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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > how many of you've had problems w/ 12" rev b powerbook?

how many of you've had problems w/ 12" rev b powerbook?
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fruntbut
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Dec 8, 2003, 02:58 PM
 
i was really convinced i was going to buy one around january...

but these recent problems with hard drives, screens, and general construction have me worried. i just don't want to own a powerbook that spends most of its time in the shop and i'm wondering what my odds are of getting a perfect one (i'll be getting it from apple store bto, by the way).

i suppose i'm getting a distorted view since people with troubled powerbooks are more likely to seek out this forum for help.

so i just want a general show of hands -

"who hasn't had any problems with this model?" (ones that required sending it in for repair)

i'm especially interested in very recently purchased ones, as i'm wondering if quality control is slipping lately due to demand.

i've considered the 12" ibook, but i'm just so attracted to the powerbook that i want it to be - if not worth the extra money - at least not a "risky" purchase (this is a lot of money for me).

oh, this is my first post and i've really appreciated this forum, thanks y'all.
     
chrisford
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Dec 8, 2003, 03:22 PM
 
I'm trying to think of any problem I've had with it...

None. It works exceptionally well, the battery life is great (3.5 hours continual use, days on sleep), no dead pixels.

Maybe CD burning isn't as fast as I'd like, and I had one bad disk when I was using Pshop and Illustrator at the same time.

I'd happily recommend it to friends. Which I guess is the best recommendation.

...

Oh. Hang on. I had a cluster of four dead pixels. They disappeared on reboot.
     
NYCFarmboy
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Dec 8, 2003, 03:23 PM
 
my 2 sisters in mid November each purchased rev b 12" powerbooks with superdrives.

both work perfectly with no problems at all.
     
madmacgames
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Dec 8, 2003, 03:24 PM
 
I got mine October 1st (ordered it from the apple online store the week before) and have had no serious problems.

I've had the OS freeze a few times due to software problems (non Apple software mind you).

Take care of it and it will be good to you... don't mind the small things or some problems you may encounter... for example my screen gets a little brighter at the bottom corners, but who freakin cares? You should have seen the screen I had to deal with before I got my 12" powerbook (a terrible CRT where white = pink). People complaining about all the small problems they have with their 12" revb should have to use an average PC for a few days. I bet they'll be begging to have their sweet powerbook back. And the people who complain because it breaks after they beat the crap out of it deserve no less.

The amount of computer Apple managed to pack into this small of a notebook is simply incredible!

Technology is not perfect; don't expect it to be.
     
fruntbut  (op)
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Dec 8, 2003, 03:37 PM
 
wow, thanks for the quick replies,and the good news.
anecdotal evidence is so powerful that i find myself changing my mind 20 times a day - every odd mention of a "heat problem" or "bad wifi reception" or "<2hrs battery life" sends me into doubt.

this will be my first mac, by the way, so that increases the gravity of the decision a little. though i'm pretty confident now that osx is the os for me.

well, keep 'em comming. the more success stories i hear the more i'll curse the calendar for putting january so far from december 8th.
     
all2ofme
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Dec 8, 2003, 03:57 PM
 
Mine's fine. 1GHz, SD etc. Works very well.
     
chrikenn
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Dec 8, 2003, 04:15 PM
 
I've had mine since Mid october, and just this week the hard drive seems to have died. Someone said, "take care of it and it will be good to you." Well, my last laptop's hard drive died too, so I've treated this one amazingly well. The comments I got on my last thread about it being a common problem with the toshiba drives just means that there are some issues, not necessarily that i haven't treated it well. Nevertheless, I still highly recommend it. Except for the issue with the hard drive, which I don't blame on apple, it's been an amazing computer.
     
gator
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Dec 8, 2003, 04:17 PM
 
1 GHz Combo Drive here... worked perfectly so far. Good battery life (3.5-4 hrs) and no problems.
12" PB 1 GHz Combo, 60GB, 512MB, AE
40GB iPod
     
effgee
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Dec 8, 2003, 05:12 PM
 
I've had my 12" rev. B Powerbook (768MB RAM, AE) for exactly a month now and I couldn't be happier - for me, it's the perfect travel companion/second machine/couch surfing device. I also have a 2 year old 15" Ti book (which has now magically become "my wife's Powerbook"), so I (like many others here) have worked with both sizes.

