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Best portable ?

Bert Bates
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
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I've been hoping that Apple would release a VAIO-sized notebook in January, but now I'm not so confident. So I'm wondering about the 13" MacBooks (white vs, black) and the older 12" Powerbook. Here are the pros and cons that I see:

12" Powerbook:

Refurbished, not new. Fewer pixels. Runs Adobe stuff native. Half a pound lighter.

13" Macbook - white

Cheaper than the black. More boring than the black Is it a rugged as the black?

13" Macbook - black

More $, a little faster (but not much), cooler , maybe more rugged?

Any thoughts? Does anyone know about actual ruggedness?


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marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Hmmm... I don't know.

But if you can get a refurbished 12" PowerBook at a reasonable price, then it might prove to be the most economical "bridge" until that VAIO-sized notebook arrives.


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61662
    
  67

Originally posted by Bert Bates:
More boring than the black


My 2 cents, but I still think the white is more distinctive and much less boring. Everyone makes dark laptops (maybe not glistening black, but dark), so I don't find the black very compelling.

Of course that's all a matter of personal asthetics... all of the machines you listed are fine systems.


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Bert Bates
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
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oops, i forgot a few questions:

has anyone heard which of these has the best battery life?

also, has anyone heard that the black one is more rugged than the white one? the black one's case has a "grippier" feel.

it's surprising how well the powerbooks have held their value in the face of the macbooks - i might save a little bit on the powerbook, but the white macbook is pretty darned affordable.

and one more thing...has anybody heard any rumors about a smaller notebook? there was some buzz going around about a "tablet" that was going to be in that VAIO size, but that buzz seems to have quieted down.
marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Bert Bates:
...has anyone heard which of these has the best battery life? ...

Here's an interesting site for comparing Apple specs, old and new...

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/

This site shows the last 12" PowerBook (1.5 GHz G4) as having a 5 hour battery life, and the new MacBook having between 2.5 and 6 hours. So you might get a bit more from the MacBook, but I don't think there's a huge difference between these models.

In "real life," my 12" PowerBook (1.5 GHz G4) seems to get about 3.5 to 4 hours. It's a great little machine!

I don't know anything about which finish holds up better, and I haven't read anything about a VAIO-size Mac.
Bert Bates
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
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Thanks Marc,

Actually it isn't a "finish" question I have - I don't really care if the finish gets marred - what I really care about is that the darned thing will hold up well to travel

The other thing I forgot to mention is the quality / strength of the wireless connection. I've heard that my old Powerbook (titanium) is the worst in that regard because the airport card is sitting inside a little Faraday cage :roll:

Apparently, the aluminum Powerbooks are better at wireless than the titanium ones, but by the same reasoning I'm wondering whether the plastic MacBooks might be significantly better than the aluminum?

Anyone heard anything about this?

Thanks
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
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  67

Originally posted by Bert Bates:

Anyone heard anything about this?


'tis true about the old Titaniums. I get much better wireless reception with my iBook than my roommate does with his TiBook.

I'd imagine the same would be true about systems constructed with similar materials.
marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Bert Bates:
...Actually it isn't a "finish" question I have - I don't really care if the finish gets marred - what I really care about is that the darned thing will hold up well to travel...

Oh, I see -- like preventing actual cracks in the case. My old IBM notebook was a disaster in that respect. This would be a good question for an associate at an Apple store (if you want to see their face go blank).
Pauline McNamara
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Joined: Jan 19, 2001
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    6
Veering slightly from the original topic...

A new laptop is high on my list (though my waaaay old PB G4 tibook is still ticking). I've hesitated to get a new MB Pro because of the stories about heating/fan issues (I have those already, no need to invest in new ones ). So I keep waiting patiently for rumors about new batch of MacBooks to come true. That is, assuming they'll be running a little cooler without turning up the fan.

Speaking of, anyone using these fan helper apps?
[ October 22, 2006: Message edited by: Pauline McNamara ]
Stu Thompson
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Joined: Jun 14, 2006
Posts: 136
My brand spanking new white 13" 1.86GHz Core Duo 1GB 120MB arrive about two weeks ago in the post direct from China. It is my first Mac in 12 years...glad I have come back home.

I seem to get 4 hours of battery life easy.

It seems durable enough...except the power cord. Specifically the part from the transformer to the MB. The magnetic connection is cool and arguable prevents notebook damage if someone jerks the cord, but the cord itself is very thin and soft and was severed in a fold up train table last week. Expensive! CHF120, USD80!!! That is about 8% of the base price!

My biggest complaint is the keyboard...it is not programmer friendly. Many important keys are not marked and required odd combinations to access...like ~, {, }, ], and [. Edit: I should note that it is a Swiss-German KB layout.

Stu

[ October 23, 2006: Message edited by: Stu Thompson ]
[ October 23, 2006: Message edited by: Stu Thompson ]

"This is not to say that design is unnecessary. But after a certain point, design is just speculation." --Philip Chu
Pauline McNamara
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Joined: Jan 19, 2001
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Edit: I should note that it is a Swiss-German KB layout.


Aha, of course. It's that Sonderfall thang.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61662
    
  67

Originally posted by Stu Thompson:
The magnetic connection is cool and arguable prevents notebook damage if someone jerks the cord


No "arguable" about it. That little featrure has saved my new MacBook Pro from being yanked off a tray table at least 5 times in the last month.

.it is not programmer friendly. Many important keys are not marked and required odd combinations to access...like ~, {, }, ], and [. Edit: I should note that it is a Swiss-German KB layout.


Yeah, not an issue on US layout keyboards. I wonder why those keys, which seem to be language-independent, were omitted.
[ October 23, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
Stu Thompson
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Joined: Jun 14, 2006
Posts: 136
Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
Yeah, not an issue on US layout keyboards. I wonder why those keys, which seem to be language-independent, were omitted.
[ October 23, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]


The EN-GB layout is my favorite, but when ordering I decieded that it would be best to stick with the local language format, DE-CH, as it has ready access to �, �, �, etc. I am kicking myself now...

How many of you can type the always useful � with a single click!
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61662
    
  67

Originally posted by Stu Thompson:

How many of you can type the always useful � with a single click!


LOL! I wouldn't even know how to type it with multiple clicks!
[ October 24, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
 
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