Writing for the New York Times , David Pogue (yes, that David Pogue) compares four little laptops from four different companies — the iBook is one of the systems he looks at. The results have been posted in a new article entitled
State of the Art: 4 Laptops Lilliputians Might Like.
The iBook is matched up with the NEC Versa Txi; the LifeBook S-4546 from Fujitsu; and the WinBook X1.
Pogue says that the NEC Versa TXi is the lightest laptop in the bunch, weighing in at a scant 4.1 pounds. The laptop comes well equipped, with a speedy processor, big screen and a media bay — but Pogue calls the price “hair-straightening,” — the combo drive-equipped Versa TXi costs US$3,300. He also says the Versa TXi has a voracious appetite for power — a single battery charge lasts only 80 minutes, compared to two hours for the other Windows laptops.
Fujitsu’s entry carries a $2,500 price tag that Pogue describes as “at least within the ozone layer.” User-friendly accoutrements include an LCD readout that tells the user the status of the battery, PC card slots and other functions.
The WinBook X1 is more a bare-bones configuration — no productivity software but well-equipped hardware that comes in at around $1,800 at the low-end. Pogue notes some unfortunate ergonomic tradeoffs, too. “The touch-pad clicker buttons are extremely stiff along their back edges, so if that’s where your thumb falls, you practically need to make an appointment for a mouse click.”
By comparison, he loves the iBook. Good battery life (four and half hours, by Pogue’s reckoning), “sweet touches” like the much-vaunted L-shaped hinge, and its ability to wake without pressing any keys. Pogue also appreciates the CD-RW/combo drive-equipped systems’ Disc Burning software, noting that the iBooks Windows rivals depend on “the inappropriately named Easy CD Creator.”
“The thrill of the iBook’s design is marred only by a clamshell that doesn’t close as tightly as it should (thanks to four protective rubber screen bumpers) and Apple’s outrageous help-line policy: after 90 days, help is $50 per call,” said Pogue.
The iBook’s bargain-basement pricing should also help to show folks that Macs don’t necessarily require users to pay a premium, too, according to Pogue.