As a rule of thumb I'd recommend the following:
  • If you do graphics/video or similarly CPU/GPU intensive work and this is your only computer, get either a 15" or a 17" Powerbook instead.
  • If you do graphics/video or similarly CPU/GPU intensive work and this is your second/on-the-road computer, get it! (<- that was my situation)
  • For anything else like browsing the web, e-mail, writing letters etc., the 12" 'book is perfect as long as you have an external monitor or your expectations regarding screen estate are rather modest. The 1024 x 768 resolution can be sufficient - but it does get cramped quickly.
Yes, there is Expose and all the other gadgets that aid in maximizing screen estate - but they all require some form of additional interaction (clicking, pressing a key etc.), thus reducing your productivity. Hitting the F9 key once isn't a big deal, having to use it constantly during the course of an entire work day is a whole different story.

Every now and then I find myself wishing for the ATI 9600 GPU used in the 15" and the 17" Powerbooks, but I'm always quick to remember never being 100% happy with the 15" while on the road.

All in all (and for me personally), the 12" Powerbook is the perfect compromise between portability and power. And let's not forget - buying a laptop computer always involves dying at least one death.

I'm sure that you'll be perfectly happy with your purchase.

HTH + cheers,

eff
     
hardcat1970
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Dec 8, 2003, 05:42 PM
 
Okay, let me recap my posting on this forum, i have this speaker noise poping up once in a while, i brought my computer to my local apple service center and they couldn't fix it because I couldn't reproduce the noise problem on the spot. And it hasn't happen in 2 weeks now...I don't know if the noise will reappear, but i bought apple care to prepare just in case.

Also, the fan is very loud when I run cpu extensive application. And it will turn on when i just use safari to surf the internet (don't know if this is a problem because i don't have a rev A to compare)

Other than that, my 12" runs fine.
     
uv23
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Dec 8, 2003, 05:42 PM
 
I'm a recent switcher and love the PB except for a few issues. In general, it seems that Apple's manufacturing tolerances aren't the best. But nor are they terrible. My 12" has a very slight bit of case warping. It sits perfectly flat but there is about a 2mm gap on the left side between the rubber nub on the lid and the baseof the notebook, resulting in a tiny bit of play when the lid is closed. It bugs me because I'm anal but it's not that big a deal. Also, the screen on my 12" seems to ripple quite a bit when it's jostled at all. I tested this earlier today on a demo at the store I bought mine at and it does the same thing. There's also a strange noise that comes from my fan every once in a while but it hasn't happened often enough to concern me yet. So, a few issues yes. Would I have still bought the PB knowing this in advance? Yes. I love it. I just wish Apple was a bit better with the quality control.
     
madmacgames
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Dec 8, 2003, 05:50 PM
 
Originally posted by chrikenn:
Someone said, "take care of it and it will be good to you." Well, my last laptop's hard drive died too, so I've treated this one amazingly well.
That would have been me; meaning that it will last you much longer under good care than bad care. In the long run, I have no doubt that if you continue to treat your book "amazingly well" you will have substantially less problems that those who "toss it around."

I also said "technology is not perfect;don't expect it to be"... This is especially true with hard drives.
     
poisonmonkey
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Dec 8, 2003, 06:57 PM
 
I got the combo:

works like it should. Some minor problems:

Warping, small popping noise on start up/ reboot, doesn't always wake from sleep...


But neh... thats life.
12"AlPB/RevB/Combo/256/40/AE/20GB iPod
     
NYGEO18
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Dec 8, 2003, 07:59 PM
 
I have owned my rev a 12" powerbook for 3 months. It is a totally impressive machine. It has stood up and smacked down every challenge I give it and looks beautiful doing it. Panther (OS X) is just amazing. Use it for a day and you cant go back to windows. I have had no problems whatsoever. I take care of my machine on the HIGHEST level and its going to take care of me.
     
hamiltondj
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Dec 8, 2003, 08:00 PM
 
I had a rev a pb and had a case problem early on (the latch popped and pulled the top case out of line. Apple replaced it, no questions asked, with a brand new rev a.

