12" powerbook vs. 15" powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by klyau6, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. klyau6 macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2004
    Hello! I am currently a college student (econ and business major) and have always used PC's. I'm looking to switch on over to Mac and am particularly looking at the 12" combo and 15" superdrive powerbooks. My questions are, as a student, would a 12" be sufficient enough? The pro's of getting the 12" are that with the money saved, I could load up on RAM, the AirPort Extreme Card, Office v.X, and an IPod...Or should I spend the extra dough and get all the goodies that a 15" SD comes with? Most I've read encourage the 15" so it's swaying my decision a little bit.

    Additionally, if I did get the 15", would the DVD-R really be necessary? I read people rarely use it, but it is extremely beneficial for backing up. However, I have never backed up on any of my PC's (all i have are mp3's and papers and random stuff that if i lost, i wouldn't have to go jump off a bridge), and probably wouldn't burn too many DVDs anyway. That saves $180 for me right there, which is why I ask. I know some people might say, "well if you don't want the DVD-R, then a combo drive might be better," but after calculating the airport extreme card, memory, backlit keyboard (i really want this feature!), etc., i figure i might as well just pay the extra $$ for the better features the 15" superdrive comes with...just minus the DVD-R!

    and FINALLY...would you recommend purchasing the AppleCare Protection plan?

    I should mention that my main purpose for this laptop is for school and entertainment purposes (web surfing, chatting, uploading photos, playing w/ webpages, etc.)

    Thanks in advance for any feedback...it's greatly appreciated, and I look forward to making the switch over to the Mac side!
  2. NeatGekko macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2004
    What I think

    The 12" is highly portable, but the screeen is a little too small for me. I think you will be far happier with the 15" even if you don't get a super drive. Its a nice feature and $180 is a good price for that. My only biggy here is the 15" is so nice. Thats the big deal right there. All the rest is personal preference. DOn't buy a dvd burner just for backing up...esp. if you don't even do that. Good Luck. PEACE
  3. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    i'd get the 15 over 12 for 3 reasons ... higher res so i can fit more stuff on screen... FW800, and illuminated keyboard
  4. pdrayton macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Have you done your initial research and scrolled down the page to this thread?

    College Student Wants to Switch to Mac

    How 'bout this one?

    One more 12" vs 15"

    Not sure why you're interested in either a 12" PB Combo or a 15" PB SuperDrive. What about the 12" PB SuperDrive?

    Get a SuperDrive and start backing-up your files.

    Buying a laptop without getting AppleCare is taking a big risk.
  5. klyau6 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2004
    yes i've actaully read both of those (and lots more, although i admit this forum confuses me somewhat!) thanks for the feedback everyone!
  6. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I'm a student too, and I'm very happy with the 12". But no one thing is right for all people.

    The right decision for you depends on what you need.

    -For what you're doing, the extra processor speed on the 15" is totally irrelevant.
    -FW 800: would you use it? If so, how often, and for what?
    -Gigabit ethernet: not an issue for students.
    -superdrive: I went combo because I knew I would never burn DVDs. It doesn't sound like you would use it either. It's not worth it just for back up. The drive is slow and the 4.7 GB just isn't that much. An external HD (even ipod) will back up faster and be bigger than a DVD-R. Plus superdrive burns CDs slower than combo.
    -Backlit keyboard: do you use your computer in the dark/ low light a lot?
    -portability: how much will you really take this laptop off your desk? If it's once in a while, the 15" is fine. Carrying it all day, all the time, the 12" would be nicer.
    -screen size: how much do you need to fit on a screen at once? do you usually have many open windows?

    With the 15", I think you're paying for things you would never use (FW 800, GB ethernet, DVD-R, faster processor). The 15" w/o DVD-R is an option too; then it's only about a $300 difference all told.

    Bottom line: we're looking at a base price difference of ~$900 with edu pricing. Add the AE card, RAM, and bigger HD to the 12", and it's more like a $500 difference. In your position, I'd go 12", add those things, and get a 17" LCD in addition; it should still be under the price of the 15" if you get 3rd party RAM and an external LCD from someone other than Apple. More screen space when you're at the desk, more portability when you're not. Best of both worlds.
  7. Kingsnapped macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    How much desk-real estate would an LCD. external mouse and external keyboard take up? I have a rather large desk at home, and between my PB and second monitor, I only have enough desk space for a textbook and a notebook. Aren't desks at universities a little... smaller than what's in my room?
  8. dave1234 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2003
    I have a 12 inch PB, and i think it is great, i love it. But it is not perfect, i still wish i would have gotten the 15 inch, because for some high-end programs (photoshop etc...) and for garage band. It can be a burden to navigate around the image/track things. I would go with the 15 inch, and that illumanated keyboard just kicks so much ass.
  9. zorglub macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2002
    Paris France
    take a 12" for real portability all day long,
    absolutely subscript applecare,
    buy a 15" or 17" screen for desktop use, with keyboard and mouse...
    and voilà

  10. etoiles macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2002
    Where the air is crisp
    I got the 12" and love it. I must admit that the 15" looks damn sexy... but the 12" was a more reasonable choice for me, especially when it comes to portability. From a technical point of view, I don't think there is anything you can do with a 15 that you couldn't do on a 12, it is just going to be a little bit slower...and as others noted, there is ways around the small screen if you need to do serious media work.

    zorglub: "Eviv Bulgroz !" ;)
  11. jevel macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2003
    OK. I had the exact same dilemma some months ago, and I went for the 15" 1.25GHz PB with superdrive.

    Would I do things different if I had the chance today? Both yes and no. My main gripe with the 15" is size. I'm a recent switcher too, and I was using an IBM ThinkPad T22 with a 14.1" screen before this 15" PB, and the T22 was a lot smaller than this. Weight is also an issue.

    SO if weight and size is irrelevant for your decision; go 15". If portability matters, go 12"!

  12. atacinus macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2003
    New York City
    What happened to me...

    I was in your situation about a month ago...i actually had my heart set on the 12" from everything I read on the web...for portability [the 15" seemed too big]. But then I drove in to the apple store and saw the 15". I changed my mind instantly. The screen is worth it! I don't know about the backlit keyboard...seemed like a waste to me...and as far as the superdrive goes, I didn.t get one, and REGRET IT! I never thought I.d like iDVD as much as I do...but now I can.t use it :-( ...oh well, at least with the new iLife '04, I can save it and burn it on another mac [which my college will "provide"]...anyway...IMHO...get the 15"...


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