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Apple Power Book G4

Reviewing: Apple 12" Power Book G4  |  Rating:
mustangsally82 By mustangsally82 on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 11 | Computers & Laptops Expertise:

I'm a Mac girl. When I was in middle school my parents deferred to me when choosing our first home computer, and I'd had the opportunity to use both PCs and Macs at school (this was 1995). I liked the Macs the best, and at the time the two systems were comparable. Nobody had email address back then, and I don't think I'd ever even heard of the internet except for references to it as a military tool. Nevertheless, I wanted a Mac, and my parents took my suggestion.

Thus began a life-long love affair with these computers. I went off to college in 2000, and I worked hard that summer after graduating high school to make enough money to buy an iMac. A few years later I bought my first laptop, an iBook. As an English major and an avid writer, I finally decided to get serious and spend a few extra hundred dollars for the higher-end laptop: a PowerBook.

In 2004 the PowerBook line was available in a 12" or a 14" size. I already had a 12" iBook laptop so it was a no-brainer for me. This was the only laptop I'd ever seen that I could pick up with one hand and not worry about dropping it. My laptop weighs in at just under five pounds, and it fits easily into a backpack or messenger bag.

I upgraded the standard model PowerBook with as much RAM as it could be expanded to. This added a few hundred dollars to the price tag, but I know I paid around ~1800 total for this computer. It's a lot of money to drop on a purchase, but after you get it home you don't think too much about it.

I have a G4 Power PC processor, which is the fastest processor that Apple used in its laptops before switching over to Intel chips in 2006. It's difficult to compare speeds between the Power PC processor and more common PC processors, and I know a few years ago Apple claimed that a 1 GHz Power PC processor was faster than the 1 GHz competitors at Intel. I'll take their word for it as I'm not very technologically savvy, but I have a 1Ghz processor and 768MB RAM.

All Macs come with built-in speakers and a built-in microphone. The new ones even come with webcams these days! Even going back to my first desktop Mac from 1995, everything was included in the box: monitor, CPU, speakers, microphone, CD-ROM, built-in modem and fax, software, and even a mousepad and mouse. Apple does a good job of thinking of everything. My screen is LCD with a resolution of 1024 x 768, and my laptop came with a combo drive, which means that the one slot-loading CD drive also plays DVDs and burns CDs. This is nothing new for Apple, either: My iMac I bought in 2000 was manufactured in 1999, and it came standard with a DVD player. This PowerBook also came with wireless software and built-in Bluetooth capabilities. I'm not quite sure what I'd use Bluetooth for except for the newer wireless peripherals, but I did add an optional wireless card (Apples' AirPort Extreme card) when I bought the computer. My only complaint is my speakers: they are located on the back side of the bottom of the laptop on either side of the hinge: I have to turn the volume up all the way just to hear some songs.

On the left side I have the hookup for the power cord, an input jack for a phone line, an ethernet line jack, a FireWire port, two USB ports, a video output port if I wanted to show my screen on a bigger monitor, an audio-out jack for headphones, and a place to put one of those security locks. My CD drive is on the right side of the screen. The PowerBook case itself is a silvery aluminum, which is similar to the appearance of the current MacBook Pros.

My laptop turned four years old back in March of 2008, and while I'm looking for a replacement I still am not ready to give it up for a bigger screen. The smallest current Mac laptop is a 13.3", although upgrades are rumored to be in the works for September of this year. You can't beat the size and portability of this computer!

I can't tell you how many times I've dropped this sturdy little computer. You know how it is: you try to treat these investments as gingerly as you can, but sooner or later you become complacent and get in a hurry and the next thing you know your laptop has fallen off a table. I even spent one summer pulling mine around in one of those rolling backpacks, and it survived all those bumps.

I have replaced the battery one time, in the summer of 2006. I'm about due for a new one because my battery gets down to 60% and then gives me an alert that I'm running on reserve power and need to connect it to a power source. I simply keep it plugged in all the time to prevent that.

Because it is aluminum and the hard drive is in the front where your left wrist rests while you type, my laptop does get quite hot sometimes. Most of the time I don't notice it because it's on a desktop or other surface, but it can be so hot that I move it off my lap. We've all heard about the suspected link between laptop use in your lap and diminished fertility, so maybe that's a good thing!

I've had this computer for so long that the color on the keys are wearing away where my fingernails hit them directly. My "m" and "n" keys are the worst, but the "l" and "u" keys are getting there, too.

I can't say enough good things about my beloved PowerBook. I still haven't completely used up my 40 gig hard drive capacity. I'm looking forward to getting a faster computer, but I'll always hang onto this one as a backup. Old friends are hard to let go.