The Portability Issue

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Nereus, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. Nereus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    #1
    Hi everybody!

    Pleased to meet you. I have been lurking around these forums for some time now, just reading, and now I've a small dilemma – I’m counting on you guys. ;)

    The situation is that I’m a law student and I need a new laptop for writing papers, browsing the web, some light photo manipulation (Photoshop) and web development. This time I’m going for a Mac – I’ve been tempted to switch for a very long time now. I want something new and different that does the job and just works (enough).

    I would like to be able to bring my laptop to a lecture, to the library, to a meeting and so on, but the issue is that I will replace my desktop with this laptop – I will use it as my main computer. I’ve decided to go with the PowerBook because it has a faster processor, faster HD, better GPU support and, most important for me, DVI, which allows me to connect my laptop to an external screen when I’m at home. I’m leaning towards the 12” because of the portability and cheaper price, but how important is portability anyway? I’m having some second thoughts about replacing my desktop with merely a 12” laptop and the fact that I can get a great discount through my school, which would allow me to buy the 15”.

    So I’m standing in front of a small predicament here. If I would buy the 12” I would also get an external screen, but if I choose to go with the 15” that won’t be necessary. Anyhow I will wait until after Apple Paris Expo next week before I’ll place my order and see what it will bring.

    Any thoughts? Suggestions?
     
  2. Ashapalan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    England
    #2
    i can see the problem...
    the 12" would be great for the lectures
    the 15" would be great for your desk

    I have a rev d 12", when im around and about i really appreciate it's small size and that extra bit of battery.

    When im at home i use an external 17" monitor. I can see the pro's of having a 15" screen in these situations. i do use this laptop as a desktop replacement, and its had no problems so far.

    What you need to do is think about how you will mainly use it. Will you be around and about a bit, or just for your lectures? If just for your lectures, then you need to consider the two more carefully. If you intend to move around with it more, id go for the 12".

    The 12" is a good machine, you soon adapt to the screen size at which point your productivity isnt affected.
     
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #3
    Six months ago, I would have told you that, without a doubt, the 15" was the way to go. It's the sweet spot of the lineup. It is, undoubtedly, a great laptop.

    Then a funny thing happened... I needed a PB for various reasons in May, so I bought the cheapest PB (the 12" combo), figuring I'd sell it when the next-gen ones were announced at WWDC in June. Then... no new PBs were announced. So, I figured I'd keep the 12" for a bit longer, then sell it anyway and get the 15". I wanted the backlit keyboard and the extra screen space. Over time, I got a keyboard protector, sleeve, case, etc. I figured I'd include them when I sold it. And, probably, I will sell it someday. Probably.

    But... the damn thing grew on me (well, figuratively). I have come to very much enjoy the portability of the 12". The backlit keyboard doesn't seem as "required" as it did before. Yes, more screen resolution would be good, but the screen actually works out fine for everything I've used it to do: email, browsing, some development, some photo editing, iChat, etc.

    From a horsepower point of view, the CPU delta between the cheapest 12" and best 15" systems is essentially nothing. You won't notice any difference. From a screen point of view, the 15" clearly wins - but I am surprised by how well the 12" screen suits my needs. From a portability point of view, you simply can't beat the 12". It is easy to cary. Easy to use on planes. Easy to use in bed or on the couch. Easy to use while in the car waiting for someone.

    It is also easier to hide/disguise, and, since it's smaller. it's less likely to get banged up (smaller target).

    Ultimately, you might very well go for the 15", and there's no doubt it's a fine system. But the 12" is a very good alternative and, if you'll be carrying it around a lot, one which you will enjoy.
     
  4. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #4
    Ashapalan put it very well... Having both a 12" PB and 12" iBook I can readily recommend the 12" because it is so much nicer when in a classroom setting. I can actually still reach around and grab my bag or whatever and I don't have to worry that some clumsy bozo walking by will knock it off the desktop. :rolleyes:

    That said, many an MR member uses a 12" w/ an external display as you have said you will and I think that that would be absolutely perfect for a primary desktop solution (when stationary). But you do have to love the portability of the little one. :D
     
  5. Nereus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    #5
    The most important for me is the computer experience and that it won’t be impossible to bring it to a lecture or to the library. I will probably only bring it with me on some occasions, not every one. Is it 15” then? Is it a wise choice?
     
  6. Ashapalan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    England
    #6
    i know everyone says this, but it's said because it really helps...

    make sure you go and see both models and mess around with them. It really really helps you to decide.
     
