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Apple 12-inch PowerBook G4 Review 55

Dave_B writes "Tony Smith of El Reg gives his verdict after a month with Apple's 12-inch Powerbook." His overall impression was good, but there are some words of caution in here regarding battery life and heat, so read before buying one ;)
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Apple 12-inch PowerBook G4 Review

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  • by hype7 ( 239530 ) <{ua.ude.una} {ta} {0115923u}> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @12:49PM (#5638398) Journal
    was the reg's comments on the software, which I found from personal experience to be particularly pertinent.

    First off; bluetooth needs to be simplified. The current method of doing it is confusing and unclear.

    Next; same goes for the airport software and splitting up between authentication and encryption. The way apple uses the "internet connect" application in tandem with the network system pref is something that should be addressed.

    The battery conditioning issue; Apple doesn't really provide users with any clear and obvious documentation on it.

    Finally; CDRWs needs the Disk Utility app. What a joke! It should all be able to be done from within the Finder.

    Hopefully these will get addressed in Panther...

    -- james
  • Buying one.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by seann ( 307009 ) <notaku@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @12:57PM (#5638468) Homepage Journal
    I've set a date of May 28th to buy a 12" Powerbook. I wouldn't mind at all a 17" version, and I'd get the 15" version if it used DDR ram. Anyone justify getting the 15" version spite of the lack of DDR/Airport Extreme? Airport Extreme is kewl, but I probably won't use the G side of it outside of work, and I probably won't even use it then.
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @01:07PM (#5638532) Homepage
    I recently switched to one of these puppies, and their review is pretty much spot-on. It's one sweet machine. I take some issue with their characterization of the memory expansion limit, yes, it's only one slot, but as they note, it'll hold up to 4GB of RAM once the chips come out. That ain't bad for a laptop, and it makes it hard for me to hold the solitary expansion slot against Apple. It is, after all, a hella-small laptop we're talking about, here.

    Second,while the machine does get "hot", I've gotta say, from a switcher's perspective, it isn't really -hot- hot. It's a pleasant wrist-warming feature compared to some of the scalders I've worked with on the PC side. On the downside, I can no longer locate my laptop by following the drone of the cooling fans.

  • Battery (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lml ( 639341 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @02:23PM (#5639185)
    He says that calibrating the battery a second time results in a shorter battery life. Well, Apple modified a Knowledge Base document some days ago saying that the battery should be recalibrated every couple of months. It's called "PowerBook G4 and iBook: How to Calibrate a New Battery for Best Performance", search for it at support.apple.com.

    I can say that the battery is pretty weird, mine went from 3 hours and something in the first weeks to 2h30 now, and yes, I have the same Energy Saver Settings. Only thing that changed is that I now have 640MB RAM, which should only improve it...
    It's pretty lame, I certainly felt bad when I saw a friend's Pentium 4 1.8GHZ laptop still showing 2 hours left of battery at 70%.

  • by Schart ( 587279 ) <psiphi@NoSPaM.mac.com> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @02:48PM (#5639405)
    Bah, indeed you are correct. I guess I'm having hold-over memories from OS 9.

    I hereby admit to being 100% wrong.

  • Re:Buying one.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <davep @ z edkep.com> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @05:35PM (#5640608)
    Think really hard about buying an iBook instead. I had the order in for a 12" PowerBook and changed it to be an iBook. Pretty glad I did.


    * Faster, ish [barefeats.com]
    * Possibly a better screen, the iBook one is less than spectacular. Look at them side by side.
    * iBook keys scratch the screen in transit. This is fucking annoying. Look to see if the PB does it.
    * Combo drives, super drives blah de blah de blah doesn't bother me. I have a desktop machine for CD burning and a playstation to play DVD's.
    * The mobility radeon in the iBook is quite possibly the better chip, but the PB can screen span. The iBook can screen span too but you need to hack the bios :(
    * Price. Oh yes. Go work out how many gameboy SP's you can buy with the money you save from getting an iBook.

  • Caveat emptor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by azav ( 469988 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @08:10PM (#5641569) Homepage Journal
    It's not all roses.

    Now I am a rather big mac fan. My roomie saw my 1G Ti and had to get a 12 inch. Here's what happened.

    - iSync did not work with his ericsson/sony phone. All meetings were 7 hours off from iCal settings. This rendered it useless.
    - The Ericsson/sony phone could not connect the 12 inch to the internet over bluetooth and was a major time sucker to try and get it to work. In the end we gave up. Time is money.
    - Plugged into our network, the 12 inch couldn't see through our firewall to any outside urls or tci/ip addresses including those at my house. My 15 inch worked fine. LOTS of time on the phone to tech support. No resolution. Airport support was not an option but I even did buy an airport extreme to help him out but he was already soured.

    Too many issues to deal with. It was sent back to Apple and we were sad.

    Stuff's got to work out of the box and work well. We were all rather disappointed. I remain the sole mac user at my company.


Happiness is twin floppies.