12" vs. 15" Powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ll cool jh, May 31, 2004.

  1. ll cool jh macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2003
    I need to buy a laptop soon, like in a few days, so I'm looking for any help. At first I was debating a 12" ibook vs. a 12" powerbook but realized that the 12" was a better fit for me. Anyways I'm worried that a 12" screen may be too small to use as my primary screen. I have about a 2,000 (u.s.) dollars to spend, so I'm thinking I could get a 12" and an external lcd and probably have to get a keyboard and mouse as well. Or I could get the 15" 1.33ghz which would be tougher to carry around but I'd have everything in one package, aside from a mouse.

    Is a 12" screen acceptable for everyday use or is an external lcd almost a necessity?

    Is a 15" powerbook a lot harder to carry around than a 12" powerbook?

    From your experiences what is the better option?

    I'm really tossed up about which route I should take. I would like to get just a 12" powerbook so I could have more money for accessories. However, if a 12" screen is going to be too small, I think I'd rather have a 15" instead of a 12" with an lcd.

    Ugh, help.

    oh, yea I'll be a freshman in college next year and need to use my laptop this summer, hence the need to buy soon. I plan on buying whatever powerbook with 256mb of ram and getting a 512mb stick from crucial. I also am planning on upgrading to the 5400rpm hd in either model. When I mention accessories I mean like a printer, sleeve, blank cds, etc. I don't know if I'll be bringing my powerbook all over the place in college, probably not to classes but probably to the library at times, plus it is just easier to bring home during break.
  2. reaper macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2004
    19th Hole
    I would say that the 12" is probably good enough for most everyday activities. However, if you are going to be doing tons of photo or video editing, then it may not be the right computer for you without the external LCD and the mouse and keyboard, etc. (although, I don't really know how you'll get all of that for $2,000, but that's another story).

    It really depends on what you are going to be using it for. If you think the extra screen real estate is going to come in handy, then go for the 15" because I don't think that it'll be that much harder to carry. Speedwise, they are probably going to be pretty comparable and the only major differences are things like the backlit keyboard, more video ram and a larger screen.

    All in all, you really need to make the decision based on your preferences. Just figure out what you need to do, whether you are going to be doing lots of things where you need a large screen and then go from there. Either way, you are going to get one heck of a computer!

    - reaper
  3. LaMerVipere macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2004
    I've used a 12" iBook G4 since november, and prior to that I had a 12" PowerBook G4, and my next laptop will DEFINITELY have a bigger screen!

    I'm also going to be a freshman in college in the fall, and after a year with a 12" screen on 2 different laptops I can say that if you're only doing word processing and web surfing then its fab for that, but if you're doing a lot of photoshop and video work like I started to this year, the 12" is a bad bad idea. It's slower to manipulate images and video because of the restrictions on screen real-estate, and the screens aren't as bright or crisp as the 15" or 17" screens.

    Also, as a matter of comparison, I've also used my video production class teacher's 15" PowerBook many times and man, its so much nicer.

    a 12" screen is like sitting in the backseat of a 2 door coupe, the 15" is like sprawling out in the back of a limo. MUCH BETTER. Unless u need need need the portability (and the 15" is only a pound or so heavier) get the 12", otherwise 15" is the only way to go...

    Just my 2¢ :cool:
  4. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    The 12" screen would be too small without expose. It REALLY helps. Do you have an apple store or retailer where you can go and see them side by side? That would be the right thing to do. Also, I would make out a pros and cons list.

    12": Smaller, Cheaper, Same Video Memory, Slower Video Card, Smaller Monitor, Lighter, no FW 800.

    15": Larger, heavier, same video memory, faster graphics card, more screen real estate, FW800, more expensive.

    Obviously those aren't the only differences, but those are some.
  5. stefan_km macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2004
    I got my 12" powerbook about a month ago, and has been very happy with it. In my oppinion, I rearely find myself needing more screen real-estate than I have, when I'm not at home. So if you can afford a bigger screen with the powerbook, I would deffinately say the portability (and not only weight) is very nice to have.
  6. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
    i've pretty much decided on getting the 15" rev.B PB. that is, until i realzie the battery life hasn't improved. is it worth sacrificing all the nice features of the 15" inf avor of the 12" simply for the longer battery life? i'll be using this in a university setting.

    what do you think?
  7. wide macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2004
    Yeah I'm going to be having the same problem in december so i might as well as this now: is a 12 inch screen large enough for macromedia dreamweaver mx 2004?


  8. Gherkin macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2004
    From everything I've read, the battery life HAS improved in the rev B 15" compared to the rev A. For one thing, the processor is designed for better power comsumption and the battery has a larger capacity in the rev B.

    I've also read real world usage claims of better battery life, I'm not just going off of specs from a stat sheet.

    Now, the 12" DOES still have better battery life. But that is how it has been and always will be considering the 12" is smaller and less powerful.
  9. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2003
    Well, I was just planning on robbing a nearby apple store. Actually since I'm a student, I can use that discount, also I am not ordering a superdrive, so with the 5400rpm hd it comes to like 1540 or so. A decent 15" or 17" lcd ranges from like 300-400, so that puts me close to the limit, but I could go a little over to get everything I need.

    To everybody else, I don't plan on doing a lot of intense photoshop or editing, probably very little if any. But I do like to run multiple of my favorite applications at once, something I am hoping OSX will do better than XP. Also this needs to last through college, so I want to get an overly capable machine now. I run 1280 by 1024 on my 15" crt now, so I am worried that the resolution on the 12" screen might be hard to adjust to, so please more input from 12" pbook owners.

    Again my whole issue is with screen size, the specs are almost identical.
  10. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    All I know is that for me, the 12" PB has enough screen real estate. I usually have safari, iChat, and Mail open. I use tabs to cut down windows in safari. That's about all I do, and it's enough for me.
  11. arnette macrumors 6502


    Nov 22, 2002
    Manhattan Beach
    Get a 12"

    I think you'll appreciate the 12" size and portability far more than you would the extra screen space on a 15".

    I'm using a 12" ibook right now and I have never felt the need for more room (need for more power, however, is another story). I do a lot of Safari, iChat, Word, Mail, and iTunes all at the same time and it's a breeze to cruise through all the windows thanks to the dock and Expose. Don't be hesitant about the 12" screen size because you won't be bothered by it at all. Plus, you'll always have the option of mirrored, spanning, or lid-closed operation on an external with a higher resolution/larger screen real estate.

    Good luck!

    PS. I'm saving up for a 12" PowerBook so I'm a man of my word!
  12. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2003
    I really hate to bring this back up, but if any other 12" powerbook owners could speak about the size of the screen and whether or not it can be used fulltime without an external display, that'd be boss.
  13. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    I use a 15" and although maybe I don't need the extra space, I appreciate it. Why don't you go to an Apple store and mess with them in person? Another thing... the 15" isn't hard to carry around at all. It's no bigger than a notebook... I just throw it in my canvas side-bag (man-purse style) and go.

    Lee Tom
  14. johng723 macrumors member

    May 31, 2004
    my roommate actually has a 12" powerbook and recently he's been complaining about the small space. He's constantly saying how he wishes he had the 15" (which I just recently bought). I do have to say though that the 12" is more convenient to carry around but i dont think that the 15" is that much more of a hassle. I also carry it around in my messenger bag so its not a big deal.
  15. Hydra macrumors regular


    May 25, 2004
    How easily does the fan kick in on the 12" vs 15" models? Which runs cooler...

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