my take on the 12" powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by heatheralane, May 26, 2004.

  1. heatheralane macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2004
    I just got a new 12" 1.33 MHz, 80GB, superdrive powerbook - I'm very excited, and very pleased...but at the same time, there are a few disappointments for me. I don't seem to hear the negatives talked about too much, so I thought I would post.

    First, the screen is small, but that doesn't bother me - it's the resolution. I didn't think I would notice, but I do. The 10" sony vaio screen (gasp, can't believe I prefer a pc screen) is higher resolution and better quality.

    The slot that the CD/DVD slides into is cheaply made. It has this foam/rubber kind of entrance that isn't evenly matched up (top and bottom). It just looks cheap and flimsy.

    It's heavier than I expected. I know that seems silly, but I thought 4.6 lbs would seem lighter. It's very dense and solid - and maybe I'm just being a girl here, but it's pretty heavy. Definitely better than the 15" or the pismo that I'm upgrading from...but still....

    I don't like the silver-colored keys. Doesn't look good.

    I wanted the 12" because of the portability factor; I just wish it was as upscale in specs and appearance as the 15" and 17". Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy and would make the choice again...but there's always things we would change, right?
  2. quanfer macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2004
    hello, I am currently deciding between the 12" and 15".. and I've read alot of complaints about the 12" screen. Theres a sharper viewing angle and it starts to tint, and screen quality is not that great. I've also read as much reviews from people who just love it. Oh, and do all the powerbooks have silver keys? I'm still deciding between 12" and 15" (combo drive, its cheaper and i dont really think the lighted keyboard is that great, is it worth it? :p ).
  3. winwintoo macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2003
    Heather I don't think you're just being a girl. I don't know why the 12" PB needs to be so heavy either LOL

    I share some of your disappointments - I'm upgrading from an iBook and while I like the touch of the PB keyboard compared to the iBook, I thought I was a touch typist but now I realize how much I depended on being able to see the letters.

    The other thing that I'm finding disconcerting is the noise. The iBook ran silent unless I had a CD in the drive, but this PB has a fan or something running most of the time.

    The screen on the PB is so much brighter than the iBook - don't know if the iBook is just getting worn out (2 years).

    Other than that and the fact that the prices seemed to drop as soon as I crossed the line where I could no longer return it, I'm pretty happy with my new PB.

  4. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    Disappointing that you're disappointed.

    I've had two 12 inchers (Revs A and B) and may potentially be looking at a third (how dodgy does that sound? :)). I've loved them both.

    Your issues seem to be with cosmetics - if these things concern you, then you really need to check out the fit and finish of the item at a store before you buy. I also don't understand your distinction between the 12" and the 15"/17" when they sport the same keyboard (albeit not backlit, but still silver) and slot-loading drive. I find the keyboard extremely good, one of the most responsive laptop keyboards I've used on a Mac or PC laptop. As far as the weight issue goes, I think you'll find that a kilo of feathers weighs the same as a kilo of lead, so I'm not sure that's a fair criticism. Of course, the display is another matter, but the size is a matter of personal preference (I loved the portability and was able to do everything I needed on it, including video and image editing), and it's also something you should really see for yourself before you buy.

    Having said that, what do you think of the performace? You seem to have gone for the higher spec 12" - which I am considering along with the higher spec 15", so I'd be interested to know how you found the performace. I suspect (and hope) though that you'd probably not have much to be disappointed with in that regard.

    Anyway, I hope you do make your peace with your disappointment with the cosmetic features because I'm sure you will love the 12" - it's a great machine.
  5. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2004
    NYC & Baltimore
    Get the 15" combo...I did and am very happy- The price difference allowed me to get a gig of RAM and an external FW800 hard drive (you can't do that on a 12"- they only have FW400). The backlit keys are a nice little extra but worth it? Plus the 1.5 ghz is not benching much higher at all than the 1.33.
  6. heatheralane thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2004
    It's me again . . .

    I'm really not disappointed with performance at all - I have it loaded with 1.256 GB of RAM and I love the superdrive and having an 80GB hard drive - it's all good. It runs photoshop and illustrator and dreamweaver without a second thought.

    I suppose it just some of the aesthetics, but I can't really separate those with performance. For instance, it's not the size of the screen that bothers me. In fact, I love the 10" sony vaio screen which is smaller but a higher resolution. It just looks much sharper and nicer than this one.

