12-inch PowerBook First Impressions

Apple PowerBook 12 inch After using a 17-inch PowerBook as my primary (only) computer, for both work and play, I have now switched to a 12-inch one. An opportunity to switch presented itself, but I had some doubts about whether such a small machine would work as my only computer. The doubts primarily concerned the screen size and overall system speed. But I wanted a more mobile laptop, and after reading some reviews and working for two days in 1024×768, I felt pretty confident it would work, so I seized the opportunity. I plan to post an entry on my experience of switching down in a couple of weeks, but here are some first impressions.

Regarding the screen. I don’t know if this is a personality trait, but I have found that I actually prefer to have fewer visible windows. As I went from 14.1 inch screen (“Wallstreet” PowerBook) to 15.2 inch (first generation PowerBook G4), I felt that the extra screen real estate was very valuable – not to mention the move from 15.2 to 17 inch. But I begin to have doubts about this. Anyway it’s too early to tell.

What I can tell is that my fears of the 12-inch screen being more sensitive to the viewing angle were unfounded. The first version of the 12-inch PowerBook had this problem. But although the screen of this one (Rev. C) is slightly more sensitive to viewing angle than the 17-inch screen, it’s not something that you notice unless you compare them side to side, or something that bothers you.

One thing I became aware of when using the 12-inch was that I rest my hands on the speakers of the 17-inch, so at first I found it hard to type. But after a while I became comfortable with the new position of the hands. Also, it’s very comfortable to “grab” the right side of the PowerBook while navigating Pulp Fiction with my thumb (backspace = delete, return = bring up entries in the web browser).

While reading reviews of the 12-inch, I saw complaints about heat. Perhaps this was an issue prior to Rev. C, but I find that it gets less hot than the 17-inch (which was the first, 1 GHz model). The fan starts slightly more often, but not annoyingly often.

As for speed, I can’t really tell yet as the extra 1 GB of memory hasn’t shipped yet. This one is 1.33 GHz and the lower resolution makes screen updates less expensive performance wise, but it lacks the 1 MB level 3 cache. Anyway, unless it begins to swap (256 MB is way too little) it certainly feels faster. I ripped seven CDs on it yesterday, and that felt much quicker.

Another thing I like is the midrange speaker under the keyboard. While the bass isn’t exactly booming, the sound is deeper than on the 17-inch, and I quite enjoy listening to music without headphones on the 12-inch.

So far, after having used it for three days, I’m very satisfied with the switch. I’ll get back on this in late August when I have used it for work as well.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on July 2, 2004. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.

Posted around the same time:

The seven most recent posts:

  1. Tesugen Replaced (October 7)
  2. My Year of MacBook Troubles (May 16)
  3. Tesugen Turns Five (March 21)
  4. Gustaf Nordenskiöld om keramik kontra kläddesign (December 10, 2006)
  5. Se till att ha två buffertar för oförutsedda utgifter (October 30, 2006)
  6. Bra tips för den som vill börja fondspara (October 7, 2006)
  7. Light-Hearted Parenting Tips (September 16, 2006)