Product Type: Apple laptops
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Apple Powerbook G4
Apple PowerBook G4 M9689B/A
Apple PowerBook G4 M9689B/A
Date: 24/05/01, updated on 24/05/01 (86 review reads)
Advantages: light, and thin, Looks Gorgeous, innovative features
The first thing that strikes you about this laptop is the size, or rather lack of it. Its just 1 inch thick and weighing just over 2Kg, its considerably lighter than most other laptops.
There are ther obvious visual differences, including an aesthetically winning titanium redisign of the whole body and screen package. The most prominent difference is that the machine is much wider than normal, with the width being 15.2 inch (diagonal) display looking as though its widescreen. In addition, as a result of the ultra thin TFT screen, the backlit illuminates the translucent white apple logo on the lid.
However, unlike the previous G3 PowerBook, the logo has been turned round 180 degrees, so that when the machine is used with the lid open the Apple logo is displayed the right way up to onlookers. Its a small detail, but one that makes all the difference.
There are three different models available - a 400MHz low-end model, a 500MHz mid-range and high-end machine. All models come with a slot loading DVD-Rom with DVD-video playback, two USB ports, a 10/100 Base-T Ethernet connection, and a built-in 56Kbit/s modem. THey also come with infa-red ports and a single Type I/Type II PC card slot.
Basically the only reall difference between all three models - aside from the processor speedd - is in the amount of SDRAM an hard drive memory space; either 128Mb or 256Mb of SDRAM, and 10, 20 or 30Gb hard drive memory on each respective model.
You would be right in thinking that this borrows a little bit in design from the Sony Vaio. Apparently, Apple used the Vaio as a benchmark for design, but whereas Sony had to compromise performance against design, Apple was determined to maximise both.
One of the most striking features is the larger than normal display. Its not of true widescreen proportions but it is particularly when using applications that have lots of tool paletts like Final Cut Pro 2.0. Its also a plesure when watching DVDs. The keyboard is similar in
feel and lok to the older PowerBook, albeit a little more solid. It's also ergonomically well placed and extremely comfortable to use. To access the RAM slots you simply unclip the keybad, just like the G3. The trackpad too is also easy to use and its not over sensitive like on some notebooks.
The G4 fits very easily into almost any rucksack or briefcase, leaving considerable room to spare. Curiously, Apple claims the G4 PowerBook is almost a kilo lighter than the previous G3 PowerBook which was also a kilo lighter than its predecessor.
The locking and release mechanism on the G4 is ingenious. A tiny magnet pulls down a hook, securing the lid when its closed. You'll find yourself closing the lid as much as you can without actually shutting it just to see the little hook as it is pulled down, rather like trying to see if the fridge light ever goes off. It should be quite interesting to see how this kind of mechanism stands up to many months of use.
Onee of the main problems with its predecessor was over heating, so the new G4 processor has a heatsink built on top, which passes the generated heat to a 'pipe' filled with conductive gel that spreads the heat away from the processor itself. There are also two small vents on either side of the laptop which help ventilation.
The compact design of the casing means there's no place for a removable media expansion bay, but the front mounted slot-loading DVD drive, like the current imacs is a very space-saving solution.
The battery is mounted in the base and with no expansion space it's no longer possible to have two batteries fitted at once. However, as an average battery lasts between four and four and a half hours (or between two and two and a half hours when watching a DVD), this is not as bad as it seems. In addition, its now possible to 'hot swap' the batteries, as all the power can be removed for up to one minute at a time.
Another new feature on the G4 is the bat
tery life indicator. This is situated on the underside of the machine on the battery itself. Press the button and a series of LEDs light up to show you how much remaing power is left.
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