New PowerBook initial thoughts

PowerBook Power Button

I recently replaced my three year old 800 mhz TiBook with a new PowerBook. Here’s what I got: 15″, 1.67 mhz, 1 gig of RAM, 128 mb video RAM, 100 mb 5600 rpm HD, backlit keyboard, superdrive, extra battery, Apple wireless (bluetooth) mouse, AppleCare.

The packaging was first rate (as always) and the PowerBook box now comes in an outer thin cardboard shipping box. Nice to keep high quality inner box in good shape. PowerBooks are now assembled in mainland China, not Taiwan which is interesting in many ways.

PowerBook Side View Detail

Fit and finish of this new unit is excellent and everything has a nice, tight feel. One minor complaint: the cutout that contains the keypad has sharp(ish) edges top and bottom unlike the older Titanium shell which had a nice smooth cut out for the keypad. The cooling vents bottom left and right on the bottom case also feel a bit sharp. This may be a characteristic of aluminum vs. titanium on the shell material.

OS X Transfer Screen

Setup and transfer of files from old machine was the easiest and fastest I’ve ever experienced in my 20 years as a Mac user. Don’t be fooled by the time on the transfer screen, the entire operation took no more than 40 minutes. However, I wonder why these types of over estimates persist in Apple dialogs as they might scare some folks into stopping and calling tech support. I knew from experience that the time was going to change rapidly and it did.

PowerBook with Mouse

The wireless mouse was the only new item I had to get working and it took all of 20 seconds to get it set up and working. Now I can’t imagine using any other kind. The machine is noticeably faster than my old one and the fan has not come on yet, even through long iSight, iChat AV use and about an hour of heavy GarageBand hacking. The old machine would melt under the load of GarageBand and this one runs like a champ. The new iPhoto is also snappier (and a nice upgrade IMHO).

I’ve now got both batteries conditioned (worth doing for max life) and the entire thing backed up. Oh, and so far I can’t find a single dead pixel on the screen. Yeah! I had one right in the middle of my old screen and it bugged the heck out of me.

My one complaint, and it is a significant one: the new PowerBook has 4 bars of AirPort reception in exactly the same place as the old one, which had 5. So, in my informal test, AirPort reception has gotten worse and it was not great to begin with on the TiBook. This is a bummer although I may be able to fix it with a slight move of my desk or a slight move of the base station. Still, not good.

Was it worth it to bite on this machine rather than wait for a G5 PowerBook somewhere off on the horizon: absolutely. I’d do it again, exactly the same way if I were repeating it. This is a nice machine and I’ve already scrubbed and found a nice home for the old one.

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