    And for the slot-loading CD/DVD drive, I don't know if it's the same on the 12/15/17" powerbooks. I can tell you that the 15" powerbook (the generation before this latest upgrade) has a different sort of "cover" to it that seems to be a better quality (i.e. looks less cheap) than this one. But maybe that's the same on all of the new powerbooks.

    Same with the silver keyboard. The 15" that I've been using has a see-through kind of keyboard - not all silver. I just like it a little bit better.

    Oh, one more complaint I forgot from before - why does the built-in airport extreme card get less of a signal than the old airport card I had in my pismo? I can't email from my bed anymore. :(

    Obviously, none of these are fatal complaints and overall I'm quite satisifed. The speed, ease, and responsiveness of my new powerbook are all top notch, and it really is very pretty. I think it's just good to know what to expect when you're getting a new computer because no computer is going to be perfect!
  7. hob macrumors 68020


    Oct 4, 2003
    London, UK
    Where would we be if we couldn't use the internet from our beds... like I am now!! (please don't sue me)

    I'm not sure about the very latest revision with the built-in airport card, but back in the ol' days when I got my 12" PB I had to install my AirPort card MYSELF :eek: :eek: :eek:

    If it's anything like my revision, try this:

    Take out the battery, and on the inside-side there should be a little flap. Open it up, and you should see your AirPort card, and the little aerial cable that plugs the AirPort into your screen aerial. Try unplugging this little cable and plugging it back in again - it might not be seated properly, I had this when i installed my card... Although the effects were much more severe!!

    I really do love my PowerBook, as opposed to my iBook (specs in sig.). I went from one to the other and the PowerBook is lighter, smaller and has a far better keyboard! If you really learn to touch type then you'll find the keyboard to be one of the best you'll ever use!!

  8. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    well, to each his or her own, but as an owner of a rev. B 12" PB, I don't really agree with your evaluations.

    re: the screen - 1024x768 is the resolution used on 15" desktop LCDs... any higher on a 12" screen and I wouldn't be able to read it. Honestly, if I could set the res. higher, I wouldn't. And higher than 1024x768 on a 10" screen?? I don't know how anyone could stand that.

    my CD/DVD drive is evenly matched and is hardly noticable when looking at the computer. I guess I just don't know what you mean by "cheap looking." It's a slot loading drive, and a fairly unobtrusive one. What do you want from it? :confused:

    4.6 lbs. is 4.6 lbs... sorry you thought it would feel like less. :-/

    keys are just a personal preference, I guess.

    of course it would be great if the 12" could match the big ones in specs, but that would mean a) much greater heat (perhaps an unworkable amount of heat) and b) much higher cost. You wouldn't buy a zippy little sports car and then complain that it doesn't have all the amenities of a luxury SUV, would you?

    The airport is a legitimate complaint, IMHO. PBs don't get the reception that they should, or that ibooks do. But we've come a long way since Tibooks.

    I guess we are just perceiving these things differently...
  9. MacTheKnife macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    Screen on 12" not as bright/rich as 15"

    I have been deliberating over whether to purchase the 12" or 15", weighing the positives and negatives of each. I was in an Apple store today comparing the two side by side, and one positive for the 15" besides the screen real estate is that the screen is much brighter and has a richer color than does the 12" screen. Another slightly annoying thing about the 12" is that the palm rest area becomes quite warm after a while, whereas the 15" stays nice and cool (at least on the top side, both become warm on the bottom but the 12" seems to get warmer bordering on hot).

    I'm currently leaning toward the 15" but unsure whether to go for the 1.33 or 1.5.
  10. MacFan26 macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2003
    San Francisco, California
    You should check out the lcd's that are on fujitsu laptops. You only have to move it a couple inches before you can't tell at all what's on the screen. It's pretty awful! I know that didn't really apply, but all this talk about laptop screens made me think of it.
  11. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    I think the 12" PowerBook is the best looking PowerBook. It doesn't have those horrible looking speakers at the sides of the keyboard. Also, I like the way the CD drive is off to the right, not the front, it's easier to put discs in without having to move out of the way. The trackpad and keyboard distance is smaller too, so it's more comfortable to use.

