Need Advice On Buying a Powerbook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by shane-o-mac, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. shane-o-mac macrumors regular

    shane-o-mac

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    #1
    Okay, So I have done the reaserch, dutifully waited for the powerbook upgrade and at this point refuse to wait around on Tiger.

    My delimia is between buying the 12" or 15" powerbook. The issue I am mulling over is screen size and portability.

    Love to buy a 15" that is under 5lbs and has 4 hours plus batter time- that is not going to happen. I def need portability and the battery time is crucial. I generally load up my bag and hit the library for 4-6 hour study sessions, need a laptop that can keep up.

    My current HP weighs in at 6.9 lbs and barely breaks 2 hours batter time. Needless to say if it preformed better as a portable I would be more productive and take it out more. (Not too mention the issues I have with pc's in general.)

    I love the portability of the 12" but am not sure I will adjust to the screen size, currently I work off a 14.2 inch laptop with the same resolution as the 12" but does that mean I will get the same amount of realestate on 12 inches? I mostly do wordprocessing, a lot of word processing. I am willing to buy a desktop or LCD in about a year after I start law school, but for now this new laptop will by my only computer. The concerns I have with the 15" is it just seems like it is not a practical computer to carry around all the time. Amazing machine, but I am not sure. Money not being that big of an issue, love to hear some feed back from some longtime users.
     
  2. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #2
    The only areas in which a 12" is superior, at least by the numbers, are: small size, low weight, and battery life. Other than that you will take a performance hit by going with the 12", but probably not that major depending on what you do. The 15" have better video card options, that might be the biggest single performance difference. Needing one of its extra features, like a PC Card slot, could also make this a no-brainer. And then there's that backlit keyboard ...

    The 12" is more portable, of course, but I don't think the 15" is that bad. I don't own one, but I have two friends that do, and they seem fine. But yeah, Macs don't get more portable than the 12" PB.

    As far as my personal experience, I went from a 15" CRT to the 12" without minding at all (of course there were many other reasons not to mind moving on from my G3 iMac). I have a cheapo Dell 17" CRT for backup when necessary, but I actually don't use it that much. I think the screen size stuff depends on what you do-- some things just scream for screen real estate-- but also is a matter of habit. Back in the day 1024x768 was awesome; on the other hand, if you spend a lot of time looking at a 20"+ display, I can imagine the 12" will start to feel cramped fast.

    In sum, I think if you can afford it, the 15" is certainly a better computer by the specs, but if absolute portability and saving a bit of money are your thing, I'd guess the 12" should be fine.
     
  3. inlimbo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #3
    If u r thinking of buying the 12" powerbook maybe it might be better to get the 12" or 14" iBook due to the cost. See this thread 12" powerbook vs. 14" iBook

    I have just decided to buy my first mac (c my sig) and I went with the 15". I dont think it will be heavy/difficult to carry around compared with the 12". I am planning to take mine to university everyday this year which entails a 2 hr train trip back and forth from home! :eek:

    Working with a bigger screen is always a BIG plus - your whole laptop experience seems better/more productive. There are plenty of laptop bags out there for a 15" laptop too which will protect ur baby.

    It really depends on your budget and what you will be using it for. U said u will use it for study - what r u studying and what else do u plan to do with it?

    Im an economics student and i bought the 15", which might seem ridiculous given that most of my work will be done in Word or on the internet. Im not going to be rendering video. BUT i will not be using my PB just for that - that would be a huge waste! I also plan to use my laptop to watch DVDs, store my mp3s, Photoshop, maybe some Perl programming etc.... I do all sorts of things on my computer so I dont want to be restricted by getting a less powerful machine. These are things u need to think about. Will a 12" PB restrict u now or in the future. Also think about resale value.

    The 15" is really sexy. The 17" is OMG dead sexy but out of most of our budgets.

    I agree with mcgarry. Get the 15" if u can afford it. Most poeple will tell u that the 15" is nicer to work with (not that the 12" is not nice to work with).

    Don't forget that you can get an educational discount!!!!
     
  4. kretzy macrumors 604

    kretzy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #4
    i'm having the same problem deciding. i'll be using mine for school and just general use - word, surfing, bit of photoshop, watching dvd's, itunes etc. i'm really leaning toward the 15'' coz it is so damn sexy!

    all round the 15'' is a better machine that will last longer - more upgradable, faster processor, BACKLIT KEYBOARD. the only realy thing it lacks in a bit is the battery life....i dont find the size/weight of it an issue.

    the 12'' on the otherhand is so small and conveinient + better battery life, but i dont think i could deal with the small screen.

    i'd say get the 15'', but watever you choose i'm sure you'll love it!
     
  5. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #5
    Just piling on here ... the 12" iBook will give you roughly the size of the 12" PB, but the performance/features gap would probably be a lot more noticeable when compared to the 15" PB. It can be a good deal, but you mentioned price was not the greatest concern in this case ...

    A note on battery life: my 12" PB gets 5 hours with AP off, just iTunes running, screen low, and low use, for example. But even with intensive use (by my standards: AP on, importing AAC, burning CDs, active use), I can count on 3 hours. These aren't exact numbers from rigorous tests obviously, just what I remember; I'd give you a DVD playback benchmark if I could, haven't had the need yet. Most people that I've seen report on these boards with the 15" give substantially lower battery times. Others with firsthand experience can address this better, but if battery life is your prime concern, you might just want the 12", with the extra funds maybe put towards a nice desktop display. And you can always carry an extra battery, though that does decrease portability somewhat, and of course applies to any laptop.

    Still, I agree with inlimbo, the 15" is downright lust-worthy. So, more battery life, or more computer?
     
  6. inlimbo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #6
    I only we could have both!

    The study area in my economics building has power outlets on the desks (dont know if they work though :/) so I plan to suck up the university's power so that hopefully battery life wont be such a problem. ;)

    Shane-o-mac does your library have power outlets on the desks? Maybe that will solve your probs?
     
  7. kretzy macrumors 604

    kretzy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #7
    You make a some great points there.
    I just really wish that the 12''PB was actually 13'', with a B/L keyboard and a bit more vram or the 15'' had better battery life (at least 4 hrs...most ppl tend to say they only get 2-3)....maybe one day...but i need my laptop now :rolleyes: :) oh well, thats life
     
  8. williamsonrg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #8
    I've been mulling the same question (you can see the recent thread I started). It sounds like for word processing, internet, iTunes, etc., the 12" screen is sufficient. Has anybody had big problems with it?
     
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    If you're going all-out for battery life, the 14-inch ibook is the champ. I can get over 5 hours without sacrificing much performance at all (just dim the monitor a bit).

    But with all those law books to carry, maybe the 1.3 pound weight difference between the 14-inch iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook is the dealbreaker.
     
  10. shane-o-mac thread starter macrumors regular

    shane-o-mac

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    #10
    I def get the appeal of the 15" but economics aside I am just not sure the 15" is the perfect fit for me. The backlit keyboard is awesome, but since I never look at the keyboard when I type, seems like an unecessary feature. Anyone out there with a 12" pb that can tell me if the screen realestate meets your daily needs?
     
  11. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #11
    I have an ancient G3 PB with the same screen resolution (slightly larger screen, but same pixel count) as the 12", and it works fine. Obviously, the more pixels, the better, but, for word processing, the 12" will be fine. 1024x768 is 1024x768, regardless of the size of the screen.

    I'm more of a higher-res kind of person, so I think the 17" 1440x900 res is a bit lacking. But if your HP works for you, the 12" (or 14" iBook, which has the same res) will work just fine.
     

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