review of the new
G4 PowerBook by Wall Street Journal reporter Walter Mossberg calls the one-inch thick laptop “a nice combination of style and power,” but criticizes it for “a few little lapses” including lack of an expansion bay and a less than perfect keyboard.
Mossberg compared the G4 PowerBook in side-by-side viewing and testing with the IBM ThinkPad T.
“The benefits of this design are clear when you open the PowerBook and the ThinkPad side by side,” he wrote. “The ThinkPad’s lid sticks up about half an inch higher than the PowerBook’s, even though it contains a smaller 14.1-inch screen. The PowerBook is also slimmer than the ThinkPad, and shorter front to back. But it’s significantly wider than the ThinkPad, at 13.4 inches vs. 12 inches. This greater width feels odd at first, but it works.”
Mossberg is skeptical of Apple’s five-hour battery life, claiming his constant hard drive access test returned a 2 hours 46 minute result he called “impressive.” With power management on, battery life would be much better he claims, but five hours might be stretching it.
Of criticism, Mossberg mentioned its inability to burn CDs, a DVD drive that can’t be swapped out, and a keyboard that is “OK,” but not as good as the ThinkPad’s. In unscientific tests, Mossberg claims the new PB has “weaker wireless network reception than either my wife’s older and cheaper Apple iBook laptop or the ThinkPad when it’s equipped with a wireless networking card.”
“My verdict is that the PowerBook G4 is a first-rate laptop at a fair price that will delight its users, despite a few flaws. It compares very favorably to the (IBM) ThinkPad T,” Mossberg wrote.