I must admit to not being overwhelmed with the last couple of upgrades to my PowerBooks. When I received my PowerBook 800MHz system, I wasn’t expecting it to be something that I would be really impressed with — my skepticism was soon proven wrong.
When I upgraded from a G3 PowerBook, I had the great looking and lightweight Titanium G4, but I couldn’t go too far away from AirPort base station if I wanted to stay connected to the Internet. Heat was another issue that I dealt with the in 500MHz Titanium; sometimes hot enough to burn my legs.
The PowerBook 667MHz was a bit faster, but not what I was expecting in an upgraded PowerBook. I suppose to be fair, it wasn’t that much of a speed boost from my 500, but I just expected to be “wowed.” While the AirPort had improved somewhat, I still had several “dead spots” using the PowerBook that I didn’t have with my old G3 PowerBook.
had the right combination of speed improvements and features to make it a worthwhile upgrade. Everything from opening applications to saving files and working with utilities was faster with the new PowerBook.
After seeing the speed increase, I set out to test my two main peeves with the previous generation of PowerBooks: heat and AirPort.
There is no doubt that heat is still an issue with the PowerBook, but not nearly as much as it was before. If I set my 667 down on the table, it wasn’t long before the fan was on; I have yet to have that happen with the PowerBook 800MHz. The only time I have a problem with heat is if the PowerBook is on my lap for an extended period of time. In the time I have been using it, this has only happened once.
Unfortunately, the PowerBook G4 still displays marks from the keyboard if you have the screen closed and have been carting it around in a backpack for a while. This is an issue that’s haunted PowerBooks since the G3 days, and it can be worked around by buying a third-party insert that keeps the screen away from the keyboard — a less-than-elegant solution.
The AirPort reception with the PowerBook has improved greatly with the newest machine. Although it’s still not perfect, the dead spots I experienced with my 667 are gone; I now have full Internet access throughout. While I never lost connection to the AirPort base station, the reception level was only at two bars, so there is still some work to be done.
Apple Cinema HD Display
is a great looking piece of equipment on any desk. With a 1920 x 1200 resolution, the 23-inch display has more than enough room to fit two letter size pages side-by-side on your screen.
This type of real estate comes in handy in many instances in my day-to-day work when I’m writing a story and have research documents and Web pages open for reference or when I’m preparing graphics with Photoshop.
The Cinema HD Display has the ability to display 16.7 million colors and 2.3 million digital pixels, enabling it to support high-definition content in its native format. It sports much higher contrast, better brightness and more sharpness than CRTs do.
As large as the LCD display is, it doesn’t take up your entire desk when it’s setup. Besides the functionality it provides, The Cinema HD Display has an amazing “wow” factor on any desktop.
As a companion to the Cinema and the new PowerBook, Apple released the
DVI to ADC Adapter. The adapter allows you to use the 23-inch Cinema HD Display with the new PowerBook G4 via its integrated DVI port. You can also use it to expand to a Dual-display ultra-wide desktop on a Power Mac G4.
The setup of the adapter is as simple as plugging it in — a power cord into the wall, the ADC connection into the adapter and the DVI connection to the PowerBook.
Overall, the PowerBook 800MHz is the first portable I would recommend using as a full time system. I found the speed to be acceptable and the fixes with the AirPort and heat issues have really brought it a long way for people that travel and don’t want to maintain a desktop and travel computer.
With the DVI to ADC adapter, plugging your PowerBook into a 23-inch Cinema Display when you return to the office is an added feature that makes the whole package even more attractive.