on December 19, 2003
I just recently purchased an ibook G4 coming from a 2.4GHz pentium 4 desktop at work. I decided on the ibook because I wanted something small, reasonably priced, with a high level of quality for my home/sometimes work use. I had a chance to take a good look at Dell laptops that were recently purchased at my work and was not very impressed with the solidity of the small, lightweight laptops. They have also had their share software glitches which did not impress me and needed external CD/DVD drives. I'll tell you, it was a bit scary to move to the Apple machine, but so far it has been a happy marriage. This machine says quality. For the applications I use (spreadsheets, word processors, net, games...) you cannot tell there is a speed difference between the P4 desktop. This comuter is plenty fast. Surfing the net (unlike other reviews) is a breeze and is as fast as the desktop through the cable or T1 connection I use. The things I like are the size, speed, keyboard, battery life, stability, feel, as well as the looks. I also can access our Windows based network to retreive e-mails, etc. without any problem. Apparently the Panther 10.3 OS provides superior security when surfing which is nice, since I do a lot of shopping over the net. This was a concern I had with the latest Windows OS. Also, some people have commented that the white keyboard can get dirty fast. I have not experienced this problem yet (washed hands?), but when shopping for a computer, I actually looked for a light colored/white keyboard so I could tell when the keyboard is dirty. Who knows what sort of junk is on a black keyboard! In any case, the keyboard pops out and is easy to clean.
In summary, this is a well enginerred, quality laptop that will allow you to interface with your Windows work environment. Nice work.
Let us raise the glass: long live the G3 processor, for it is dead. Apple's iBook was the last holdout to G4 processor. It is G3 no more.
Despite some rumors, iBook's G4 processor is a true G4 processor with Altivec fully on-board. While it runs slower (800 MHz vs. 1 GHz) and features smaller L2 cache (256 KB vs. 512 KB) than 12" PowerBook, it comes remarkable close in most performance parameters. They share the same 133 MHz front-side bus and PC2100 (266 MHz) DDR SDRAM.
Even their feature sets come remarkably close. Both sport sharp 12.1" 1024-by-768 LCD, 256 MB memory and 32 MB graphics memory, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 ports, and 100/10 fast Ethernet. Both lack the PC Card (PCMCIA) slot but can accommodate AirPort Extreme wireless network.
Other than faster G4 processor, just about the only reasons to consider 12" PowerBook are:
- Larger memory capacity on the PowerBook (1.25 GB vs. 640 MB)
- Larger hard disk (40 GB vs. 30 GB)
- PowerBook can drive an external display (dual display) up to 2048-by-1536 via DVI port; iBook can only mirror up to 1024-by-768 via VGA port
- SuperDrive (DVD burner) is optional on PowerBook; it is not available on iBook
- Bluetooth is standard on PowerBook; it is optional (built-to-order) on iBook
- Marginally faster GeForce FX 5200 graphics card on PowerBook (vs. Radeon 9200 on iBook)
- PowerBook is slightly lighter (4.6 lbs vs. 4.9 lbs) and slightly smaller (10.9-by-8.6-by-1.18 inches vs. 11.2-by-9.1-by-1.35 inches)
- You like the PowerBook's anodized aluminum allow chassis better
There are sufficient reasons to get the iBook instead:
- Costs almost 50% less
- It is not dramatically slower
- Longer battery life (up to 6 hours vs. 5 hours)
- Polycarbonate plastic chassis is more scratch proof and offer better wireless network (AirPort Extreme) reception
How is the iBook in itself? For a little over a grand, you get a beautifully designed notebook (similar to iPod) packed with features: combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, optional 802.11g AirPort Extreme wireless network, beautiful LCD, sensible keyboard layout, snappy performance under included Mac OS X Panther 10.3 -- all in very portable form factor. This little book represents a serious bang for the buck.
- Very high bang for the buck: good performance and high in features
- Looks beautiful
- Includes almost everything an average computer user needs
- Very portable and durable
- Fantastic wireless reception
- Cannot drive external display higher than 1024-by-768 resolution
- To get built-in Bluetooth, you must order from Apple (built-to-order option) -- unlike the AirPort Extreme, you cannot add it later on
- Standard 256 MB memory is based on two 128 MB RAM modules. To add more memory later on, you will need to toss out one of the memory modules (the other memory module is soldered onto the motherboard)
on November 9, 2003
From 5/03 to 11/03 I owned a 14.1" G3 iBook. That was a nice laptop but certainly had some annoying quirks and was really out-of-date (described later). I also wanted to get a smaller laptop and also get Panther. So "upgrading" or "downgrading" to this 12" G4 iBook made a whole lot of sense for me. Here is my review based on comparison to the old G3 iBook.
Performance: From G3 900Mhz to G4 800Mhz is certainly an upgrade. As the G4 features a faster 133Mhz Bus (formerly 100Mhz Bus) and also supports DDR Memory (compared to the old PC100). Applications seem to fire up and run better and everything is just snappier. Also if you have altivec enabled applications, G4 is certainly the way to go.
