Weighing 4.9 pounds.
Featuring a 700 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, a 20 GB hard drive, and 128 MB of RAM (expandable to 640 MB)-plus AirPort wireless networking and FireWire, USB, and Ethernet ports. „
A bit of a long-winded review this one - sorry. I did feel, however, that it was important that people considering buy an Apple Macintosh were made aware of the differences between the PC and the Mac (as a lot of the people I have spoken to about buying a Mac felt that PCs and Macs were the same). If you know the difference, skip the first section... Apples and Pears ------------------------- First things first - an Apple Mac is not the same as a PC. Internally, both machines look fairly similar (both have RAM, graphic cards, hard discs etc.), but the hearts of the two machines are very different. The average PC runs on an Intel processor and has Microsoft Windows as its core operating system. The average Apple Mac runs a Power PC processor, and has Mac OS as its core operating system. Avoiding all the technical jargon, this means that software designed for the PC will not work for the Apple Mac, and vice versa. You cannot, for example, buy Microsoft Windows and install it onto your Mac, because the computer itself is different. However, you can buy software specially designed for the Mac that is also available on the PC, including Microsoft Office, special Mac versions of Windows, and a number of PC games. Think of it this way: Both the Apple Mac and PC are computers. However, the Apple Mac and the PC are different types of computers, and so are not the same thing. For more information on the difference, go to http://www.apple.com/uk/switch Out Of The Box --------------------- Included in the iBook box is the iBook itself, a (very) slim user guide, a power adaptor and extra power lead, a modem cable, 7 CD-Roms, a monitor adapter and some stickers. The manual is perhaps a bit limited, as it basically tells you to turn on and get stuck in, but as experience is one of the best ways to learn how to use a computer, i guess it is sound advice. A manual is included on the computer itself, but it would have been nice to hav
e had a printed reference guide as well. Oh well, it saves the rainforest I guess. Another hassle is having to install software before you can get going. You need to install three different Cd-Roms (labelled 'Software Restore) before you can use the iBook, and while it only takes half an hour and is very easy to do, you can't help thinking that this is something that should have been done at the factory. The other four CDs are Mac OSX (2 CDs), a System Check-Up disc, and World Book Encyclopedia. Built To Last ------------------ The iBook is quite a looker, as far as laptops go. Rather than the black or silver colouring of other laptops, the iBook has a glossy white outer shell, and is pale grey inside when opened up. The iBook is also a rugged little machine - I have dropped mine onto the floor, and it survived, with no damage, visible or otherwise (touch wood!). One thing that is quite striking is the lack of LEDs on the unit. The large Apple logo on the lid glows when the screen is on; a light pulsates through the plastic shell when the machine is asleep, and the power lead glows either orange or green at the end when plugged into the machine, indicating whether the battery is charged or not. This helps keeps the machine looking simple, and the minimalistic style adds to the overall appearance of the iBook. Make no mistake - this is a sexy laptop! The iBook features a keyboard with full-size keys, and a trackpad. The trackpad has only one mouse button, which certainly confused me for a while, but a button on the keyboard (called the Command button, but with a symbol I can't type here) acts as the right mouse button. This may appear to be a major detriment to the iBook, but as the operating system is designed around a one-button mouse, it is easy to get used to it. Features ------------ The iBook comes with a choice of either a standard Cd-Rom drive, or a CD-Writer/DVD-Rom combo drive. I chose the CD-Rom drive,
as I was on a budget, but those with a bit more money may want to check out the CD-RW/DVD combo drive. The iBook does not have a floppy disk drive, so the only way to transfer files on the Cd-Rom version is via e-mail. A good solution, however, is to purchase a USB hard disk, which can provide 256MB of memory for around £60, and is fully compatible with PCs with a USB port. The processor speeds vary depending on the model of the iBook you have, with the bottom of the range models (in the current range) having 800MHz G3 processors, and the top of the range models having 900MHz. Not much in it, in all honesty, and my 700MHz iBook (from the previous range) handles fine for the majority of tasks, so I can't imagine the 100MHz difference will affect performance too badly. what will affect performance is the amount of RAM available on the bottom of the range model - 128MB is not really