightly bigger, but really they seem like there a lot bigger... funny phenomon but i wish they didn't stretch them out, even though it was only like 1/8 of an inch probably
     
  5. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Northern Virginia
    #5
    I bought a 12" back in November. It was a tough choice because of the greater RAM expansion and the PCMCIA slot on the 15". In the end the size and cost played a part. And I never regret it. There are times in Mail that the 12" is pain depending on how they formated the mail coming to me. Even for my aging eyes the 12" is large enough for even InDesign. Otherwise my 17" Mitsu SB70 works fine also.

    All I can say also in regards to weight and size. You can always look in the stores, but till you carry it around, you will never know.

    Final word, max out the RAM....
     
  6. TheT macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Ouch. 800$ for a 1GB RAM chip? I'd say take another 512Megs, 768 will be plenty...
     
  7. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #7
    Yeah, the problem is I am in Germany right now... so no stores for me. Well maybe Gravis has them lined up next to each other. I'll check that out.
    I thought that this sounded smaller than it actually is...
     
  8. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #8
    Max out RAM? I don't know about that. I don't need 2 GB :p
    Besides that I'm fine with the 640mb in my iBook, although it is amost used up when I have a lot open. I think 786MB-1GB is going to be fine.

    I know that I will only know when I actually carry it around... I just don't know any store that will let me borrow a 15"pb to carry it around for a while... :D
     
  9. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #9
    RAM prices have gone up but the 1GB chip is only $425 from Crucial as this morn...
     
  10. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #10
    I meant on the 12". maxing out to the 1.25gb RAM...
     
  11. TheT macrumors 6502

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    #11
    :eek: In the Apple Online Store it was 800$ this morning... damn, they charge you
     
  12. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #12
    They always did. Although they gave me a huge discount when I bought my iBook and actually matched Crucial's price. :D
     
  13. TheT macrumors 6502

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    #13
    The Apple Online Store? How'd you do that, email them? :cool:
     
  14. adamjay macrumors 6502a

    adamjay

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    Feb 3, 2004
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #14
    the graphics on this page: http://www.apple.com/powerbook/specs.html
    give you a good idea of the difference in sizes... the 15" is certainly much more wide than tall when opened. Compared to many PC laptops, the whole line of powerbooks is ultra-portable.

    the 12" is very lightweight, and i love mine.
    if for nothing more than you can find really small bags for it, and when i am walking down the street with it - it doesn't look like i have a laptop on my shoulder... so there is a theft detourant quality as well.
     
  15. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #15
    hehe, I had a nice conversation with an Apple Store employee who asked me why I was ordering a loaded iBook with only 256MB RAM :D
     
  16. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #16
    Has anyone had both of the form factors and can tell a difference other than by having looked at it?
    Any first hand insight would be appreciated.
    I just cannot decide... the specs which the 15" has are really nice. Although I am not really missing anything screen estate wise it wouldn't be too bad to have a little more. It would save me some Exposé use :D
    I just think that the 15" would last me longer (thinking three years or sth.) whereas with the 12" I can see myself wanting a new one in about 2 years already.
    The plan is to get one now and then again when the Rev. B G5s are out. I don't know if the 12" is going to last that long.... any thoughts?
     
  17. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    Denver, CO
    #17
    size makes a BIG difference. i have had 12" iBook and 12" PB. i decided on the 12" a long time ago when i playing around with one friends 12" iBook and another friends 15" tiBook. the ti PB was just a lot bigger than the iBook. a 12" pb is about the size of a piece of paper (dimension wise not height or weight) and fits well in places (bags or breif cases) designed for standard size paper. 15" is more like legal size paper. to my liking ultra portable is the key. and a 12" fits nicely in a small padded case along side books and binders files and such while a 15 would stick out just enough to be noticable. and the 1 pound-ish difference will be noticble with powersupply and other things carried in a bag with it. so, for portability 12" is much more portable. if you only need the portability every once in a while, like one or two times a week away from its primary location. then the 15" will last much longer and you can live with the less portable version. but if you are moving it about multiple times a day then the 12" is just more portable.
     
  18. TheT macrumors 6502

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    #18
    As i said before, I have used both 12" and 15". I personally like the 12" better because of its size, as the previous poster explained. And if you have a second monitor, screen size is not an issue. And regarding the Rev. B G5s... I'm sure they'll be out in 2005, so don't worry about that.
     
  19. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #19
    Take it from one that comes from a Windows environment. Computers will last you as long as they do what you need them to do. One problem I see in the Windows arena is the upgrade fever that exists.

    I moved to Mac since page publication is my main focus (followed by photography). Many page layout companies are still using Quark 4 or 5 that I deal with. Some have made the jump to PS 7 or PS CS because of users or a real need for the new features.

    The new PB 15" offers over the PB 12", increased speed (debatable that this is a solid reason for the 15"), FW800 and FW400 (again a debatable reason), PCMCIA slot (maybe useful for telephony cards), and some memory speed enhancements.

