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The Professor

Getting Used to my 15" PowerBook

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I received my 15" PowerBook yesterday. It's the newer model with the 1440 by 960 display.

 

As I was going through the initial setup process I rebooted my existing Power Mac into target disk mode and copied over settings and applications. That seemed to go along very well up until the end of the process. When I was prompted to shut down the Power Mac I first disconnected the firewire cable. The PowerBook complained. When I rebooted the Power Mac it came up and had a kernel panic. On the second boot it was OK.

 

Back to the new toy. The build quality is consistent with the perfect build quality of all of the other Apple products I've seen - perfect is certainly good enough.

 

The case does not get nearly as warm as the POS Averatec notebook that this PowerBook replaces. I've heard people grumble about PowerBooks getting too hot, they should try giving themselves a burn mark with a notebook that has an AMD processor. I'd say that the aluminum bottom of the PB does get noticably warm, but it is very far from uncomfortable.

 

I did have a problem with my optional 120GB hard drive, Disk Utility was saying that it had an error and it would abort checking it when I ran Verify Disk.

 

I decided to backup the notebook to a firewire drive, boot from the external drive, then try to repair the hard drive while it was not the boot drive. About an hour later I found out that the external drive I was using is apparently not bootable.

 

I ended up booting from my 10.4.2 Install media, and was able to fix the internal drive. Disk Utility said that it had a "minor problem with the volume". I did not note any other hardware problems.

 

I had a very difficult time getting the internal Airport card to accept the 128bit hexadecimal WEP key for our 802.11G network, but after repeating the same steps ad nauseum it finally accepted the key. Initially it was accepting a portion of the key, like the first four hex pairs, then it would turn off the OK button as if I was inputting too many characters. It was exceptionally strange.

 

The size of the display, and the size of the characters in dialogs and web pages is exactly perfect for my tastes. I had been wondering if I'd have trouble reading the display from a few feet away, but it's great.

 

The one thing that does disappoint me slightly is a perceived lack of vividness in the display. I have manually calibrated it in expert mode a few times, and just now after hours of working with it I finally see colors in my photographs as I expect to see them. I wish that there was a way that I could directly control the color saturation.

 

Last night I was using the PB on the couch with the TV on and the room dark. The backlit keyboard is almost too cool for words, and the way that the display dims according to ambient light is a good idea too.

 

After about 2 hours of web surfing I had just a tiny bit less than half of my battery power left. It looks like I'll get nearly 4 hours per charge. That is well above the average for most notebooks and highly satisfactory.

 

I very much like how easily it goes to sleep, and then wakes up later without crashing like, well, you know, a certain OS might.

 

Comparing this notebook to my last surviving Windows notebook, a high-end Sony VAIO with a Centrino kit, gig of RAM (like the PowerBook) and Sony's Xbrite LCD - the only way the Sony exceeds this PowerBook is that the Sony display really pops, the colors are more vivid and saturated. The PowerBook is quieter, possibly runs cooler, and most importantly the PowerBook comes with the best operating system available anywhere at any price.

 

During the time I've been using the PowerBook so far, I have not been interrupted once yet by any warnings that my virus definmitions are out of date, any super emergency hyper-critical updates, any whining about whether or not a particular defensive strategy seems to be enabled, or any requests from my firewall to let application XYZ phone home with a batch of spy data.

 

I am so going to enjoy powering up a notebook and not having to play the critical update dance for 25 minutes before I can start to use it.

 

So far I'd give this PowerBook an 89 on a scale of 100. If the display were more vivid, that would be higher.

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I love the colors on my 15' Powerbook. Have you calibrated it? Apple Preferences-->Displays--Color (tab). Might possibly help you out a bit? - Josh

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I love the colors on my 15' Powerbook. Have you calibrated it?

 

Thanks Josh, yes I have calibrated it at least 4 times. On the last pass through I did finally get some settings that let me see the colors I expected to see in my digital photos.

 

I'm very fussy about color rendition, and it is more difficult to get correct colors out of an LCD display than it was back in the days of CRTs. It's pretty good now.

 

The Sony that i was accustomed to had one of those glossy surfaced displays. They do produce a higher contrast range, but at the expense of reflections.

 

I'm sure I'll prefer the PowerBook in another week or so.

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I'm sure I'll prefer the PowerBook in another week or so.

 

I'm willing to put money on it. :)

 

- Josh

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first off, I don't have any experience in intel/AMD laptops after 2000 (that's when I switched), but it is very interesting and amusing to hear people saying that an AlBook is cooler than PC laptops (esp considering how much bad press the AlBook series has had with regards to heat)

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I have had experience; Windows based notebooks are awful still; overheating and crashing (hardware failure), lack of functionality (hardware)... Powerbooks rule the roost no question and I know plenty of PC only users that would stand up and shout that one.

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You have to remember you're comparing it to an older PC Laptop. Also, the windows laptop will slaughter any powerbook performance wise. It's also not fair to compare a low end Compaq to your high end 15" PowerBook....

 

I love my iBook! but I wouldn't say it's a whole lots better than my buddy's Toshiba. sure I hae OS X and it's better, but the actual hardwarer is basically the same. In quality and fit and finish.

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