Technical Improvements: USB 1.1 ==> USB 2.0, Airport 802.11b ==> Airport Extreme 802.11g, updated graphics card, tray loading combo drive ==> slot loading combo drive.
Other Improvements: Panther is a more polished and refined OS compared to Jaguar. OS X has finally matured. The keyboard on the G4 iBook has been improved...buttons press smoother and keyboard has less flex (not to mention the greyish tone makes it look better). Also the LCD display seems a little bit more crisper.
All in all I'd highly recommend this 12" G4 iBook. For this price, it is a tremendous value. You cannot find a comparable 12.1" laptop in the PC world (w/o spending nearly 2 Grand, and most don't come with an optical drive built-in).
I don't see much of a reason to go with 14.1" as it has the same resolution as the 12" (unless that you have bad vision). If you want a laptop with a big display, go with the 15.2" Powerbook (probably the best all-around laptop in the world). If you want a small but still very fast laptop that you can carry everywhere, GET THIS IBOOK! It certainly has the looks and now is a speedster with G4. Can't go WRONG.
(Added 1/11) For the past 3 months I have yet to experience a crash or problem with this iBook. Past generations of iBooks were prone to logic board failures, it seems like Apple finally got it fixed. I can put this laptop asleep for a week and wake it up, and be ready for use within 10 seconds. This is a sweet laptop, and it's coming from a lifelong Windows user (who still uses Windows too).
on June 13, 2004
I got this iBook, and it is really awesome with all of the software, and I am really impressed with MAC OS X, but I ran into a little trouble with my 30 gb hard drive a couple days ago, so I had to get rid of all my music, and clean out junk to get more hard drive. I would recommend this to a web surfin' e-mail, basic type of guy, or a student. This notebook is not meant for pro's. I would recommend a PowerBook with more hard drive and DVD-R drive and airport extreme built-in, when an iBook you have to buy it separately (which is a whopping $100.00). The PowerBook eventually pays for itself.
on December 29, 2003
The iBook G4 is an incredible machine, in all aspects. Configured with 640 MB RAM, 60 GB hard drive, and an AirPort Extreme wireless card, this computer gets the job done in all situations. First and foremost, the iBook is a compact, lightweight notebook with ample battery life. In practice, I've found the battery to last about 3.5-4 hours. Turning down the processor power will allow for greater battery life. The case is of excellent quality, feeling more stable than most Windows notebooks I've used.
What converted me to Mac, though, is the operating system, OS X 10.3 Panther. I'd used a Mac prior to 1995, but then switched to Windows and have been a Windows user ever since. Windows 98/ME was good, and Windows XP is an excellent operating system. I was pretty good with ME and XP, but I thought I'd give OS X a try nonetheless. I was, and still am, blown away. OS X is such an incredibly intuitive operating system that you really must own a Mac to understand. Of course, the first thing you notice is how cool the interface looks. The second thing you notice is how efficient the bundled programs are: Safari, Mail, iChat, iCal, Address Book, Sherlock - these Apple-written programs are incredible. After using the Mac a bit more, though, you'll notice how much more you can do with it than you can with a Windows machine. If you're a power user, there are a bunch of utilities you can use to tweak your machine, utilities that Microsoft would rather you didn't use on Windows. The most important thing I noticed when using the Mac was this: you are actually productive while using it. I can't explain it any better than that; you must use the Mac operating system to understand.
Many users may be concerned about speed, by which I mean that the iBook has an 800 MHz processor while a similarly priced Windows notebook might have processor between 1.6-2.4 GHz processor. The fact is, "megahertz" or "gigahertz" is really an arbitrary measurement. What Intel doesn't tell you is the number of instructions per clock cycle. It is because of this fact that an 800 MHz iBook G4 can be, and is, faster than a 2.4 GHz Intel. Hard to believe? I'll direct those of you who are Intel-savvy to look at the difference between the Intel Celeron and the Intel Pentium-M. Until the Pentium-M, the Pentium 4 and Celeron's clock speeds well surpassed 2 GHz, nearing 3 GHz in fact. The Pentium-M, however, sports speeds of around 1.2-1.8 GHZ, and they are much faster than the Pentium 4 and Celeron of higher clock speeds.
All that being said, I feel I must explain why I gave the iBook only four stars. I had two problems when setting up the computer. First, I had difficulty connecting to my network with the AirPort wireless card. After a bit of configuration, though, I got it working. Second, I was never able to connect to my networked printer. The printer is connected to a Windows PC, and it's shared. I'm not sure if the problem is with Apple, Microsoft, Canon (who made the printer), or my own ineptitude. Regardless, I am now connected to a printer via USB, and have no more problems with the iBook.
In sum, I am a longtime Windows user who has made the transition to Mac OS X. You truly must try the iBook yourself to understand. Head out to a retail store and get your hands on an Apple; you'll see why so many have switched.
on March 27, 2004
I am giving this 4 stars instead of 5, because 800MHz is acceptable to most users, but 1GHz would have been nice. The 800MHz G4 is still much faster than last year's 900MHz G3 model, and Panther is slightly faster. I have a 733MHz G4 tower, so this is a slight speed increase for me.
