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View Full Version : Help be deicde 12" or 15" Powerbook!



Gothikon
3rd August 2004, 08:13 PM
OK, I've got my tax back and after holding out for about 8 months I'm finally ready to buy a laptop. I know now is probably not the best time as there should be new 'books in about 6 months but I'm sick of waiting and I hate my linux box at work with a passion!

Originally I was looking at getting an iBook but I can do salary sacrifice through work and I'd like to hang on to the laptop for as long as possible so paying a bit extra now will work out well in a few years time.

I'll be using it for photoshop (comparitively light as I only do web work these days which is fairly low res). Coding (html, php, perl) itunes, iphoto, browsing the web, working with my digi cam. It's not really going to be a games box, I've got my desktop mac, a decent PC and a gamecube for those things. Having said that I'll probably find time to run Warcraft 3 now and again.

12" Pros
----------------------
12" Ultra compact, best Powerbook after the 2400!
Cheaper than the 15" by about 650 AUD

cons
-------

small screen, crap video card (however it is a supported card for core image which will mean I'm not missing out when 10.4 is released.)

15" Pros
----------------------
15" Widescreen, very cool, but probably still not enough to get a browser and a text editor side by side. I actually ind my 17" LCD on my desktop too small.

PCMCIA slot, kinda useful for memory card adaptors for my camera etc. Might be some useful for some upgrade or new connector in 2 years time.

Much better video card, 9700 instead of GeForce FX5200, however not playing many games, won't help much in photoshop. Would be useful in a couple of years time.

Firewire 800, no use now, would probably be handy in a couple of years time

Gigabit ethernet, definitely handy in a years time.

Cons
-----------------

Bigger = less portable
Battery life not as good? dunno about this one
More expensive


So the main advantage I see in the 15" is it will be more useful down the road when it's say 18 months old. It's spec will still be decent but the 12" would be showing it's age.

The bigger screen is nice but as I said I find a 17" LCD too small and when I'm at work I'll have it plugged in to a second monitor anyway so I probably won't use the built in screen for any more than e-mail or chat and itunes. It's never going to be my main machine so I think I can live with 1024*768 on the few occasions when I'm away from home, on the tram. I guess the screen comes in to it's own for watching DVD's and all the pallets in photoshop. I had thought it would be good for presentations but web pages are taller than they are wide so it wouldn't make much difference!

Anyone used both? Anyone know how battery life compares? I've not found many review comparing the two either.

I think it's safe to say if the 12" had a better video card I'd be all over it. With the money I save I can also buy a DVD burner and some other goodies. The processor speed isn't an issue. I do almost all my work on a cube that still has the stock 450 MHz processor with a 17" LCD

decryption
3rd August 2004, 08:18 PM
17" sounds like what you want :)
I'd get the 15" if I was you, more screen real estate is good, and the portablity is pretty much the same as the 12" unless your a little old lady :P

Ozi
3rd August 2004, 08:41 PM
15" - (my computer)
Bigger screen,
better resolution 1280x854, 12" has 1024x768
as you mentioned, better graphics card (optional 128MB VRAM, looks good for resale)
heaps more ports. Big help! It gives you the ability to do heaps more stuff without adapters: gigabit ethernet, FW800, DV out.
More screen real-estate
Bigger hard disk - 80GB
Backlit keyboard. (not available in the 12"... its pretty cool! :D)

~ozi

Oh and the 12" is cool for portability, but seriously lacking in a lot of features that the 15" and 17" have as standard, or options.

sillydog701
3rd August 2004, 08:47 PM
12" is the choice.
For a portable laptop, get one that is the most portable.

12" has all the features you need.

Husq
3rd August 2004, 09:09 PM
I had a 12' powerbook and have moved to a 17' powerbook and am not regretting it.
The 12' is great for portability, but I found it a little too small to fit on the lap securely (esp on public transport), and found the screen size too compact (personal preference). The screen real estate is worth the larger laptop if you are willing to fork out the dollars - not just for multiple applications, but being able to fit more of your development environment on the screen.
I'm sure you've read up on the differences in features so I won't list that again.

[edit]
Anyway the fringe benefits tax year ends in 8 months; so you can always recycle your laptop for a different size. After the GST component and income bracket % refunded, what you are effectively paying will mostly be made up when you resell it won't it?

May also want to find out if your company has a corporate alliance with Apple Australia (or is able to) - it is worth it in the 9-10% discount + free delivery in addition to the salary sacrifice. Puts a few more dollars in your pocket.

Ozi
3rd August 2004, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by sillydog701@Aug 3 2004, 08:47 PM
12" is the choice.
For a portable laptop, get one that is the most portable.