I just sold the rev a and got a rev b (i wanted to add the ability to connect apple 20 inch monitor). No major problems. It does wobble sometimes when it gets cold from being outside. Other than that, nada.

Just an awsome machine.

The thing I have noticed that (and I mean no offense to my fellow zellots) folks who post here tend to be perfectionist and notice the smallest little flaws.

That's not to say that there are not a few bad machines every now and then, but that's what the warranty and apple care are for. In my experience apple has been very responsive.
     
Baldrick
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Dec 8, 2003, 08:23 PM
 
revB Combo here..

>1st one had very bad warping on the case, so got it swapped.
>2nd one just total died on me one day. Just had no power at all.
>3rd one, this one. Has been going fine for a few days now. No major problems at all, just 1 dead pixel and a humming noise from external speakers when connected to external monitor.

Fantastic machine

But don't let my bad experience put you off The apple warranty is excellent and they have always been very helpful in my experience.
12" PB revB
     
hldan
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Dec 8, 2003, 08:54 PM
 
Apple has addressed several of the quirks that were bad on Rev A 12" and made it all better on Rev B 12" Powerbook. Keep in mind that Apple distributes thousands of Macs everyday so the small amount of issues that you read in these forums doesn't mean much. For every one complaint that you read there's at least 10 more success stories that never get posted.
No company could survive if they continued to make crappy products. Sometimes it's not a good idea to be the first on your block with the new toy, it's always a better idea to not be the guinea pig but somebody has to be.

Also to the poster that mentioned Expose, it's a fantastic feature and a priceless tool but you do not need to push different buttons to activate it every time. Just use "hot corners" for activation and each time you slide the mouse to the corner of the screen Expose will show all open windows at full view. Hope this helps.
iMac 24" 2.8 Ghz Core 2 Extreme
500GB HDD
4GB Ram
Proud new Owner!
     
phantomo
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Dec 8, 2003, 09:30 PM
 
Mine is perfect. No problem what so ever except... one complain from the wife that I carry it with me ALL the time.
15"MBP/C2D2.4GHz/4GB RAM/320GB HD
15"MBP/C2D2.16GHz/3GB RAM/250GB HD
12"PB/1GHz/768MB/60GB/SuperDrive/AE
iPhone 8GB/iPod video 30GB
     
segfault66
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Dec 8, 2003, 09:41 PM
 
After initially playing with one in the store, I had the conclusion that it was just an aluminum-clad iBook. Well, whatever the case may be, my Rev. B with SuperDrive is the best PowerBook I have every owned. It is speedy, the screen is pretty sharp (not great, but good). The construction is solid and the keyboard is fantastic. Even around the house, I've been using it much more than my G4/933 tower and 20" Cinema. It is extremely sleek and portable.
     
fraeone
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Dec 8, 2003, 11:07 PM
 
I figured I better throw in my two cents here too. I'm a recent purchaser of the 12" Rev B, it's my first Mac, and I'm absolutely in love with it. The keyboard is fantastic, I think far too many reviews ignore the excellence that is the PB keyboard (especially compared with the squishy ibook ones.) I'm also very happy with the battery life, I used it straight through a four hour class and came home and it lasted another 30-45 minutes. Wow. Of course that was with low screen light settings and max battery settings, but hey, almost 5 hours is great. The only problem I had with mine was a very minor wobble. The answer was to use some cpu intensive applications for a while so the thing was a little warm, then I put it over my knee and i applied some very slight but firm pressure on the two sides that rocked. This sounds worse than it really is, but it was the answer to the wobble.