    I have been looking at a second mac, only since will cost me at least $400 to upgrade my 12" PB to 1.2gb. At that level if I can get better performance and memory for my LARGE RAW files, then I might just do it.

    I still stand by my original recommendation that the PB 12" will serve you well for many years to come.

    Question I have for you since you are evidently digital, how often are you upgrading you digital cameras. This may give me at least a better idea of what makes better sense for you.
     
  20. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    Location:
    51st State of America
    #20
    I have had both sizes.

    First i had the 12" iBook and then I went to a 15" PB (1.25Ghz) because I wanted more screen.

    The PB is wider (but thinner :))and does make a difference in its size (not weight), its like having a slab of metal to carry around everyday which is nice but sometimes I could of done with smaller. I sold it and now have an emac, but i am saving up to buy a 12" PB very soon so you can guess which i prefer.

    The bags are smaller and there is less chance of it being robbed as well, that makes a difference as somebody else above pointed out.

    Because I have had both, i know that the keyboard size doesn't matter either so i will happily go back to a 12" model because all the PB's have the same size keyboard.
     
  21. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #21
    True. Those are nice to haves. Not necessities.

    Which comment I made led you to make that assumption? :D
    (No offense, just curious)

    I upgrade my digital cameras about every 3 years. But that is mainly due to the slow improvements made in this field.
    I do upgrade my cell phone every 1-2 years... does that help also? :D

    Ok serious now, I don't know it is weird but I hate to make decisions for myself. It's easier making decisions based on the needs of others. Because for yourself you have to actually find out what you want. :D



    Yeah, I guess my point was not wanting to think about buying another book for at least 2, preferrably 3 years. I guess I underestimated Apple's invention cycle :D

    Ok I took your advice and went to a store to check 'em both out. And I took my iBook to compare. First two objections I had towards the 15" were gone pretty fast. First, the weight, it is not as heavy as I thought. Compared to my iBook a pretty neglectable difference. Second, it fits in the bag I have. Barely but it does. So the size... compared to my iBook it really was not that much bigger, just wider. Nothing I couldn't handle I think.
    Now here comes the catch... when compared to the 12" pb it looks quite larger. But I guess I have to compare it to the iBook since this is my gauge. So I could gain a bit by buying the 12" or I could lose a bit buying the 15" since my iBook is somewhat in the middle.

    Now what really made me think were two things. The first one being the backlit keyboard. I rarely have any lights on when sitting at my desk at night, and right now there are quite some moments where I would like to have it, so this would be a big plus. And the second is the adjusting display brightness according to the surrounding environment. I just catch myself turning the screen brightness down at night so often.
    The better specs would definately let me keep the book longer and let me play some games, although I think the 12" would be fine for that too. And if I remember correctly the last time I played a game was almost a year ago. So call me a hardcore gamer :D

    My problem is that neither is the portability that important that I would need the 12" desperately(I think the 15" would be portable enough since it fits in my non-laptop looking bag :D ) nor are the better specs or keyboard that important to choose the 15".
    So I am kind of stuck here. I know I have to make that decision but your opinions definitely help. So thanks for that and thanks for reading. :)

    <edit: spelling - I shouldn't write stuff with my eyes half closed>
     
  22. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #22
    Just to add sth. to how I use it.
    I do the regular web, iTunes, iPhoto, etc. stuff, some Photoshop work, Office work, video conferencing, movie watching on the go and I guess I will have a look at WoW when it comes out. That game just looks intriguing.
    I use it a lot on my desk, but also in my bed and in the park :D
    I carry it to school 3 outta 5 days and to my dad when I'm over there and that's about it.
    Reading this, this again isn't sth. that will push me to one side since I don't use it to the fullest of it's possibilities (15") nor do I carry it around as much that it would actually impact this decision.

    Aaaaaargggghhhhh. :( This is tedious decision making. :D
     
  23. iBunny macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #23
    How about the 14' iBooks... are they also really portable?

    or should I stick with a 12'....

    Thanks

    This is my fiorst apple btw.. so... :p
     
  24. titaniumducky macrumors 6502a

    titaniumducky

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    #24
    Which is more important:
    1. Portability
    2. Screen Estate

    This is the major factor in your decision, since price hasn't been listed by you so far. If 1 - 12", if 2 - 15". That's mainly it.
     
  25. TheT macrumors 6502

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    Germany
    #25
    You're exactly like me :) I was hoping for Apple to put a backlit keyboard in the 12", because, as stupid as it may sound, this would be the main reason for me to buy a 15". Besides that one point, I would always chose the 12", but this feature is just so cool :cool:
    I assume the automatic adjustment of brightness only works in the models with backlit keyboard :confused: Well, for battery life, it wouldn't matter much, because the 12" generally lasts longer... and if you manually turn down the brightness (which isn't that much work)...
    I just looked up the tests done by MacLife (of course the old models, but it'll be similar on these ones):
    12": DVD-Playback 2,25h, normal work 4,1h
    15": DVD-Playback 2,18h, normal work 3,4h
    This is without any adjustments to brightness etc... the differences aren't that big, but coming from an 12" iBook, you might want to consider that, too...
     

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