12″ Powerbook Review

Note: Initially published in my 2003 era blog, “Where We’re Bound”.

The 2 week review 

Perhaps my lack of confidence in my decision to get the new powerbook oozed into the experience of getting it… I’m not sure. It’s been rocky thus far though the road is getting better. 

The arrival
What fun it is to see the delivery truck park in front of the house! Of course unpacking the new machine is a fun experience. Mine was delivered during a rare Memphis cold spell…. outside temperature was 15 degrees. The powerbook was so cold so I didn’t start it up right away. Kinda funny actually, I let it gestate (warm up) by sliding it between my tshirt and jacket. Fifteen minutes later I could wait no more. 

First impressions
The 12″ Powerbook has a very solid feel to it. It’s smaller than the iBook and is made of aluminum. The result is that it’s very light yet very stiff feeling. The screen is, to my eyes, identical to the iBook 700 mhz. The speakers are a definite improvement over the iBooks, probably due to an added midrange speaker. The keyboard is also an improvement over the iBook’s. Lastly, the heat issue associated with iBooks is also present with the Powerbook. Seems to heat up on the left side palm rest wear the harddrive lives…. also, a little in the back of the computer. It doesn’t feel any hotter than the iBook. The fan kicks on occasionally but isn’t too loud. Actually, it came on more often during the first 4 days of usage and has not come on much at all since. 

Initial problems
The default configuration includes 256 MB of ram. That’s not enough. The first week was disappointing in terms of performance. When the ram came in I installed 512 MB. The powerbook would not start. The Apple Store folk thought the ram was bad and they only had one stick so I went home without it. Went back 4 days later and tried again. Two chips would not work so they tried the chips in different powerbooks at the store and they worked. So, the problem was my pb!! After an hour it was determined they would give me a computer out of store stock as a replacement which was great because I hadn’t purchased it there. The hitch: I had to return to pick up the replacement because they had to wait for a phone call and paperwork before they could release it to me. 

Clickety ccliclick 
Picked up the replacement the next day with 640 MB of ram and all was good. My only problem with this replacement is the trackpad clicker which kinda sticks. Though after a few days of use it seems to be better. 

A couple days ago I installed the airport extreme card and all is good. After two weeks we’re getting along just fine. The machine is as fast as hoped it would be though this requires maxed out ram. I would not want to use it without 640 MB.