12" has all the features you need.
except for the fact that it doesn't.


PCMCIA slot, kinda useful for memory card adaptors for my camera etc. Might be some useful for some upgrade or new connector in 2 years time.

The 12" DOES NOT have this slot, and thus lacks expandability. :rolleyes:

yinyang
3rd August 2004, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by Husq@Aug 3 2004, 09:09 PM

Anyway the fringe benefits tax year ends in 8 months; so you can always recycle your laptop for a different size. After the GST component and income bracket % refunded, what you are effectively paying will mostly be made up when you resell it won't it?

May also want to find out if your company has a corporate alliance with Apple Australia (or is able to) - it is worth it in the 9-10% discount + free delivery in addition to the salary sacrifice. Puts a few more dollars in your pocket.
good point husq - the fbt year starts april!! you are also allowed one laptop per year, so when the time comes round for the g5 pBook (hopefully april 2005!!) you sell your pBook, which basically pays for itself and then do another salary sacrifice :D

if that is going to be your rationale, then perhaps a 15" or 17" is better as the resell value will be that much better!

well that's how i've rationalised it to myself anyway LOL!

personally i would go for the 15" since i like the extra features, but next year i'll probably go the 17", since i doubt the extra weight really makes that much difference to me, and the added real estate would be cool :)

Febs
3rd August 2004, 10:18 PM
I've got a 12", and even I'll recommend the 15". :)
The 12" is a great machine...but to be blunt - the screen sucks..

I'm only keeping my 12" for a few months, next year I'll be getting a G5 15". I would've held out, but I needed a PB now.

BigX
3rd August 2004, 11:04 PM
get 12" spend the extra money (u'd spend on a 17") on a second monitor ;) you'll never look back!

powerbook supports 2 monitors nicely...

Ozi
3rd August 2004, 11:07 PM
yeah the extra monitor is a good idea, but lots of people need a bigger screen which is portable. Febs, who works in a apple store, is right. The 12" screen sucks, and it is not as powerful GPU wise as the 15", so running an external monitor from the 12" would look worse than running one from a 15".

And yeah do sallary thingie... i got my $4700 pBook for $2200. Its great! :P

Gothikon
4th August 2004, 07:49 AM
Hmm, well thanks for all the input. I can't remember if it was me that accidentally said the 12" PB had a PCMCIA slot but I know it doesn't.

If there was a 12" PB now with FW800, decent video and gigabit ethernet, all of which I'm sure it will get in the next rev I'd take that.

However, funds permitting I think I'll be going for the 15" it's not much less portable and as I plan on keeping the laptop for a long time the better conectivity and video will make a big difference down the road. The 12" PB will be completely obsolete with the next updates, the 15" will just be bottom end! Also looking at this way any portable is more portable than no portable so even if the 15" is a bit bigger it's portable. I'd probably kick myself for net getting the 15" with it's extra features if I got the 12" for the form factor.

Anyway I'll be speaking to the finance people at work today so it all depends on how much I actually save and how long I can take to pay it off!

alexc
4th August 2004, 10:36 AM
Hey,

Its a tough choice to be sure.

I've used both, and currently use a new 15" at work which I take out to clients.

I've been looking at upgrading my own TiG4, and have wondered about 12" vs 15"

Just quickly, here's what i think:

1. I really like the 12" because its so compact, which I like.

2. But then again I've never suffered with the 15"s lack of portability. It never feels heavy, so I have no problem lugging it around.

3. Sometimes I think Screen size wont bother me, as when I'm doing real work I'm normaly desk bound, and then I'll plug into a monitor.

4. But then sometimes its nice to have the larger screen. For instance when I am trying to show people stuff, or if I'm at a clients and dont have a larger monitor at hand.

5. I've never considered the lack of ports on the 12" an issue. In 3 years of using my TiG4, I've never used the PCMCIA slot.

6. The 15" just looks like a Pro laptop. The 12" looks like its supposed to; a compact laptop.

In summary, I think the 15" wins. Its as portable as you will probably ever need it to be. If I lugged it around on foot, in a back back or something I might have a different opinion.

Go for the 15". Even if you have to get a used or refurbished one to meet your budget.

Alex.

estoyloco
4th August 2004, 02:41 PM
If you worried about price:

You could try looking for a 2nd hand Ex - edu machine... i mean someone that bought it on EDU with 3 years warranty... That way you could get a 15" machine with a warranty of 2 years left etc...i have seen a few people selling "older" 1.25GHZmachines around the place...

Just a though....