  7. Nereus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    #7
    I've been to a local Apple Store but at the time I was quite focused on getting the 12” because then I didn’t know that I could afford the 15” with the educational discount by then. My first thought was: Oh, it’s that small. ;). But the more I tried it out I thought, yeah, I could get used to the small screen size, and I will probably buy an external screen when I use at home. But then I figured out that I could afford the 15” and that made it a hard decision again. What are the differences between the 12” and the 15” PowerBook? I’ve heard following:

    The 15” has a higher resolution screen, with better quality – better viewing angles, color accuracy and brighter backlit. The 15” has a better video card, a full size DVI and FireWire 800 port. The 15” has also a faster processor (not much, though), a PCI card slot and a backlit keyboard. What are the cons then? It is obviously larger and therefore heavier, it has a shorter battery life and costs more, evidently.

    I guess I probably go down to the store again and have a look.
     
  8. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
    The 15-incher is a very portable computer. Just fine for the occasional lecture or library, and then some. The 12-incher is more suited for someone who's constantly toting their computer around. This doesn't sound like you. Go for the 15-incher. The convenience of never having to mess with an external monitor is totally worth it.
     
  9. godbout macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #9
    Well I have the 15" and love it. I am a grad student and I bring it pretty much everywhere I go (although I don't take notes on it durring class). The difference in weight is 1 lbs (that is pretty much nothing ;)) and look at the difference in specs. Plus, there is no real price advantage if you are going to buy a decent LCD for home use anyways. I had a 12" iBook and loved it too... But after going to a high(er) res screen and nice big palm rests you just can't go back! Anyways both are nice little machines but I really think that the 15 is the sweet spot in the line up as mentioned above. (although I think that in the end I would have prefered the 17"... that is what I will be getting next time)
     
  10. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #10
    i have the 12" PB with a 20" monitor at home. and i love it. awsome combination of portability on the road and still enough power at home. im a college student (kinda close to law, some of my friends have graduated and become law students already! im on the uh, 5 year plan! heh) but this is what i have to say about portability and commuting. i commute to campus on the public transportation system here. its really crappy but there is a bus dedicated to taking kids to campus from the train station so i take it. i was recently thinking about selling my 12" and buying a 15" b/c i wanted more power. but after a week of lugging around my PB, books, binders etc for classes i realized if i had any more weight on my back i would be crushed. (and no, im not saying that b/c im out of shape, i lift weights and i ride my bike so id consider myself in shape) but when you start to add up all the books etc and add in the lenght of time you might be walking, even what seems like a small load at first will become heavier and heavier as the day goes on. so get the 12" you might not be able to brag about the power, but when that cute girl wants some help carrying her 17" wintel laptop you will have the strength left to help her (then convert her to apple!! heh)
     
  11. TrumanApple macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    #11
    Get the 12

    get the 12" with and external LCD... it will be worth it in the end
     
  12. Euan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    I'm contemplating a 12" with external screen or a 15". Desktop no use due to lack of space. Will be taking it abroad once or twice a month so time in airports. Will be used for web design (Studio 8).

    Not sure which model, like them both, like some of the added benefits of the 15" but the 12" is far smaller.
     
  13. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #13
    Hi Nereus, it's nice to meet you.

    Good luck with law school.

    Either the 12" or 15" PowerBook would be very nice. If price isn't a problem, I would go with the 15". A great size, they make a lot of nice cases for it also.
     
  14. Nereus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    #14
    Nice to meet you to. Thanks, I've just begun so I have 4-5 years left.

    Just talked about the 12" compared to 15" issue with my roommate and he thinks first and foremost that I’m insane switching to a Mac because of the price and what you get for that considerable about of money compared to buying a PC (Sony Vaio or something). Tried to explain about OSX but that was like talking to a wall. But he planted some doubt in my mind. Is it well worth it?
     
  15. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #15
    Yes. I am a lowly college student. I saved up for my first Mac purchase-- a 12" 1.33GHz PB last August. And now I have an iMac G5 and an iBook (the PB I have given to my older sister). It is worth it.

    My bf thinks that I have become a tech geek and I know so much about computers because I was able to rip one of my DVD movies onto my PB to watch on a road trip-- he thought surely, his gf had become a computer geek to the max in order to know how to do such things when in reality, Apple and Mac OS X enables me to do these things. Not to mention the many wonderfully designed 3rd party apps/ freeware/shareware out there.
     
  16. dcv macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    #16
    Yes yes yes OS X really is worth it!

    As for the price - i'd agree that macs can be more expensive than some pc laptops, but actually i'd disagree when it comes to Sony. if you compare specs of Sony Vaio smaller/sub-notebooks (i.e. the 12/13inch sizes) with the 12 inch Powerbook or iBook, generally the Sony ones are more expensive. well perhaps the prices have gone down slightly but i was comparing the S-series vaio last year, which was about £1500, to a PowerBook at £1049.

