14" iBook vs 12" Powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Bobcat37, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. Bobcat37 macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2004
    Ok, what do you guys think. Should I go with the-

    14" iBook (1 GHz G4, 40GB Ultra ATA drive, Combo Drive, ATI Radeon Mobility 9200 32MB)


    12" Powerbook (1.33 GHz G4, 60GB Ultra ATA drive, Combo Drive, NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 64MB)

    I need the computer for school, I already have a 1.8GHz G5 at home.

    The Powerbook is very tempting because of the faster processor and FSB, better graphics card, and built in AirPort Extreme. The iBook does have 1 hour longer of a battery life and obviously a bigger screen. (Is 12" that much smaller than 14" in your guys opinion?)

    Also, the iBook is $200 cheaper, which could potentially be a big factor.

    Argh it's so hard to choose, I need help!
  2. thehuncamunca macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2003
    i was in a similar pinch, seeing both in person made my choice much easier as the powerbook was much too small, despite both have the same number of pixels
    i'd get the 60GB upgrade if you get the ibook for $50

  3. rareflares macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2004
    Washington D.C.
    the 14" screen has the same resolution (1024x768 pixels) as the 12" so you're not getting extra screen space. it's just a bigger screen. If i'm not mistaken, the 14" iBook weighs a pound more than the 12" PB, if that factors into your decision at all. Plus, in my opinion the keyboard on the PB just feels better than the iBook, but that is subjective.

    I'd say go for the Powerbook....33% more proc. speed, double the VRAM, Core Image/Video hardware support when Tiger comes out, faster RAM and bus speed(i think), bigger hard drive, airport/bluetooth built-in, etc. make it worth the $200 difference if you have the funds for that option.
  4. morkintosh macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2003
    I've had both a 12" pb and a 14" ibook (gave the ibook away as I never used it) and I have to say the pb is the only way to go. I generally ascribe to the idea that laptops are portable computers not for everyday use though, so the size of the 12" is a non-issue for me.

    That aside, the pb is faster all around and I found it to be way more solid than the ibook was; really the ibook was pretty flimsey and almost felt cheap. If you really want a bigger screen check out the 15" pb, those are very nice ... if not a little too big ;)
  5. Bobcat37 thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2004
    Great advice so far guys!

    thehuncamunca- I agree, I've seen a 12" in person and they do seem small. But at the same time, I'm not sure it would matter much. I would probably be using this thing mostly for typing up countless essays and listening to iTunes :)

    rareflares- Agreed, $200 isn't much for all of those upgrades. Heck an AirPort extreme card is $70 on it's own

    morkintosh- Great info to know, thanks. Honestly I probably would be using it daily, but it definitely would NOT be my "main" computer. I'd still have my G5 with a 17" flat screen at home for that.

    Keep it coming guys! So far I'm leaning towards the Powerbook if the extra $200 is doable. Also, the Powerbooks do look a little cooler than the iBook IMO (I've always been a sucker for that aluminum, it would match my G5 too, lol!), and the fact that it is 1.3 pounds less is kinda nice.
  6. Bobcat37 thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2004
    Sorry to double post... I saw a 12" iBook in person today, and although they are tiny, I don't think a 12" Powerbook would be too small for me.

    Also it is definitely more portable than the 14" iBook due to size and weight, which is a pretty nice plus.

    Does anyone else have any advice for me? Especially if you think I should go with the iBook, because not many people have said that so far...

    And morkintosh, a friend of mine has a 15" PB and they are nice, but they really are almost too big (and that is only the medium size, lol! 17" ones are huuuuuge). I wish they had a 13 or 14" PB :eek:
  7. dav macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2004
    I would rather have a 12" iBook fully loaded over a 12" Powerbook..

    So shoot me
  8. noahsnyc macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2003
    Los Angeles
    My two cents...

    I love my 12" iBook. Somehow, it feels a little more sturdy than the comparable PB, and the design is more up my alley. Something about that "metal look" screams "late 90s".

