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  1. #1
    Cool a 12" powerbook for school?
    Hello everyone :yinyang:

    I am going to start at university in a few months and I need a laptop. I am leaning heavily towards the 12" powerbook. I just wanted to ask you guys here if anyone else who has a powerbook uses it at school for taking notes and stuff and what they think of it, especially if you have a 12". At home I will be connecting it to a bigger monitor for use, and I am mainly looking for extreme portability.



    How do you find the small screen?

    How does the battery life hold up for taking it to school, do you bring a second battery?

    Weight wise, is it pretty comfortable to put in your backpack and carry around all day with books and other stuff?

    How good is the wireless reception? The school I will be attending has wifi in some areas.

    How do you feel carrying around a $2000 computer in your bag? :biohazard

    Has anyone run Unreal Tournament (the first one, GOTY, not the new ones) on their 12"? How does it fare?

    How much RAM does yours have, and how well does it run with it? I am thinking of just getting the stock 512mb and then later upgrading it myself with aftermarket RAM to the maximum 1.25GB.

    How warm does it actually get while using it? Please only answer this if your 12" powerbook is a newer model as I know this was more of an issue with older ones.

    Are you generally pleased with your 12" powerbook?


    I am not going to buy a powerbook just yet, it won't be for atleast 2 or 3 months. I am going to wait and see what comes out in January at the macworld expo. I have heard that it could possibly be a new iBook. Though it is unlikely that Apple would put out an iBook that overpowered the current powerbooks, so it might even be a new powerbook line. Others speculate that it might even be some variety of budget laptop or just a new MacMini.

    A little about myself: I am no stranger to macs, having grown up using old skool 68k macs and the very early powermacs. :yinyang: This summer I bought a Mac Mini (1.42ghz with superdrive) and so I am not a stranger to OS X either.

  2. #2
    In a few words: Couldn't be happier.

    The long words, see the review on my site:

    2nd part is on its way soon; which will talk about the real world stuff and how it fares in the field so to speak.

    I love my PowerBook 12" and wouldn't let it go for the world!

    In answer to those questions:

    1.) I don't find it small, I find it very easy to read, 1024x768 on a 14.1" panel is too big IMHO, and for 14.1" screens I used to use a 1400x1050 display...

    2.) About just over 4hrs with Airport and Bluetooth off, abd brightness right down, otherwise ~3hrs. Do note mine is the older 12" 1.5GHz from Jan 05; so the new ones have a better battery life apparently.

    3.) It's fab weight wise, 4.6lbs - feels very light to me for the weight : power ratio. very portable,

    4.) Wireless reception has been great, about 150ft range tops; and better than many laptops with wireless.

    4a.) (oops missed it!) I feel fine carrying it around. I have a Tucano sleeve for it and it gets bumped now and then but nothing major. Thing is not to make a big deal and take wise precautions like not using it in a bad area at night in a shady area, or leaving it on show in the car etc. Otherwise it has been fine carrying it around!

    5.) I haven't. But Call of Duty runs fine in native 1024x768.

    6.) I have 768MB in mine (256 in built + 512); it has run superb and never found it slow, in fact I find it keeps up with me very well.

    7.) My Jan '05 revision (no different to the October '05 revision really) can run hot but not unbearably when working hard (like encoding a movie). I find it fine.

    8.) Pleased as punch :flower:


  3. #3
    Thanks for your reply Vicky and for answering my questions. :headphone

    I just read the review on your website, it was really good. That will be unfortunate indeed if Apple decides to drop the 12" line in the coming intel PBs. :/


  4. #4
    Just today I walked out of class to go to a different building, and I see a fellow student with a 12" Powerbook doing work, and watching QT movies. So they're out there, and for students like us.

    I had one for a while, and I liked it alot. I've since moved on to the bigger PB brother. But the 12" still gets a thumbs up from me.

  5. #5

    Member Since
    Nov 25, 2005
    I am also a student that uses a 12" PB.

    I love it! The small screen doesn't bother me at all, in fact, it was the small size (and thus portability) that convinced me to buy one.

    I can get almost four hours out of the battery life if I'm word processing only (no airport, dim screen, lower processor speed etc). Though I haven't personally made the leap to using my PB to take notes during lectures, I use it a lot in the archives (I'm a History student) where outlets are hard to come by.

    I don't have trouble with the weight. I have a few books that outweigh it by a long shot.

    I have never had an issues with wireless connection. I've found a few spots in the library where the connection strength will drop from 4 to 3 or 2 bars, but I have to yet to find a place -- that is supposed to be a hotspot -- where I can't connect.

    As for carrying around a $2000 computer ... there are a lot of people sitting around the library and cafeteria with more expensive laptops than mine.