enough, and I would recommend getting an extra 128MB installed at some point. The iBook features a 12" screen on two of its three models (the cheapest ones). This may seem small, especially when compared to the 14" screens on similar priced PC laptops, but it is not really a problem. The iBook's screen resolution takes account of the screen size, and so everything appears normal-sized on the screen. The TFT screen is also one of the clearest and brightest I have ever seen, and its smaller size helps keep the laptop small and lightweight. Broken Windows ------------------------ The Mac's operating system, the originally titled Mac OSX, is a lot more reliable than Windows. It crashes less, has less system conflicts, and recognises the majority of USB devices and software you might want to use. Mac OSX also looks a lot nicer than Windows, thanks to its Quartz rendering engine, which basically uses the computer's graphics card to draw the screen, and allows the OS to display some nifty effects. Minimise a window, for example, and it
gets 'sucked' into the Dock (OSX's equivalent of the Taskbar and Start Menu in Windows). OSX also boasts a better range of applications than Windows. Internet Explorer is included as the web browser, providing a familiar face to those upgrading from PC, but also incorporating some nifty extras, including a scrap book to drag pictures on to, an auction manager so you can keep track of eBay auctions, and a Page Holder, so you can store a webpage and come back to it - useful if a page has a lot of links. Music fans have iTunes to look forward to, a superb music management program. As well as playing MP3s, it can also play CDs and internet radio. It is simple to use, and the number of buttons kept on its (beautiful silver) interface help to avoid the confusion that Media Player's wealth of options can sometimes cause. Windows users will perhaps be already familiar with Quick Time, the video playback software used by both the PC and the Apple Mac. One very nice feature with Quick Time on OSX is that when minimised to the Dock, it continues to play the movie in a small Window - too small to be of any use, but as a feature to show-off your Mac with, its pretty impressive! iMovie and iPhoto allow you to manipulate and create videos and photo albums. iPhoto in particular is very useful, as it allows you to edit photos, print them, and upload them to the internet with a press of a button. iMovie is a nice program for editing home videos, but I have had little chance to use it. It is also very system intensive, so for those looking at using a Mac as a video editing tool, I would recommend looking at a more powerful G4/G5-based Mac. Apple Works offers a simple spreadsheet, word processor, database, presentation software and paint package. It does its job well, although I would recommend that those with the money, and who will be using office applications a lot, upgrade to Microsoft Office For Mac. Also included are Ac
robat Reader, and address book, calendar software, an e-mail program, and two games (proper games, that is, not the card games Microsoft like to include). Overall, as a software bundle, not bad at all, and more than enough to keep the new user happy. Value For Money ------------------------ The most astonishing thing about the iBook is the price - for what you get, the iBook is amazingly good value for money. The bottom of the range, 800MHz CD-Rom based iBook goes for £800, inclusive of VAT. The performance is on a par with PC laptops that for over £1000, and offers better build quality and reliability than most other £800 PC laptops. If you manage to find a last season model of the iBook, you can look at paying around £650, and for the slight drop in speed, you are gaining a £150 saving - not bad at all. The CD-RW/DVD based iBook with 12" screen goes for £1050 - still a bargain, although I would recommend looking at an Apple Powerbook rather than the iBook if the £1450 14" iBook catches your eye - it has far better performance, and the 14" screen on the iBook doesn't make enough difference to warrant the price increase. Overall ---------- I love the iBook, if you couldn't already tell. It looks cool, is cheap, and does just about everything the average user wants from a computer (and more - it can even tell jokes!). I would recommend visiting an Apple stockist, such as John Lewis or PC World, and trying one out - it helped influence my decision, and the computers look even more beautiful in the flesh. Also, check out http://www.apple.com/uk, where you can check out the technical specs of the machine, as well as read about other peoples' experiences with changing to Apple. The iBook is ideal for students, casual computer users, and those looking for an all-in-one computer solution. Hard-core computer users will want something more powerful, but these people won't need this opinion to
aid their decision. If you're looking for a new laptop, I sincerely recommend you take a bite out of the Apple.