Or get the older modelsfrom compnow or nextbyte... i think an older 15" model goes for around $3k new

zefi
4th August 2004, 03:47 PM
You know what this sounds to me?

Like Apple needs to make a 13" or 14" Powerbook version that straddles the portability realm of the 12" and the real estate and features of the 15".

I bet a 13" or 14" Powerbook with a decent resolution other than 1024*768 would be up alot of people's alley's.

I vote the 15" since it sounds like you are really going for the extra features it comes with.

Gothikon
4th August 2004, 09:34 PM
I think alexc has pretty much summed up my thoughts. The 15" is the better machine in terms of long term usage. The things that would tick me off if I got the 12" is the next revision in say 6 months time is guaranteed to have FW800, Gigabit ethernet all things which would help the machine last longer.

However I spoke to the finance people at work and I save more than I thought I would, I've been quoted about 3600 for a 15" 1.3 GHz P'Book with a Crumpler Hymn(sp?) sleeve. an aditional 512MB of RAM and airport express base station. All this will actually (in terms of the effect it has on my normal pay) cost me about 1600 AUD!!! Complete bargin, when I'm saving this much I'd be silly not to get the more expensive machine. I should have the quote confirmed tomorrow, have it paid for on Monday and receive it in about 2 weeks!! Powerbook goodness here I come!! :D :D :D

EDIT - estoyloco I was originally seriously considering a refurbished 15" AlBook, like an 867, if I couldn't do salary sacrifice this is exactly what I'd do

zen
12th August 2004, 03:17 PM
I was in the exact same position as you two months ago. Tossing between a slightly customzied 12" or a stock 15" (both just under my budget) and in short, the 15" is my ultimate choice ;)

The work I do is also quite similar to yours and I find that despite of portability, screen size is also very importaint to me. 12" is great! don't get me wrong, but it's too small to accomedate me. Offcourse there's also a 17" Powerbook, but do you seriously want to lurk around a 4kg+ beast? not my cup of tea, which is why I have a 15" :D

estoyloco
12th August 2004, 04:26 PM
Gothikon, there is a guy in the COMTRADER and TRADINGPOST selling a 15"SD powerbook, 3 months old with 3 year warranty.. you might want to bargain with him. Hes advertised it for $3200 (im always checking for bargains there..) which means you could prpbably bargian him down.. it comes with office 04.. you could salary sacrifice it cos they would have the original TAX INVOICE..(hopefuly)

Thats just a SUGESTION. i guess after tax rebate, dependign on what you areon, ti will probably cost you about $2k??

Jmi
12th August 2004, 04:36 PM
However I spoke to the finance people at work and I save more than I thought I would, I've been quoted about 3600 for a 15" 1.3 GHz P'Book with a Crumpler Hymn(sp?) sleeve. an aditional 512MB of RAM and airport express base station. All this will actually (in terms of the effect it has on my normal pay) cost me about 1600 AUD!!! Complete bargin, when I'm saving this much I'd be silly not to get the more expensive machine. I should have the quote confirmed tomorrow, have it paid for on Monday and receive it in about 2 weeks!! Powerbook goodness here I come!! icon_mrgreen.gif icon_mrgreen.gif icon_mrgreen.gif

GOODNESS!! how did you get the quote :o
15" pb + 1gig ram? + bag + airport express = 3600!!

I can't even reach tat sort of price
the best quote i got was still the education pricing :(

oh and how does the salary sacrifice work actually?

Ozi
12th August 2004, 06:35 PM
Salary sacrificing: Basically what happens is this.

You earn x amount per year at your job. A percentage of this is taken as Tax (a lower percentage is taken if you earn less, or up to almost 50% if you are in the top tax bracket)

So what you do with salary sacrificing is this: The cost of the computer is deducted from your salary over a 12 month period, but the amount removed is not subject to tax. This means that whilst you still pay the same amount, the computer is paid for from your salary, a percentage of which would normally go to the government instead of to you.

So simply put, if you are in the top tax bracket, a $5000 computer will be 47% cheaper if you salary package it. Also, you can only salary package (salary sacrifice is another word for the same thing) ONE laptop per year.

But it is definantly worthwhile. It is a MASSIVE discount. :lol:

Gothikon
12th August 2004, 07:31 PM
3600? I think you can get that price even from the Apple store online.