I can't recommend the 12" PB enough, the 15" and the 17" are both beautiful, but are better suited to staying on your desktop, this baby rolls with me in it's nice padded Crumpler 'McBain's Lovechild' bag.

good luck with your purchase.
     
registar
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Dec 8, 2003, 11:45 PM
 
I ended up making this longer than I intended, but when someone is thinking about spending that much money on a computer, I want to help as much as I can. Like the person who started this topic, I'm new to Macs, so I can relate.

I've had my 1 GHz rev-B 12" powerbook now for one month and I love it. I got the superdrive with the Hitachi 80 gig hard drive build to order option. I opted to stay with the stock 256 MB memory (for now). I ordered it from an authorized retailer here in Canada. He told it would take two weeks to arrive. Two weeks later it arrived - to the day! It came with Panther installed.

I was prepared to live with a few dead or stuck pixels, but there's not one. The screen's image is not consistent if you look at it from a close distance. For instance, if you angle the screen so that it's perfect on top, it'll be bright and faded a bit on the bottom. If you angle it so that it looks perfect of the bottom, it seems too dark on top. But if I use it from a comfortable distance for typing, then it ceases to be a problem. I only notice it when I fill the screen with solid colors anyway (orange or brown are two colors where you can see this effect most dramatically). All of the laptops that I looked at when I was at stores had the same problem (they probably all get their screens from the same manufacturers). The 15 and 17-inch laptops seemed to have much better viewing angles. I figure that if I'm ever going to do something so critical that I need a perfect screen, I'll just buy a big external one. I suspect there's going to be some new models as well as price drops on displays at the next MacWorld conference. What else would there be for Jobs to announce?

My PowerBook gets noticeably warm after being used all day - but since I live in Canada, in winter, itís not a problem. Before I bought it, when I was looking at it at the store, I thought it was made of plastic painted to look like aluminum, it kinda has that look - but no, it's actual metal. It only makes sense that a metal body would heat up more than laptops made of plastic. I never find it uncomfortably warm, though. It gets just slightly warm on the top, left of the track pad; like when you feel a seat that someone's been sitting in. The bottom gets warmer but not uncomfortably so. Even when I've run the CPU to the max for an hour or so, I'll feel the bottom and it's not that hot. I can put my hand on it indefinitely and it's not uncomfortably hot. I wonder if the people who complain about it getting hot were using it on their bed with their powerbook sitting directly on the blanket.

This is my first Apple computer and I've had to get used get used to all the little differences from Windows computers. A month later I have to say that I'm pretty used to it. By the way, a nice thing about this laptop is not having an insert key to accidentally hit. I do that all the time when I'm at work (where I use a win-tel desktop); I'll miss delete and instead unknowingly hit insert, then end up typing over what I already wrote - it drives me nuts. Now, if only there was a way to shut off the caps lock key. The delete key works in reverse like the backspace on a win-tel. This is fine; it's not that often that I need to forward delete. By the way, I just love the feel of the keys; no other keyboard feels this nice to me.

I love the way it looks - this is what initially attracted me to it. A lot of people say you shouldn't care what your computer looks like, but, I think that comes from the same people who don't care what their car looks like, what their clothes look like, or what the tape holding their glasses together looks like. If it was a laptop for professional use only I could understand it, but for me looks are important.

A lot of people on this forum have complained about the hinges on PowerBooks, but the hinge is wonderful - very solid. The screen stays at whatever position I put it at - impossible to slam shut on it's own. The latch has always worked perfectly.

Panther is everything I hoped it would be and more, much more.
The only program that I had to do a force quit on was Internet Explorer. I greatly prefer Safari, anyway. For me, no longer having to deal with any more pop up windows is enough reason to justify the purchase of a Mac; as is, not having to deal with all the viruses and worms. Technically, an Apple user could still get one, if someone wrote a virus especially for OSX, but this has never happened - meanwhile, every win-tel user that I know has had to deal with a virus of some sort at some time.

