New to Macs - question about powerbooks. (long)

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Pablo, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. Pablo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    Well, not exactly new, as my first PC experiences came on an older Apple (circa 1986 - Mac Plus)

    But for all intents & purposes, I'm new to Macs (the newer OS). I've been a Windows user since DOS. I'm currently on XP Pro, which is the best OS I've seen come out of Redmond, and while I'm not as unhappy with this product as I was witn Windows 95 and 98, it still leaves me with an empty feeling.

    I tried a few distros of Linux, and while it was great to tinker with, it became evident that it was far from being the Windows replacement that I was hoping for - mainly because it took entirely too much fiddling to get it to do what I wanted (burn CDs, talk to a Windows network) and much of the software that I really need (Quicken, Turbotax, Photoshop, GoLive, DVD software) either wasn't available/didn't run natively or it's replacement (Gimp) were nice, but not quire adequate. It was great for web & e-mail, but not much more.

    Currently, I've got a Dell Inspiron 4100. It's about a year and a half-old, but my wife is starting to ask for a 'new' PC - specifically a laptop she can keep downstairs. So while another computer purchase this quickly isn't usual for me, I could justify it...

    So I've been looking at the PowerBooks for a little while. My wife's a teacher, so we could get a decent discount on one (~$150-300 depending on model). I was leaning towards the 15.2" model, but really like some of the features on the just introduced 17" model (namely illuminated keyboard and integrated bluetooth).

    So now it becomes a cost/benefit analysis and I was hoping that some of you might be able to provide some input.

    What (if any) loss in battery life will there be from the 1) 17" screen as opposed to the 15.2" and 2) illuminated keyboard?

    That's my main concern. Price alone, I could probably justify the extra cost with the addition of a larger screen, integrated bluetooth, and illuminated keyboard. But I'm concerned about a hit in battery life.

    Conversely, are there any plans to add these features (bluetooth, illuminated keyboard) into the 15" model? This would probably be the ideal situation for me, but I'm not sure how likely it is.

    Thanks,

    Paul
     
  2. Ambrose Chapel macrumors 65816

    Ambrose Chapel

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #2
    According to Apple, the 17" gets 4.5 hours of battery life while the 15.2" gets 5. You'll have to wait awhile until the 17" ships and then people will start to report real-world battery life. It looks like it has a bigger battery than the 15.2", so that can help compensate for the bigger screen and the light-up keyboard.

    The 15.2" models were just upgraded in November, so I won't expect them to get the new form factor and accompanying goodies until the Spring (May or so). But it's pretty safe to assume that the next release of the 15.2" will be like the ones announced yesterday.
     
  3. macktheknife macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    #3
    My Experience

    I too dumped a Dell Inspiron a year ago for a TiBook (Rev. B 550 Mhz / 512MB RAM / 30GB HD), and I've been very satisfied thus far. My battery usually lasts about 2.5 hours if I just do some surfing, programming, etc.--3 hours if I run just a few programs. If I play a CD or run many programs at a time, I usually get about 2 hours. Burning a CD or playing a DVD is a big battery drainer--I'll be lucky if I get 2 hours doing such things.

    I don't know how the battery life on the 17 inch will be, but with such a big screen, I would think it the battery will drain faster than the 15 inch model. IMHO, if you are planning to do a lot of work on the laptop on the road, consider getting a extra battery just in case.
     
  4. Pablo thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    Thanks for the input.

    I have no real urgency in this purchase, so I will probably hold off and do a little more research while I see what shakes out.

    Also, after reading more on this board, I'm a little concerned with the reports of the wireless problems with the TI Powerbooks (range). I just got my WiFi system (router & PC card) for Christmas, and the range is already a little iffy...and with reports of the Powerbook being worse, I'm a little more hesitant to pull the trigger.

    Especially with the Apple Store (both on-line & brick & mortar) charging 10%-15% re-stocking fees if you return the notebook within their return policy (not like what Dell offered when I made the purchase - 30-day no questions asked full refund).

    It's too bad they don't have demos they let you rent/borrow for a few days/week to think about it. Playing with the Powerbook in the store gives me a better feel for the OS and the build quality, but that's about it.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Ambrose Chapel macrumors 65816

    Ambrose Chapel

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #5
    AirPort range

    While the TiBooks have lousy range, apparently the new PowerBooks have corrected this (at least according to Steve in the keynote). Again, real world reports will come, but it seems as though Apple has fixed this problem. Of course, this doens't help you if you want a 15.2" Book..at least not til they upgrade that one.
     
  6. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    #6
    from the looks of it the powebook had airport attenas on the side of the powerbook facing out it seemed like. they said the positioned it and put the attenas "where they belong" and they get the same range as the ibook. i would go with the 17 or 12 just because its got the new hardware like the 802.11g which will he the new hip happening thing. if you want to get a 15 i would wait till april or may when new ones come out and the new airport and other features will probably be on the powerbooks.

    iJon
     
  7. Pablo thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
    Right, that's what I plan on doing...waiting and researching. I want the integrated bluetooth and the illuminated keyboard (802.11g and the other goodies wouldn't be bad either), but I really want it in the 15.2" form factor and the lower price tag.

    I can't see Apple neglecting this line for too long, so I'll just sit back and see what shakes out.
     
  8. agreenster macrumors 68000

    agreenster

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2001
    Location:
    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    #8
    Battery Life

    It sounds like this going to be a home computer, right? If so, I wouldnt worry too much about battery life. I have a Powerbook, and 90% of the time, when using it, its plugged in. Its just more convenient to not have to worry about the battery.

    But, thats just me.

    If had the cash to do it (edit: the wife to let me SPEND the cash...), Id get the 17 inch, mainly because of the video card (even though its only 64 bit--I wish for the 9700) and the DDR system ram. This is the FIRST Apple laptop with DDR ram. (though it isnt getting much attention) Plus, if its mainly a home computer, you'll want the larger screen.
     

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