    The battery life on an iBook is drastically higher than that of a PB, and the specs between the two computers are really similar. That video card "extra" you get out of the PB will be nice with Tiger, but you won't see a marked improvement between the two as long as you rock the RAM.

    As far as larger screens go, I have a philosophy...Basically, I own a laptop because I need mobility. The more mobility while still being able to do whatever I need is preferred. Thus, a 12inch screen and a smaller computer suits my needs better than a 17in screen on a laptop I'll have to really lug to get around. If I stayed in one spot, I'd like a G5 or even a nice iMac, but portability is why One gets a laptop. Also, unless you're using it from across the room, or juggle numerous open applications at once, screen real estate is just a personal preferance. I usually have Mail, Safari, iPhoto and iTunes open, but rarely, if ever, use more than one of them at the exact same time. My 12in fits great on my lap or any space for that matter.

    Yeah, you get a couple of extra bells and whistles on a PB, but the area is very close between the PB and the iBook these days, and that $200 you'd save by buying the iBook is great for a significant increase in RAM, an external HD or DVD Burner, or just the next two months' phone bills.

    My votes for the iBook, the 12in, loaded to the gills.

    Rock on,

  9. dtp macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2004
    Cambridge, UK
    Vote for iBooks!

    Well, if you don't need the extra portable power (you said you'll be using the -book to type up essays and listen to iTunes, and you have a G5 desktop), I'd suggest considering the 12" iBook rather than the 14" iBook or the 12" PowerBook. I have the 12" iBook myself, and although the screen seems small at first glance, I've found that it doesn't actually feel that small when you use it. If you're going to be carrying it around a lot, I think it's more durable and less easy to damage than the PowerBook. With the iBook, you don't have to worry about dents or scratches, which constantly concern a friend of mine with the 15" PowerBook. I have even dropped mine on a couple of occasions and had absolutely no damage. Contrary to morkintosh's experience, I have found it very sturdy - moreso than the PowerBook range.

    The 12" definitely has size on its side if you're planning on carrying it around - not only is it compact, but it's obviously lighter than the larger sizes. I carry mine pretty much everywhere I go - on trains, on holiday, when I'm visiting friends - and I've found the size and weight to be the envy of friends who've been lugging round larger and heavier models.

    As to your usage - well, I'm in the same boat as you in that I only use my iBook for surfing the web, writing emails and essays, and listening to iTunes. I have found the iBook more than capable for these purposes.

    One factor that does weigh in favour of the iBooks rather than the PowerBooks is that AppleWorks is bundled with the iBooks, but not the PowerBooks (for reasons unknown to anyone, from what I can gather). If you're going to be writing essays, this is a definite bonus. On the other hand, if you're going to purchase Office 2004 for mac, this might not sway you.

    So there we go: my case for not choosing either of the computers you had shortlisted, and going for the 12" iBook instead ;)

    (Oh, and it's cheaper than both, so you can throw in a larger hard-drive and more memory.)
  10. pyrotoaster macrumors 65816


    Dec 28, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Definitely go for the Powerbook. It's got more bang for the buck, and it'll last you longer (I'm not saying the iBook won't last, but its hardware will become outdated sooner).

    Above all, I'd avoid the 14" iBook. As some folks have already mentioned, the 14" adds no screen real estate, it just has bigger pixels. While it does have the longer battery, I generally find that I'm not away from an outlet too long for battery life to be a problem.

    The 12" Powerbook definitely isn't too small, with a full size keyboard that's very sturdy to type on (not flimsy like the old iBook and Powerbook keyboards that popped out to access the AirPort card). The Powerbook is also the perfect weight for carrying around just about anywhere, and the aluminum is just plain sexy. ;)

    You'll definitely get better use out of a Powerbook, although I would definitely recommend the hard drive upgrade (to 60 GB) if you can get it BTO. And obviously, you'll want to add at least 512 MB of RAM.

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