It's impossible to know if I would've liked the Panasonic, or Toshiba or Sony laptops that I considered as much as I like this one. The only way I'd know for sure would be if I owned them. One thing that a lot of people don't think about when they switch from one product to another is the advancement of technology. They go, "Oh, this Mac is so much better than the Win-tel computer I used to have", or vice-versa. I feel that my PowerBook is much better than anything else I have ever used; but I can't compare a circa 2003 computer to, say, a circa 1999 computer. The computer I use at work runs Windows 2000. I've never really used XP - just poked around on it at stores. Taking this into consideration, I'm just blown away by how straightforward everything on OSX is. There may be bugs in Panther, I haven't come across any yet, but everything is so well thought out - it makes it an absolute pleasure to use.

One more thing: the fan. When it's on, I can barely hear it. I don't live in the quietest place, but I can't imagine a fan being quieter. The DVD drive makes a lot of noise, though. I wonder if some mistake the DVD drive for a fan. If you have a CD or DVD sitting in there, its going to start spinning at certain times even if you're not using it. For instance if you open a new finder window its going to start up to check what's on it. Also, if someone is using their laptop on certain desks, it's going to resonate and make it sound louder, sort of the way an acoustic guitar makes a string sound louder. I actually use it on my lap most of the time, which would be quiter.

To sum up, this PowerBook is one of very few purchases that I've made in my life that, a month later, I'm still ecstatic about.
     
fruntbut  (op)
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Dec 9, 2003, 09:26 PM
 
"I love the way it looks - this is what initially attracted me to it. A lot of people say you shouldn't care what your computer looks like, but, I think that comes from the same people who don't care what their car looks like, what their clothes look like, or what the tape holding their glasses together looks like. If it was a laptop for professional use only I could understand it, but for me looks are important."

i have to agree here (though i've had tape on my glasses a time or two). i just find that if own a pretty thing, i'm more likely to want to use it more and therefore it's a better deal in the long run. like with my ipod - i've had it for months now and i still enjoy just having it in my hand.

so i guess that's it, i'm sold. as soon as i get my student loan (about 23 days and counting) i'm placing an order for:
12" rev/b pbook
80gb hdd
ae card

i'm gonna wait on apple care, i think. and i'll get memory from crucial. and maybe make my own bag.

while i'm at it, let me tell you about an idea i just had.

first thing next semester, i'm gonna buy my books, scan and save every page on my home scanner, convert to pdf... and return the books for a full refund. as long a i can do it in <5 days.

so, not only would i save about $400, i would only be carrying around my little computer all the time. no more heavy books! i'll have an alluminum semester!

it's a crazy idea, but i've tried it out a little and it seems like it will work - it will just be a lot of work. and i'm wondering how realistic i'm being, thinking i can read all of that on a 12" screen.

but anyway, this is getting long, so...
     
mousehouse
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Dec 10, 2003, 05:45 AM
 
there are some sites on the net where you can purchase PDF's of popular study titles. if you're okay with reading evenryting on the screen you could do that. keep in mind though that the 12" screen is a teeny-weeny bit small for that IMHO...
MacBook Pro 13"/2.66 (09/2010), Mac Mini c2d/1.83 (01/2008)
     
Skypat
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Dec 10, 2003, 07:44 AM
 
I received my 12" Powerbook 1 week ago and I like it very much. 12"/80 HD/AE ... I still have 256 MB of RAM and I find it very fast. No problem at all (woble, warping, ...). What someone said about the screen is true however : you need to find the good angle to look at the screen and it is a little brighter at the bottom left of the screen (hardly noticable, no one saw it except me ).

I highly recommend it. Gorgeous design, ultra mobile, ultra fast and so cool
S k y p a t
     
desillusion.com
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Dec 10, 2003, 08:29 AM
 
i ordered mine just days after the paris keynote and received it on 10/22.

i have been a mac user since i started to read and write (those good old SE/30-days *g) and thus have used a lot of different macs over the years..

this machine is by far the best! it's the perfect combination of portability and power, and it works perfectly (awesome battery life, no dead pixels, no white spots, no heat issues)..

if you're on the hunt for a small & lightweight but still powerfull laptop, the 12" pb is the way to go..