    I can echo lil, I haven't played Unreal, but Call of Duty works fine.

    I upgraded the RAM from 256 to 768MB shortly after buying it. I can't forsee you having any issues with the stock 512MB.

    All and all, I really like my PB. Happy computing!

  6. #6
    I'm not sure why I don't bring my laptop to you feel funny about it too? When I was at community college back in 2001, I bought my 500 mhz iBook to lecture for typing notes, and I got LOTS of weird stares. Hasn't happened since. However, I'll be at a small, catholic private school in the fall, and am thinking about bringing it to lectures.

  7. #7

    Member Since
    Sep 29, 2005
    Personally, I wasn't impressed with the screen on any of the Mac lap tops until the new high rez PBs' came out. With the 12" PB being the only one without an updated screen I wouldn't make a decision without seeing the 15". The 15" isn't any less portable than the 12" and the screen is soooo juicy.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SlamMan
    Personally, I wasn't impressed with the screen on any of the Mac lap tops until the new high rez PBs' came out. With the 12" PB being the only one without an updated screen I wouldn't make a decision without seeing the 15". The 15" isn't any less portable than the 12" and the screen is soooo juicy.
    personally when I went to the store and saw the demo powerbook 15" with the 1440x960, I was very dissapointed. the lines were VERY noticeable, so I had to go with a 12" PB. at least I can buy a 20" ACD later

  9. #9

    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
    Modesto, Ca.
    iMac late 2007 10.11.b4, iMac 2008 10.10.5, Macbook2007 10.7.5, Mac Mini 10.7.5, iPhone 3GS Note 8!!
    I have a 12" iBook, wanted the Powerbook but was short on $$$. Both are great machines. the 12" Display is suprisingly clear and easy to read. Easier than even some larger PC Laptop displays I have owned. When I went to the store to get my iBook, I paid carefull attention to the screen as my eyes are not the best close up, and it's very easy for me to read. That says a lot. Powerbook is the same way but a lot more expandable and a bit faster.

    The small size and very good battery life would make either a great system for College. Very portable. I get 4+ hours battery life overall. If you are carefull you could get even more as I found one night. Close to 5 that night.

  10. #10

    Osiris22x's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 25, 2004
    Portland, OR
    15" MacBook Pro, 13" MacBook Black, 15" iMac G4, 24" iMac (soon!)
    I returned my 12" Powerbook for a 15" model for a couple reasons:

    The 12" Powerbook's hard drive is directly under your left palm, and it gets very warm/hot to the point where you can't comfortably type on it after a few minutes. This made it useless for long typing sessions (like school reports) unless I wanted to use an external keyboard.

    Second, I found the resolution to be insufficient. This however, is strictly opinion; many people are quite happy with the 1024x768 res.

    My suggestion is to go into the Apple store and type on a 12" Powerbook and see if you can stand the heat on the left side, on your wrist. The 12" iBook doesn't suffer from this problem, has a better battery life, better wifi range, is more durable, and cheaper. This of course comes at a cost of performance and features.
    Roger Michaels
    Apple Certified Consultant

  11. #11
    Thanks for your input everyone.

    Osiris22x: Thanks for the suggestion, when I go to check one out at a store I will definately see how hot the left side gets. When did you get your PB? Is it one of the newer models or from a year or more ago? I actually have a keyboard, mouse and monitor I can use at home with the powerbook so it shouldn't be a major issue for me even if it does get slightly warm, although that is unfortunate.

    I was wondering, does the Apple logo on the cover light up on the 12" model like on the others?

    How loud is the 12" powerbook? If someone also has a Mac Mini could you please tell me how loud it is in comparison?

    Also, when connecting a powerbook to another monitor, does it use the external monitor as a second monitor (i.e. you can still manipulate stuff on the PB's screen and drag windows and stuff onto the other monitor)? Or does it just use the external monitor and turn the PBs screen off?

  12. #12
    when you connect the PB to an external, if you hit F7 you can have it mirror, or you can hit it again and then have it span

  13. #13
    Wow that's awesome!

  14. #14

    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
    Modesto, Ca.
    iMac late 2007 10.11.b4, iMac 2008 10.10.5, Macbook2007 10.7.5, Mac Mini 10.7.5, iPhone 3GS Note 8!!
    My Mac Mini is very quiet. More so than even my Compaq P4 whos fans spin at very low RPM, The Mini most of the time is dead silent where I can hear the P4. I don't have a Powerbook, but my iBook 12" is as quiet or more so than the Mini. Very quiet machines compaired to anything I have ever owned or used.

  15. #15
    Thanks everyone for your replies, they have helped me make my decision. I will almost certainly be getting a 12" powerbook, all that remains is taking one for a test drive at the store.


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