The 'Book Page

Feedback on Killer PowerBook

Dan Knight - 2000.02.09 - Tip Jar

I guess I'm not alone - a lot of readers have written that they, too, long for a PowerBook with a larger screen. Here's what some of them wrote:

James writes:

I just read your Wanted: A Killer PowerBook and wanted to say that the screen size is an issue. I bought a Dell 7500 with the 15" screen after seeing a friend's Dell 3500 - the off-axis performance is great, and so is the general sharpness.

I looked at PowerBooks with VirtualPC and Windows NT (I am becoming a MCSE and graduating with a BS in IT (May!)). I've been a Mac fanatic since 1984.

The reasons I didn't buy a Mac were:

  1. The negative reactions I got being a Mac fanatic in my MCSE classes (from people in the biz).
  2. The screen size, off-axis viewing quality, and brilliance of Dell vs. Apple screens
  3. The complexity of running NT in VPC on top of Mac OS as related to troubleshooting the network or clients/servers - where is the problem?
  4. Being a Mac fanatic since 1984, I had only passing knowledge of Wintel boxes and the OS - so I needed remedial training to catch up on The Borg platform. (It really is true! - people freak at me having the Task Bar at the top and aliases to all my drives on the right - " Why don't you have everything is the normal places?")
  5. Price - I got a 7500 with P-III/500, W/98SE, 192 MB RAM, 8 MB VRAM, 12 GB HD, DVD/floppy, ZIP100, 1 battery, 15" screen, 56k modem, 10/100Base-T NIC, SCSI PC card, and 3-yr. Warranty for USD 3550 with taxes and shipping. This was a refurb unit so I saved about USD 950. The nearest matching PowerBook ( new ) was USD 5400 ( with 14" screen, ext. floppy, VPC, and 10 GB HD being the differences ).

1) I could probably live with (been exposed to that for a long time!)

2) was not that big of a deal comparing Dells to Macs - other PCs are another story!

3) and 4) were the killers for me right now - I don't know enough about WinXX to separate out the problems from the hardware/software/OS, etc.

4) US$1450 is a ton of money, me being a broke student.

Of course, you get what you pay for - Windows is an ugly, counterintuitive, kludge of an OS - no surprise there! The machine DOES weigh two tons and with a printer, power bricks, cords, mouse, floppies, Zips, etc. and a GREAT Brenthaven bag ( from my super Apple dealer - Hardin Computers - Arlington, TX ) the walk in an airport ( or anywhere ) is a pain.

I keep the resolution set at 1400 x 1050 (millions of colors) because at 1600 x 1200 you have to scroll to see all the edges. But it is super fantastic to have all that sharp Desktop for windows to be open on!

And last but most certainly least, you do a great job with the mailing lists and web sites! Please keep it up - I read most of the "New On ..." references to the web sites.

Doug writes:

Yes! sign me on. I'm looking for the same machine. My PowerCenter is getting long on the tooth. I want a serious upgrade to replace it. I need something portable for travel, too. Right now the only choice is a G4, though. Yep, I can see it now. "Come on kids! Help me get this 19" monitor into the camper trailer. Jimmy and Johnny, you grab the G4 by the handles and I'll grab the extra generator." My wife's response. "Oh, yeah, won't that look great at the Grand Canyon."

I hope Apple comes out with a PowerBook with the features you described. I'll be stuck with it if it's not.

Chris writes:

Your comments about "A Killer PowerBook" are right on! As a software developer who always needs tons of windows open I'd kill for a PowerBook with a 15" (or larger) 1280 x 1024 display and AirPort and decent battery life even if it didn't have the largest hard-disk, fastest-processor, expansion bays, PCMCIA slots or DVD or even CD-ROM built in. (I would also want a system that could take 256 or 512 MB of memory though.)

Apple's laptops, while being cutting edge in most respects, have unfortunately always lagged behind state-of-the-art in display size and resolution :-(

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