    My only complaint is that the microphone is next to the fan, which can cause problems in GarageBand when the fan always comes on.

    But, as someone else mentioned, the 15 and 17" keyboards are the same as the 12" - also with silver keys. I personally think they look and feel much better than the iBook and TiBook keys. Screen size is fine - hook up an external otherwise if you want to while you're at home. I can't imagine a 10" screen having higher than 1024x768 though.
  12. brap macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2004

    Neither could I, so I looked it up:

    It's a widescreen. It's also $2199 for the base model...

    On topic, I can't wait for my 12" to arrive. I've been using iBooks since the tangerine clamshell, but this is my first PB. I think the moral of the story is... check it out at the shop beforehand ;-)
  13. heatheralane thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2004
    That moral of the story doesn't really work here. I had played with two friends' 12" powerbooks before I bought it, and so already knew what I liked and didn't (with the exception of the AE thing).

    The point is, there were enough things that I really liked about the 12" (overall look, performance, portability, etc.) to make up for the things I didn't. I still made the decision to buy it and haven't changed my mind - there will just always be a few things I would change if I could.

    brap - yup, that's the vaio I was talking about. It's really cute and if had been a mac I probably would have gone for it, though there are things I don't like about it either (no built-in bluetooth, strange font on the keyboard, build is too curvy).
  14. winwintoo macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2003
    Earlier I said what I was disappointed about - now I'll tell you what I love about my new PB. I love the keyboard. It is so responsive - I can type twice as fast and it *feels* like a real keyboard. I love the trackpad. I had a drawer full of mice that I kept trying to use with the iBook because the trackpad on it was useless. When I took the PB out of the box for the first time I wasn't at home so had no mouse handy and had to use the trackpad and thought - hey this is neat! I've packed all the mice away, won't be needing them. Might use the Wacom tablet for Photoshop, but other than that, the trackpad will do it.

    Love the speed. Only got the 1 Ghz, but still it feels like more than twice the speed of the 600 Mhz iBook. Love the screen - very crisp in comparison. Love the size. It's only a bit smaller, but it will fit nicely into my purse if I'm in a hurry and since I don't need to drag along a mouse I'll have that much less to carry.

    I knew I was buying a discontinued model and got a good deal, but I had a moment of :mad: when I ran the numbers again and realized that for $300 more I could have had the 1.3 ghz but this will do and I'm happy with it.
  15. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    when you think it over, you can congratulate yourself for saving the three hundred - the speed difference is actually nothing in real world, because the bus speed (the lack of!) takes a bigger hit on performance the bigger the clock speed.

    now if they were re-introduced the L3 cache in this new revision, then you should've reconsidered. without the L3, the +33% in cpu clock speed goes mostly wasted. the cpu just isn't getting fed with data fast enough. believe me, i do protools work with 1.25Ghz powerbook and this baby cannot fully utilize the cpu. sad but true.

    apple do you read this? give us the L3 back if you're going to keep the G4 in the laptops !!!
  16. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    That's the one sticking point about my TiBook: the pathetic wireless reception! I practically can't get a signal unless I'm in the same room with the base station....and definitely can't email from bed, which was a dream of mine for years (I have to use the iBook for that). :D

    I don't like the look or feel of the silver keyboard either. Just personal preference there. Not only are the key letters easier to see on the TiBook, the keys are slightly concave so that your fingers sort of cradle in them while typing. The new silver keyboards have flat keys that my fingers just sort of seem to slide on.

    The backlighting on the higher-end models is really cool, though.

    It's good that at least you're basically happy with your Powerbook, aside from those few quibbles. We wouldn't want you to have to run Windows! :p
  17. fr0 macrumors member

    May 6, 2004
    About that backlighting. Boy does it suck. Unless it is pitch black I can't make out the letters on the keys. If I couldn't touch type the backlit keyboard would almost be a hindrance rather than a "feature." I agree with apple that the silver keys look great with the rest of the package, but they really could have done something better with the lighting. Even using those goofy blue LED's would have been better because at least the lit portion of the keys would stand out. keyboard mod anyone? :)

    just my $.02

  18. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Um... the number and letter keys on my PB are all slightly concave. They certainly aren't flat. I couldn't compare the keys to the Ti, however, because I've never owned one.

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