    As for the size issue - ultimately only you can make that decision. I have the 12" and love it. This is my main computer and i don't really feel the need for an external screen. I almost bought a 20" Apple Cinema Display a couple of weeks back as there was a special offer on through a UK retailer but they ran out of stock. I might still consider getting one but it would only be for occasional use when i'd use the extra screen space, e.g. for photoshop or other graphics work. So I don't really NEED it. For me personally the 15" would be too big to carry around, though i can see that it does provide a couple of additional features (other than screen size) that aren't on the 12 inch..... FireWire 800 and backlit keyboard are just a couple of things that i'm missing out on.
     
  17. ibook30 macrumors 6502a

    ibook30

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Location:
    2,000 light years from home
    #17

    Simpy Put - Yes !

    There is a thread about a school district who switched their students from MAC to Dells and are now plagued with problems. This is one of many examples - and personally I have saved so much time by sticking with MAC. I have not had to deal with malware or other non task oriented computing.

    I would guess your roommate has no experience with a MAC and is looking at price, gighertz, etc - but VALUE is getting what you pay for. With a MAC you will pay more, but you will recieve a much better experience! My 2 cents ! Good luck with your decision and school !
     
  18. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #18
    Another note about Mac OS X: iLife apps. If you're close enough to certain Apple stores they hold workshops that specifically help switchers to get aquainted w/ Mac OS X... other workshops focus only one iMovie or iDVD which I plan on taking myself because ooooooh, can you make some incredible things w/ these included apps!

    Ah yes, and if you are completely not tech savy like myself, then maintaining a Windows machine was just... er... impossible. I had no clue what to use, what to do-- but w/ a Mac, it just plain works.

    Plus, when's the last time you saw a Dell store w/ employees working there that could help you troubleshoot any problems face-to-face? Enter Apple's Geniuses and the Genius bar. Yummy.
     
  19. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #19
    Mac OS X is awesome, you will never be sorry that you switched. Who know you may covert your roommate also.


    http://www.apple.com/switch/
     
  20. Nereus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    #20
    Maybe I will, I sure hope so ;). Thanks for all the answers! You made it easier for me to decide - I'm leaning towards the 15" because I don't think I will move it around so much that would justify the 12".
     
  21. stonyc macrumors 65816

    stonyc

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    #21
    To the original poster:

    I've (well, my wife and I) got access to both the 15" and the 12" PB... Here's our setups.

    Mine: 15", 1.67GHz, 128vram, 1.5gbRAM, 100gbHDD, Superdrive
    Hers: 12", 1.5GHz, 64vram, 1.25gbRAM, 80GB, Superdrive

    Why I like mine: The screen, the backlit keyboard, basically everything everyone else has said they like about the 15".
    Why I don't: Little to no processor difference between the 1.5 and 1.67.

    Why I like hers: The portability factor, yes, is different between the two. We both have messenger bags with sleeves and although the 15" isn't exactly heavy, it feels and moves differently. It feels like if I had to run with either of the PBs in a bag (no idea why I would need to, but still this is for comparison's sake), I could run much more easily with the 12" versus the 15".
    Why I don't: It tends to get very hot in your lap, almost to the point of burning my skin it seems like. The vram difference: again, doesn't make that much of a difference but I tend to notice that DVDs play a little smoother on the 15". The smaller screen size takes some getting used to.

    My opinion on what you might do: I would say get the 12" and an external screen. The processor/vram difference between mine and my wife's PB are not deal-breaking... any differences that I notice are pretty marginal. So for what it sounds like you want and need your PB to do, it wouldn't make that much of a difference either. You will absolutely LOVE how small, light and portable the 12" is when you take it to class... and any deficiencies in screen real estate, for your image manipulation needs will be more than made up for by the 20" cinema display that you get. ;)
     
  22. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #22
    heh, the first time your roomie gets hit with a virus or his internet does not work b/c he has so many pop ups, or his computer grinds to a hault due to spyware, you can sit there using your new apple which will be working fine and turn and laugh at your roomie. oh yes, it will be worth it. but mostly b/c the OS is good, and just a little cuase you get to laugh at PC users!
     
  23. PaRaGoNViCtiM macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    PA
    #23
    GET THE 15"

    Definitely go with the 15" Powerbook, you'll be happy you did! The 15" Powerbook is very, very portable. I upgraded to the 15" from the 12" and I have no problem taking it with me. I have never been sorry I got the 15", if anything I have been extremely thankful!! Get the 15"!!!!!
     
  24. Euan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    Yep, I agree there - more so FW800 and the PCI card.
     
  25. Nereus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    #25
    I went to an Apple Store and compared the two laptops. I'm going for the 15". The guy in the Apple Store said it would be a wise choise considering what I'm going to use it for and how much I'm going to tote it around.

    One funny thing though. A friend of mine called me yesterday and said he had bought a 12" PowerBook. I have all summer tried to convince him to buy a Mac, and now I've made him switch, before I've switched myself. He was totally happy with his new toy.
     

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