14" iBook G4 -- A College Student Switcher's Review

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by illegal amigo, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. illegal amigo macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2005
    A Switcher’s 14” iBook G4 Review

    Allow me to preface this by introducing myself. I’m a college student who has switched to OS X from Windows XP. I’m entirely new to Mac OS X operating system. I haven’t used an Apple computer (prior to today) for more than 5 minutes playing around in the Apple store. That being said, I switched mainly because of the stability of OS X, the security of UNIX and the aesthetics of an Apple computer. I also liked the ease of use of the iPod mp3 player, and have heard similar things for Apple’s computers. I bit the bullet and sprung for a stock Apple 14” G4 1.42ghz iBook with 60GB hard drive and 512mb Ram and 32mb VRAM.

    OS X is the basic operating system of the computer. It’s the meat and potatoes. It’s the framework behind the gorgeous graphical interface and application suite, the core of the computer. It’s very intuitive and oriented much differently than Windows XP. It won’t be easy to compare OS X to [vulnerable, semi-buggy and often frustrating] Windows XP It’d be like comparing Apples to oranges (groan!) but I’ll try.

    The OS X has a consortium of helpful features, ranging from the Spotlight search query to the quirky (albeit graphically stunning) Dashboard. Spotlight is much more than “Search” in Windows XP – it is much faster and intensely more thorough. It’s a glorified Mac equivalent of Google Desktop, if you’re familiar with that. It basically indexes your hard drive for fast search results. The Dashboard houses widgets, little micro-programs that are useful (the calculator, the airline flight tracker) and not-so-useful (the “world’s smallest widget” for example, downloadable online, is a single pixel that just floats around the screen). The dock is comparable to Windows XP’s desktop shortcuts, but seemingly much more refined. Again, graphics take precedence in the design of the computer, a refreshing change over XP.

    Physically, I’m very impressed by the laptop. The screen is very clear (not fuzzy as mentioned by other reviewers) and I think the 1024x768 resolution is more than ample. The speakers are nothing special (they’re still laptop speakers) but they get the job done. The line-out jack is much better for listening to music. (I’m listening to Paul Simon’s “Negotiations and Love Songs 1971-1986” and it sounds amazing on my desktop speakers.) The track pad is functional, but I prefer both the comfort and convenience of a two-buttoned mouse. Right-clicking on the track pad takes some getting used to, you have to press Control + click.

    Most of the software is great. Lacking in the musical abilities department, I have no use for Garage Band. I probably won’t use the iCal calendar application either, but everything else is great. iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto and iTunes are all very intuitive and have a variety of nice features. I’ve installed Microsoft Office and Windows Office users will feel at home in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Safari, the internet browser and Mail, the Apple mail client both work flawlessly, but for internet browsing I prefer the feel of Firefox (don’t worry, it’s free).

    I’m still getting used to the file system and directory of OS X, but it’s not difficult at all. I’m very happy with my purchase and I’d pay the premium and buy from Apple again.

    And by the way, if anyone has any suggestions for my writing, freeware Mac applications, or helpful shortcuts, please be sure to include them in this thread!
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Very happy for you. Congratulations on switching and welcome to the community. :)

    Get used to Spotlight, it's much easier/faster. :D
  3. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Glad to hear that you made the switch illegal amigo!
    Oh, and a very nice review my friend.
  4. chucknorris macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2005
    Moscow, ID (No Kremlin here!)
    I'm getting one too mi amigo. From what I've seen, I agree completely on the screen resolution. I can't wait till mine's here!
  5. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Hooray! I love these stories. Good for you. I own an 14" iBook myself and I love it.
  6. zeeko macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2005
  7. WeeShoo macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2005
    North Carolina
    Here are some awesome FreeWare Mac App's:

    www.clockworkapple.net... You can download Broken Helix for free there, Broken Helix is an App that allos you to extract music from your iPod or import music to iTunes, it is incredibly handy.

    www.AdiumX.com... Adium is by far the greatest instant messaging program I have used, and it's 100% customizable.

    www.IconFactory.com... You can download programs such as ''CandyBar'' or ''Pixadex'', they allow you to change the appearence of your icons.

    www.xbench.com... Run a series of Test's on your PowerBook and compare the result's with other Macintosh Computer's.

    Hope I helped!

    - WeeShoo
  8. chucknorris macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2005
    Moscow, ID (No Kremlin here!)
    If he's anything like me, I'm sure he's repressing that memory right now. You've got to give these things time, zeeko. It's a long healing process.
  9. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Quite right. People forget that 15" external LCDs often have the same (1024x768) resolution and I've never even found those to be "fuzzy," let alone the 14" ibook.

    Congrats on your purchase! You'll find this a very friendly, helpful place, so feel free to ask any questions you may have as you get started with macs!
  10. Aaon macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2004
    As someone looking at getting at 14" ibook right now, I found your review reallu useful! What are you studying in college? Do you feel like the ibook is "snappy" enough when you work i.e. does it ever feel bogged down or anything like that?

    Congrats on your purchase! I'm sure you'll love it!
  11. chucknorris macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2005
    Moscow, ID (No Kremlin here!)
    I'll answer as a surrogate for illegal amigo here.

    My iBook is very quick, especially after maxing out the ram. I hardly have to wait for anything, which is quite nice.

    For the things I do-web browsing, music, very light photoshop, etc-I don't notice a speed difference between it and my girlfriend's PowerBook (see below).

    Based off of Activity Monitor, I would say a ram upgrade is a must (I hardly used this machine with just the stock). I got a gig stick, but I honestly don't think it's necessary. My usage never goes over 700-800 megs. Get a 512 from Crucial, and consider yourself very nicely equipped.

    The bottomline is that this computer rocks in every way. :D :D
  12. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2003
    Hey, welcome to the Mac platform. I'm sure you'll enjoy your laptop in college. Here's a hint for browsing the file system- when you open a Finder window, hold Option and Command and click the pill in the top right corner of the window.
    You will be presented with a menu of options to add to the Finder bar. Drag the one labelled 'Path' onto your Finder bar. You will now be able to look at the folder hierarchy in a way similar to windows.
  13. illegal amigo thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Nice tip, x86. I'm studying English and I love this computer. It's fast enough and there's plenty of RAM (I burned a DVD while surfing the internet this morning.) It works out well.

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