(btw: i just sold a windows laptop i had left but since i got my pb have never used again.. i just love my mac!)

ah and no, i am not affiliated with the apple corporation in any way, just in case you might've got the impression =)
finally here and absolutely flawless:
powerbook 12" 1ghz rev b combo 768 mb ram bt-mouse
     
PoisonTooth
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Dec 10, 2003, 09:30 AM
 
My 12" rev B PB (1 GHz, 80 GB HD, SuperDrive, AE) is perfect. No issues whatsoever. I sold a top-of-the-line T40 to get it, and I have zero regrets.

For heavy lifting, I have a dual G5 in my home office, so I'm officially all-Mac for the first time in over 10 years.
     
LeeG
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Dec 10, 2003, 12:30 PM
 
Got my 12" rev b in the middle of oct, 1Ghz, combo, 80Gb, AE, and I put an extra 512Mb of ram in - I LOVE THIS MACHINE. I have had no probs.

The flip side, I was just given a dell latitude at work, and the refinement of the powerbook SHINES when next to that clunker.


Lee
iPhone 3G 16Gb
24" 2.8Ghz Core 2 Duo iMac, 4GB/320GB/256MB
12" AlBook 1Ghz/768Mb/80Gb/Combo/AX
     
aribus
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Dec 11, 2003, 07:23 AM
 
Just received mine today. Quiet, fast (768MB), very happy with it except for a stuck pixel. Anyone know how to "un-stick" it? I've tried rubbing it with a q-tip as well as a soft screen cleaning cloth with no results. Any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
in the flesh?
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Dec 11, 2003, 11:49 PM
 
my rev b has been flawless. i even knocked it off my coffee table on to a hardwood floor bending it a bit. nothing wrong with the consruction of mine so far though. aiport, combo drive, screen all working flawlessly. i use it daily at school and home.
     
iMOTOR
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Dec 14, 2003, 01:12 AM
 
I've had mine since late september and I do beat the crap out of it, on my way to the airport the other day I set the pb on top of my luggage in the trunk and then accidentally forgot to put it in a safe place. I didn't realize it was back there until I slammed the brakes at a light, then I heard it crash against the front of the trunk. I checked it at the airport and it started right up. It is also (in my experience) very scratch resistant, after a few months of banging it around it has no scratches anywhere. People have also been complaining about the airport reception on the 12in revb, My neighbors network is showing up on my pb and the edge of their house is at least 350ft away.

Go buy the 12in.
     
pwolfe1
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Dec 16, 2003, 12:11 PM
 
I am happier with this this rev B powerbook than I have been withany other computer I have ever owned.
     
KidKit
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Dec 18, 2003, 03:56 AM
 
Totally understand your concerns fruntbut, I held out for the longest time, dawdled for ~1 yr while I sat on my proverbial ass and thought about switching from my old "trusty" (as far as wintel goes) Compaq Armada.

I've not had any issues with my less-than-2-months old 12" Rev B PB... the only bugbears that pop up now and again is that Panther networking can cranky, even when connecting to an Appletalk network. And there's the occasional website that doesn't render well on mac. Other than that, I'm a happy camper.

An aside, am I a switcher or a prodigal? I owned an Apple II-E then a II-GS (old timers would know), switched to x86s, then the Pentiums, and now the G4
     
bkb
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Dec 19, 2003, 12:09 PM
 
Originally posted by registar:
The delete key works in reverse like the backspace on a win-tel. This is fine; it's not that often that I need to forward delete.
And if you ever need to forward delete. Function (fn)+Delete is hardly a stretch, right?

     
bkb
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Dec 19, 2003, 12:14 PM
 
Originally posted by fruntbut:
"heat problem" or "bad wifi reception" or "<2hrs battery life" sends me into doubt.
Have been using my 1Ghz/SD for over two months now. I haven't experienced any of these problems. Easily over 3 hours battery life (with a mid-range brightness setting on the LCD). Airport extreme is excellent, no problems there. Heat problem solved. It is time to put those worries aside and hit the BUY button! This is one laptop you won't regret having.
     
   
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