I have been a PC user for almost 14 years. I have been using them regularly since my first job and have developed a good working knowledge in particular the Windows operating system. I decided recently to have a look for a new notebook PC. I tried everywhere looking for a compact system which offered great portability but still with desktop performance. I could not afford more than £1100. This would also be my main system at home. I had used a Fujitsu-Siemens lifebook for years but this was looking very old and was so big you had to carry it out around in a suitcase! I was watching TV one night when an advert came on for the Powerbook. The advert caught my attention and filled my head with thoughts of making the switch to Mac. I went to PC World the very next day. There was no way I could afford £2700 for a top of the range Powerbook. Even £1400 for the entry level model would be pushing it with my dead end job so I decided to look for something less expensive. That's when I found the Ibook. I read up on the product for a couple of weeks. I was practically living on the Apple Website researching as much as possible. Then I made the plunge. I opted for a CD Rom only model as I would never be watching DVD's on the move. I also had an external Philips jack rabbit CDRW drive which I used with the lifebook, this was compatible with the ibook. Surprisingly I got the 700mhz model with 20gig and 128mb ram for an incredible £699. This was just before Apple increased the processor to 800mhz and 900mhz and PC World had knocked £100 off the price. I couldn't wait to get home, the drive from Edinburgh was the longest ever but as soon as I got home and opened the box I was in love!!!!! This was true love!!!!! The design is timeless. Finished in white, reinforced polycarbonate shell which claims to be practically 'bomb proof' and weighing in at 2.2kg. Even the Hard drive is encased in rubber to make it shock resistant. I haven't d
ropped it yet though to test this and I think if it were to drop I would likely cry! The Keyboard is great and very quiet which means even if you are typing in a public place the noise will be kept to the minimum. The 12.1" screen is very sharp and I don't notice the 2" drop in size from my old system. A 14" Ibook is also available but this does not seem as cute. The Cd rom drive also seems solid as I use this extensively. I use the Mac mainly for music creation and having a mess around with Photoshop version 7. I have also used Bryce and UZR 3d (design programs) and these programs run perfectly. A 700mhz system may on paper compared with the Intel chipset seem slow but I can assure this is not the case. We will soon be on an Intel Pentium 27 with a 10 gig processor or something like that but I feel the Mac uses the processor more intelligently as I have noticed no drop off in system performance. The one thing I would recommend is upgrading the ram. The system comes with 128mb which is dissapointing. I added a further 256mb which made a huge difference. I believe that the operating system Mac OSx uses 128mb alone so an upgrade would be a wise investment. The spare slot for the Ram can be upgraded to 512mb making a total of 640mb with the 128mb built in. I believe the bigger processor ibooks now come with 256mb ram built in. The included connections are great. 2 usb, 1 firewire (400), phone connector for net access and Ethernet port for creating a network. The system also comes with a VGA out connector so if you feel flush you can treat yourself to a flat screen apple studio display which is all powered from the Ibook via the supplied connection. There is also a headphone port which can connect to a stereo system and gives great sound quality. If you are seriously into music and want to input music to the ibook the iMic is the ideal purchase as it turns a USB port into an audio out or in at the flick of a switch. The b
attery life is also fantastic. Apple claim 5hrs. That may be based on the system doing very little but I have had upto 4hrs with everything blazing and ripping CD's etc. Compared to my other system which ran for 85mins. The trackpad mouse is also quite good and ideal if you are on the move. If you plan to use the ibook as a home system though an external mouse is a worthwhile investment. I have owned this product now for over 3months and it is without doubt the best purchase I have ever made. I have been so won over with Apple products that I am trying to convince my friends and family to make the switch. That though will take some doing. No longer am I tied to Windows systems. In a way its a two finger salute to the world of P.C's and Windows. Although I am at work at the moment typing this review on a Windows system so perhaps I should shut up. I cant recommend this product enough. If you are a power user this may not meet the requirements you have but if you are looking for a system to use at home and take on the road from time and are not running monster applications or programs you will have no problem at all. The price was also fantastic. I had enough left over for an external mouse and other peripherals. The system itself is only half the issue. If the operating system wasn't any good the product wouldn't be any good. I can safely say that after years of using Windows, Mac OSx, which is supplied with all new Macs is the most user friendly OS I have ever used. My ibook must be on for at least 4-6 hrs everyday and not once I have had an issue with the product or the operating system. The operating system is so good I could do another review for that. I hope this review has been helpful to you. If you are considering switching to Apple check their website which is fantastic. Its packed full of information and the support section is first class. If you decide to purchase an ibook I hope you find the
same pleasure in the product that I have.