However it's costing me 1600! which comes out of my pay over the next 7 fortnights, bargin! Wish I'd upped the airport express base station to an extreme. Forgot they'd dropped to 329, might put it up in the forums next week, should arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday.

yinyang
12th August 2004, 09:43 PM
don't forget that if you're salary sacrificing you pay LESS GST :P

i think my total gross with applecare etc came to around $4600, but less the gst it was $4200! so i pay around $40 per week for the lot!

can't wait till next year and g5 powerbooks and salary sacrifice again...! :D

Ozi
12th August 2004, 11:27 PM
yeah its an awesome way to get great technology. Its so good it feels illlegal, but it isn't! My $4700 pBook was $2200 after Education discount and salary packaging. :P I love it! And yeah, my dad, who bought it (he works at a university) will be upgrading from his TiBook when the G5 pBooks come out. Then his will kick my butt. But at the moment, I have the best computer at my house. :lol:

Jmi
13th August 2004, 05:43 PM
You guys are lucky. I have to fork out tat sum of money as my miserable salary wont make much of a difference in salary packaging. :(

purana
13th August 2004, 09:25 PM
Originally posted by Ozi@Aug 12 2004, 06:35 PM
Salary sacrificing: Basically what happens is this.

You earn x amount per year at your job. A percentage of this is taken as Tax (a lower percentage is taken if you earn less, or up to almost 50% if you are in the top tax bracket)

So what you do with salary sacrificing is this: The cost of the computer is deducted from your salary over a 12 month period, but the amount removed is not subject to tax. This means that whilst you still pay the same amount, the computer is paid for from your salary, a percentage of which would normally go to the government instead of to you.

So simply put, if you are in the top tax bracket, a $5000 computer will be 47% cheaper if you salary package it. Also, you can only salary package (salary sacrifice is another word for the same thing) ONE laptop per year.

But it is definantly worthwhile. It is a MASSIVE discount. :lol:
Thats what I am doing for my lease car... which is on 8-10 week delivery time frame at this stage.. damn subaru australia for revising the liberty and releasing a new 3litre model.

Hopefully by October I hope to have my new 2.5l liberty wagon... here's hoping..

neji
7th September 2004, 11:04 AM
Does anyone know what peripherals you CAN salary sacrifice along with a powerbook? I had a look at ATO and all they say is "external equipment necessary for the basic operation of the computer (i.e. a mouse)"...

What have people managed to package in with their powerbook?

OziMac
7th September 2004, 12:24 PM
You're not going to get away with much if they audit you - no iPods, iSights, displays, basestations or stands etc - only warranty, RAM, Airport, or other internals such as a faster hard drive or graphics card. But that is a big IF - these are the decisions we have to make... :)

yinyang
7th September 2004, 01:13 PM
i included warranty, iCurve, keyboard and an iTrip, but the last three items definitely do not count!! i only read about the ATO rules after i had ordered everything, and the work financial controller didn't seem to mind - i suppose i'm hoping that ATO aren't going to chase me up on $65 that i shouldn't have claimed...!?

[sideways look] better not be any ATO people here...! [/sideways look]

Ozi
7th September 2004, 01:24 PM
My Dad is director of the ATO's fraud detection squad, sorry, Albert.

Expect a SWAT team to arrive at your house within the hour.

LMAO

Fedorenko
7th September 2004, 01:45 PM
Im getting a Powerbook 12" very soon (tonight if NextByte have stock in), the main selling point was the small form factor, considering that I plan to be very mobile with it.

I have to agree with others though, if you need upgradeability and more features, the 15" seems to be the way to go. What the 12" doesnt worry me though, anyhting is an improvement of the 600mhz Celeron I currently, to my shame, run :).

matttt88
7th September 2004, 03:52 PM
this might have already been said, but as the 12" doesnt have a PCMCIA slot you cant read flash cards from your camera, you can just use one of those USB hubs that have the card readers built in, i have seen some VERY small ones, like about the size of a matchbox car. so it wont be any bigger than having a PCMCIA card.

would like to know if these hubs work on a mac, i guess they do.. i need one for myself.

estoyloco
7th September 2004, 04:43 PM
matt8888 - regaurding the USB card readers.. they do work. you can also use the usb cable that came with your camera etc... the card readers dont even need to have drivers loaded, they just work.. i have used about 3 different ones that i can think of on my powerbook and they all worked fine

neji
8th September 2004, 10:27 AM
Originally posted by OziMac@Sep 7 2004, 12:24 PM
You're not going to get away with much if they audit you - no iPods, iSights, displays, basestations or stands etc - only warranty, RAM, Airport, or other internals such as a faster hard drive or graphics card. But that is a big IF - these are the decisions we have to make... :)
I figured as much. :(

But I did not know that warranty is covered, which means I will be considering adding in the 3 year apple care when I do get one. :)