PowerBook G4 (15-inch)
Apple has improved their PowerBook range by releasing the 15-inch model, which is an excellent offering for either the home or office - but the battery life is substandard.
- Lightweight and slim for such a powerful machine, sleek silver finish looks great, responsive and backlit keyboard with adjustable brightness, Bluetooth and WiFi, wide range of ports
- Expensive, average battery life
The PowerBook hasn't been drastically overhauled, but it remains as one of the best options on the market for either Home or Office use. Be prepared to pay for it though.
Price$ 3,199.00 (AUD)
Despite housing a 15-inch widescreen display, Apple has managed to score points with the size and weight of the new PowerBook. Measuring just 348 mm x 241 mm x 28mm and weighing a mere 2.5 kg, the 15-inch Powerbook has notable dimensions for a unit which boasts a fair level of performance. Finished in a sleek, titanium silver casing, the PowerBook looks fantastic and its silver, backlit keyboard is one of the best notebook keyboards we've seen. It is especially remarkable in the dark as each character lights up automatically when light is scarce. The PowerBook has a special light sensor which switches the backlighting on and off and this also controls the screen. When you move into a darkened room, the screen will automatically dim, while switching on the lights will brighten the screen. It is an excellent feature and one which is sure to be appreciated by those who will spend many late nights typing away on their computer.
The PowerBook also houses dual speakers, a responsive touch finger mouse pad and feels well built and sturdy. Unfortunately, the mouse pad only has a single click button and it remains to be seen whether Apples success with the dual-button Mighty Mouse will see future models equipped with this function.
The 15-inch PowerBook is well equipped in the specifications department, boasting a 1.67GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 512MB of DDR2 RAM, an 80GB hard drive and an 8x SuperDrive with dual-layer support. It also makes use of an ATI Radeon 9700 128Mb for graphics, so gamers aren't left out of the equation.
The PowerBook is overloaded in the features department, including some not seen on their desktop machines, such as a PC Card expansion slot. There are two USB 2.0 ports, one on each side of the machine, an Ethernet port, two FireWire ports, a DVI port (which can run Apple's 30-inch Cinema Display out of the box), an S-Video port, an audio-in port (which handles optical digital audio input), a line-in connection and finally, a headphone jack which can also be used as an optical digital audio-out port. Bluetooth is standard, with Apple retaining the convenient and easy to use Bluetooth menu seen on most of their other machines, while AirPort Extreme support is also offered. To round out the connectivity options, the PowerBook contains a built-in 56K V.92 modem.
The Powerbook includes the latest Mac OS X Tiger operating system and as always, the list of included software is notable. You get iLife, which includes iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand 2 and iTunes, as well as Safari and iChat AV.
Unfortunately battery life on the PowerBook is still disappointing, rated at a maximum of 5.5 hours per charge, up from 4.5 hours on the previous model. However, if you're actually using the notebook, it won't last anywhere near that long. According to Apple 3 hours and 15 minutes of battery life is possible for basic web browsing and text editing, but the PowerBook will last only 2 hours and 15 minutes for DVD playback.
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