Having just started using my iBook 700, let me tell you how goooorgeous it is! I would recommend this laptop to anyone, particularly current PC users: Apple has a lot to offer. Setup The computer came with a fully charged battery, which I thought was a nice touch: often rechargeable batteries need charging for up to 24 hours before you can use them. This meant that I was able to turn the iBook on immediately after getting it out of the box, and start setup. Setup itself was straightforward: I was instructed to insert 3 software discs in sequence, which featured helpful symbol coding (insert the disc with this image on it). However, it was a little time consuming: each disc took around 10 minutes to install. It would have been better if the iBook, like my iMac, was supplied ready-to-run. Connecting to the internet also did not present a problem, although the nice feature on the iMac which enables you to connect to the internet to set up an ISP account online was not offered. You therefore had to have an existing ISP account: I would recommend setting one up beforehand, as it is useful for product registration etc. Included Software 1. iTunes The star of the package: great mp3/CD player. You can download songs, make your own library of tunes from your CD collection and easily edit playlists etc. 2. iMovies and iPhoto Digital editing software: I haven't had the occasion to use it, but I believe it to be amongst the best for the job. 3. Appleworks Good basic productivity software with word processor, spreadsheet etc. As mentioned, more basic than Office, but correspondingly more straightforward to use. 4. Mail Competitive mail program: similar functions to Entourage. 5. Internet Explorer 5.2 Needs no explanation. 6. Sherlock Excellent multi search engine internet search tool. Very useful, and improved from earlier versions. 7. DVD Player DVD
s look excellent on this machine, and this program is very easy to use. 8. Others iChat - instant messaging program for AOL and Apple users Calculator - much improved with paper tape option to print out calculations, and scientific functions. Stickies - post-it notes for the desktop: you can now include images and formatted text. Address Book World Book -useful reference tool The Mac OS X Operating System This is UNIX-based, and has a different feel from older OSs, and many improvements. 1. The Desktop and Look Favourite and active programs and files are now kept in the 'dock': the Apple equivalent of the Windows Start menu, but more accessible. This is highly customisable (with the option for automated hide/show so that it never gets in the way of your work), and can be positioned left, right or bottom on the screen. It features great-looking animations and mouse-over descriptions, and is a great way to keep the Desktop clear of clutter. Another improvement on earlier Mac OSs is the ability to minimise windows to the Dock: an icon appears which is a mini picture of the window, enabling easier indentification of minimised applications than in Windows. 2. The Finder The Finder is altered: Go and Window options on the menu bar replace Special, and allow easy transfers between open programs and files. Navigation of the hard disk is improved: with a 'tree' view option and built-search (previously you had to use Sherlock). 3. System Preferences An application which makes it far easier to customise your Mac than on previous systems: it operates rather like the Control Panel in Windows, and is very easy to use. 4. The Apple Menu The Apple Menu (top right corner) is used for sleep/restart/shutdown, system preferences, dock preferences and recent items. Performance, Specification and Design 1. Speed So far I cannot fault the performance
of my iBook: no crashes, fast loading times etc. However, because the computer uses an Apple G3 700MHz processor, it is difficult to guage how this compares to Pentium or AMD processors in terms of speed. I would guess, though, that the iBook 700 is not the fastest laptop for the money, but it may well be the most reliable, judging from my experience of the frequency of Windows crashes. In my opinion this is a worthwhile tradeoff. The 256 MB SDRAM appears sufficient. 2. File Transfer I opted for the model with the DVD/CD-R drive: this is an extra £125, and well worth it. Without this, making backups and transferring files to other computers would be difficult as there is no floppy-disk drive. It is also useful for making or copying audio CDs. 3. Memory With 30GB of hard disk, the iBook has all the memory you're likely to need. 4. Battery life Quoted at 6 hours, but more like 4 and a half. 5. Design This is a truly beautiful machine, just over an inch think, in shiny white with a metal surround and an Apple logo on the top that glows when the laptop is in use. The iBook has a crystal-clear high resolution display (the 14.1" is a good size), a responsive touch pad which can also be used for clicking, a clatter-free keyboard, and stereo speakers (unlike on previous versions) I would recommend this laptop to anyone who values excellence in design, reliability and usability.