The 'Book Page

The Titanium PowerBook

2001.01.10 - Dan Knight - Tip Jar

Steve Jobs' "one more thing" at the 2001 Macworld Expo pretty much blew everyone away: the PowerBook G4.

Sure, thanks to the rumor sites we expected a G4 processor, assuming Motorola could finally produce a low power version. PowerBook G4And we all expected something thinner and lighter - that's the ongoing trend in laptops.

Beyond that, we'd heard rumors of a more compact PowerBook, a wide-screen PowerBook, a PowerBook that somehow was the portable equivalent of the Cube. But for the most part, we got more than we expected with the PowerBook G4.

The first thing you'll notice: the new PowerBook isn't black. It's a silvery titanium. It's gorgeous.

Your next impression might be that it seems bigger than recent PowerBooks, especially that 15.2" 1152 x 768 screen. Where Pismo was 12.7" wide and 10.4" deep, the G4 is 13.5" wide but just 9.5" deep.

That's not the only way the G4 is smaller: it's just one inch thick, compared to a bulky 1.7" for the Pismo. The titanium PowerBook is also lighter, just 5.2 pounds compared with 6.1 pounds for the Pismo with DVD installed.

Speaking of DVD, the PowerBook G4 has a built-in DVD drive, not a removable one. That helps keep size and weight down. It also makes the PowerBook G4 the only new model that can't burn CD-R and CD-RW with an internal drive.

The screen is a full two-page display, 1152 x 768 pixels. It's not a monstrous as the 1280 x 1024 displays on a few top-end, high-priced Windows laptops, but it's also the "best" resolution for a good quality 19" color monitor. For me, the PB G4 will be an excellent replacement for my humongous SuperMac S900 (with G3/333 upgrade) and 19" monitor. I only wish there were some way to buy one today.

The PowerBook G4 has a full-sized keyboard with a speaker on each side, since there's no room for anything next to the LCD panel.

The icing on the cake: you still get a five-hour battery in this thin computer. And, of course, it runs Mac OS 9.1 and will run OS X when it ships in March.

The features, the design, the capabilities, the looks - it all adds up to a package that will make a lot of road warriors happy and may finally give owners of earlier G3 PowerBooks a reason to upgrade.

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