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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > a new 'book...

a new 'book...
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Aug 16, 2005, 09:25 AM
hi all!

so it's time for me to get a new 'book. as some of you might have read a number of threads down, the backlight on my g3 ibook went out, and i'm thinking of replacing it.

now, its the eternal question, an ibook or a powerbook?

before you guys dismiss as 'another one of those posts', there's a reason for my question.

although the two product lines have their different target users, certain advantages and trade-ups complicate the consumer's decision.

my needs are basically limited to - [all the time] word processing, email, web surfing, instant messaging, itunes and watching dvds/videos etc [occasionally] photoshopping, garageband etc.

as you can see i'm not much of a heavy user, but my g3 ibook has been painfully slow sometimes (i'm extremely impatient)

my budget limits me to a lower end 15" with a combo drive at most, but that's really strecthing it. the prices of the ibooks make them really attractive.

conventional wisdom dictates another ibook, but i do love the powerbooks for their beautiful finish and excellent keyboards. my g3 ibook's keyboard feels really wimpy (its the slightly translucent ones), how are the boards on the new ibook g4's?

however battery life and airport reception seem to be the biggest issues when it comes to the powerbooks, but is it really that bad? need some opinions because they're largely discussed in relative terms.

many thanks in advance.
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston, TX
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Aug 16, 2005, 10:15 AM
I've just gone from a 15" Powerbook 1.5Ghz to a brand new iBook and I can attest to the huge difference in airport and battery life. I was trying to drain my battery last night in order to calibrate the battery so I had unplugged it, set it to highest performance, and had several MPEGs playing, while connected to my iPod, and playing a DVD. After over 1 hr of this, I checked my battery and it still had nearly 2 hrs to go (it was still at 75%)! I know with my Powerbook, I probably would've drained over 50% by then. As far as airport reception, just do a search on the Powerbook forum and you'll read plenty on that. For my Powerbook, I had to keep an extra PCMCIA wireless card handy just in case my airport couldn't reach far enough. No more with my iBook. Buy one now through the education store and you can get a free iPod mini on top of the $50 discount. =)
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: great northwest
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Aug 16, 2005, 11:18 PM
My iBook G4 keyboard was better than my iBook G3 keyboard, but my PB G4 keyboard blows it away. But the iBook's is OK now, and you can get an external keyboard for home use, which (with stand or monitor) is also ergonomically much better for your body. But keyboards are notoriously idiosyncratic -- you really need to go try both the iBook and Powerbook keyboards out at a store and feel for yourself.

The battery life on my 12" PB is worse than my iBook's was, but not as much worse as you'd experience on a 15" PB. Airport range is also worse, but not dramatically so.

If you're getting a 12" 'book, you really need another monitor (unless you have another desktop computer). In that case, the PB's DVI out option for an external display might make a difference -- it's a lot sharper, IMO. Again, your eyes should be the judge.

If you're looking at larger sized 'Books, the 14" iBook is a good deal now (esp. with superdrive), but you might consider finding a refurbed 15" PB from the apple store; they sometimes come within a couple hundred dollars of the 14" iBook.

For your uses, the iBook sounds like a better choice, but I'm told that you will notice a difference in garageband. you should max the RAM if you're using it, no matter which you buy.

If you're considering the two 12" 'books, this new article should help you decide. Remember you'll get a larger HD on the PB, but the iBook will be more durable, which could make a difference if you're going to tote it around a lot.
Forum Regular
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Aug 17, 2005, 01:09 AM
what does calibrating the battery do?
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Illinois might be cold and flat, but at least it's ugly.
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Aug 17, 2005, 01:39 AM
Uhm. Calibrates it?
Senior User
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Austin, Texas
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Aug 17, 2005, 02:18 AM
Two things to note about that article posted comparing the new iBooks to the 12" Powerbook:

The iBook can be upgraded to 1.5GB of RAM, while the 12" Powerbook can only handle 1.25GB (in the article he states that both can handle 1.5GB, which isn't true). Also, the iBook's battery lasts up to 6 hours - while the 12" Powerbook battery lasts up to 5 hours (in the article he states that both can last up to 5 hours).
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Aug 17, 2005, 03:32 PM
Honestly, for you, I think the iBook is the best choice. I have just received my iBook G4 12" 1.33Ghz a few days ago and I love it. Battery is amazing. I've had this baby going for at least 5 and a half hours and it still at 20%. So, I think 6 hours is correct. The iBook is durable and can't really dent. I don't think it would crack easy either. I think the worse that could happen would be that it gets a scratch. In that case get a sleeve from Radtech or something and use that to protect the surface when it's in your backpack or what have you. The keyboard doesn't feel at all "wimpy" on this iBook. It feels pretty durable, IMO. I've used both the PB and iBook at the Apple store when I was buying and the PB keyboard and iBook keyboard didn't feel much different at all. The old transparent keyboards suck. Don't compare with that.

Anyway, save a load of money and get a 12" iBook. It's not worth the extra money, IMO, for a 12" PB. If you are looking for a widescreen, than that's another story.
MacBook White 2GHz 2GB 80GB | iPod 30GB White 5G | Powershot SD700 IS
www.alwaysg5.com - my blog, a female mac & ipod fan.
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