I am so glad I got the 12" screen over the 14". Everyone I asked recommended the 12" over the 14". It's easier to carry, lighter, easy to sit on your lap with, and you don't feel the need to buy a huge case to carry it around in. Both the 12" and 14" have 1024x768 displays, the 12" is just denser, about 96 dpi, about the same resolution as my 23" Apple LCD. Text is sharp and clear and very readable. Both models have the same sized keyboards. No burned out pixels on either LCD!
Wireless networking to my G4 tower was easy to setup, and very fast.
The built in DVD player is also fun, although headphones or external speakers make the experience much more enjoyable - most laptops suffer from small speakers.
Recommended Options: Get the 512M RAM upgrade card (about $125) which maxes the iBook out at 640Megs, and the Airport Extreme card ($99). Wireless internet is happening all over, in many hotels and restaurants. If you travel, consider adding some good Ear Buds if you use it to watch movies on or listen to music.
This is my 5th Apple laptop, dating back to 1992, and by far the best one to date.
on January 11, 2004
I have always been intrigued by the Apple's iBook since its introduction. Not necessarily the design, mind you. The "clam shell / toilet bowl" design wasn't as attractive to me as the idea that Apple was offering an affordable lap top computer. It became more attractive to me as Apple redesigned the look and a necessity when Apple FINALLY put a G4 processor in the iBook.
I purchased the iBook G4 12" 800 MHz in early December 2003. I have quickly recognized it as an excellent compliment to my home desktop computer, a Dual 500Mhz tower, on an AirPort wireless network (a separate review is in the works). Out of the box it is easy to appreciate the design. Packaged with Apple's OSX 10.3 Jaguar, iLife software, AppleWorks Suite, Quicken 2004, Encyclopedia and a few games (Diemos, Chess and Tony Hawk 4) you can get started right away.
I'm going to change things up from the format that I have used in my previous reviews and start with the "Ugly" as I would like to be a little more pessimistic as I wrap things up!
The Ugly: The Combo Drive is loud. This is more noticeable as you watch a DVD. Also, without headphones, you definitely get nothing more than a small speaker sound from the built-in speakers.
The Bad: I understand the logic behind Apple's offering of a one-button mouse/trackpad. Sure, marketing and Steve Jobs will tell you it's all about simplicity - it's about 3rd party vendor relationships people. Let someone else offer the wanted 2-button mouse/trackpad with scrolling capabilities. I am getting better at using the control key but would much rather have a right click button. Also, a spectacular design like this deserves to maintain it's integrity - this puppy smudges and scratches easily. I find myself babying it often.
The Good (dare I say great): No longer resembling a toy designed by Fisher-Price, I can pull the iBook out of my lap top bag and not worry about what the person next to me is going to think. In fact, it's quite the opposite - people usually perform a double take. Often, in fact, mistaking it for the new PowerBook that has been getting a lot of press lately. It is sharp! Kudos for the implementation of the slot loading combo drive - though loud it is nice to have a laptop with less moving parts. I've worked on $3000 laptops that felt cheap whenever you needed to access the CD ROM. I am also pleased with the 32MB ATI Display. Some have said that they wish they had a greater choice of screen resolutions (1024x768 is the max) but I feel it is an excellent value for the money. I also like the feel of the keyboard that has been criticized on past iBook models. I have also been pleased with the battery life. Apple claims that you can achieve up to 6 hours - they are close. DVD playing will put you at about 3 hours - respectable. Typical use - Internet surfing, word processing, and the like has resulted in between 4 and 6 hours of battery power. I also like the battery power indicator on the battery itself.
So in the first 30 days I am admitting to being a big fan of the iBook and would recommend highly to those in the market for a sub $1500 laptop.
on December 5, 2003
It has been nearly five years since I bought my first mac, an iMac DV, and for five years the lime-green beast ran great without a hitch, but facing the start of my student teaching I felt I needed a portable. this machine has done wonders, the screen size is hardly noticable since the resolution and sharpness are far better than any 14 inch monitor dell makes. the responce is snappy and fluid, internet is great as well. this machine picks up WiFi better than any laptop I have ever used. sure it's not a lightning-fast gaming machine, but seriously, what laptop is? if you want speed and nifty features get the 12inch powerbook, if you want a great deal on a solid, first rate machine get the new iBooks, just make sure to pack some extra ram on for good measure.
on March 7, 2004
This is a great computer system. I use it for school work mainly and it works great. It is fast, light weight and affordable. It also has everything I am looking for to complete the daily tasks of living.
on January 8, 2004
I got this computer very recently. So far, it has run very well. The srcreen is crystal clear, the DVDs work great, everything is perfect. This thing is SOOOO light! I could carry it around all day and not get tierd. If you are looking for the prefect laptop, this is the one!