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PB/iBook Laptop Battery Life

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by m-dogg, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. macrumors 65816


    Hello - I'm thinking about buying a laptop, probably used/refurb powerbook (12" or 15") or iBook (12").

    While I'd love a new MacBook, I think it's a little more than I want to spend, and I think the G4 models will suit my needs (web/email/iTunes/iPhoto/iWeb on the go or around the house) just fine. I'll be using my desktop for more heavy-duty work.

    Anyway, with a nod to portability, I was wondering if anyone can provide input on their battery life experience with the models listed above for the types of things I mentioned here? Any difference between the 12" PB & the 12" iBook? How about with the 15" PB?

    And one other question - I hear that iBooks getted better airport reception compared to PB's. But how bad is the PB reception in comparison?

    Thanks in advance for your input!
  2. Moderator emeritus


    I owned a 12" 1.33GHz PB for about a year and then got a 12" 1.33GHz iBook.

    My needs are 'simple' much like the needs you listed... as such, I don't think I could ever go back to using a PB. :eek:

    In the exact same spot on my desk, my PB would get 1 or 2 bars of wifi reception while my iBook had all 4 full. As for battery life, if I turned BT off and screen dimness down; the battery meter reads about 4ish hours for the PB and 6ish hours for the iBook. A rough two hours more!

    Also, the PB would get uncomfortably hot-- I'd have to leave it alone for a good 20 minutes or so to cool off. I have yet to encounter any such heat discomfort from my iBook.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Well, this is timely. I was going to write today about my experience with the 14"iBook (not what you are considering, but what I write, I think you will find useful) versus my HiRes 15"PB.

    Basically, I am AMAZED by the iBook's battery life. Even with screen on full brightness, and airport running, I was getting an estimated 5-6 HOURS of battery life. (For the sceptics, in system profiler>power, amperage was in the 600-800mA range, and the battery capacity approx 4200mAh, hence 5-6hours.)

    The comp is a 1.42 with 512MB.

    In contrast, my HiRes PB with 1.67, 2GB RAM, 7200rpm HD is lucky to get 3hours estimated with the screen on full brightness (amperage ranges from 1200-1600mA, and the battery capacity is about the same). The only way I can get usage below 1000mA is if the screen dims and the HD spins down (which it rarely, if ever, does while you are actually working).

    I was shocked that the slightly faster chip speed, RAM and HD make such a big difference on power consumption. I'd like to see the new core duos tested with and without extra RAM, and the 7200rpm HD upgrade.

    Anyway, a big point about the screens. While I have always considered the 14" iBook screen to be, on paper, its worst attribute, I now seriously beg to differ. The screen has a much more natural, "Mac-like", colour tone. Try as I might, after 4 months, I am still struggling to get a colour profile on the HiRes 15" PB that appropriately portrays the subtle gradations in shadow detail.

    The only plus of the PB is build quality. The iBook I played with was not as well assembled (some adjoining surfaces were slightly out of alignment, and the screen bowed out at the edges when closed etc. But it may have just been a bad sample.)

    No info on Airport reception, I'm afraid. I couldn't work out how to get it to recognise the network, whereas the PB connects automatically...

    Edit: Ah, I see devilot has the same battery experience as me - why are the PBs so much more power hungry?

    Edit2: One more aesthetic thing. The trackpad click button is MUCH firmer on the iBook, and makes a real plasticky "click" sound. The PB wins here, much smoother and almost silent.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Thanks for the replies. I guess I'm just drawn to the aluminum (already have a nice white iMac), but it sounds like the iBook is better for me. And cheaper too.

    Spectrum - I'm ruling out the 14" iBook at this point becasue i believe it has the same screen resolution as the 12" - So I don't feel like I'd be gaining anything except a bigger machine and more weight...

    One other question - Do the current iBooks support all the Core Image eye candy, like dashboard ripples & stuff like that?
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Well.. my only caution is to the quality of the screen. Before trying it out, I had a strong feeling that the 14" iBook was a waste of screen real estate with such low resolution, but after actually using it for half an hour, I was very surprised with just how easy on the eyes the 14" screen is. Somehow the Mac user interface and desktop just look good. Maybe it is the lower dot pitch. The display was bright without being harsh like my Powerbook. I felt that the viewing angles were better on the 14" iBook vs 15"PB, too. I suspect that the iBook 12" will behave more like the PBs screen - maybe others can confirm or discount that.

    I recommend you have a play around in a store somewhere. Take in some digital photos on a flash card, and see which screen size/type suits you best. Since getting this iteration of 15" Powerbook, and getting into digital photography, I've really started to see the difference in screen quality from laptop to laptop and desktop to desktop.
  6. macrumors 65816


    Yup - I'll definitely take a closer look at the Apple Store before I make a final decision.

    I don't really need a superdrive, but at the same time, it may not be a bad idea to have...

    Thanks Devilot & Spectrum - You were both helpful!
  7. macrumors 68040


    I've had a 15" pb and a 14" ibook and that iBook is a very very good deal. If you are video editing, then get the pb, but the iBook is a great buy. I miss mine. AND it is also very very fast.

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