Apple 12-inch PowerBook a great on-the-go machine, offers firm punch in a little package

“At first sight, the smallest of Apple’s Powerbooks does look too small to get any real work done. However… that diminutive [12-inch] screen is no impediment to getting stuff out the chute,” Chris Oaten writes for The Advertiser. “There was just one thing I found frustrating. Window scrolling. The biggest drawback of a small screen is the frequency with which you need to see window contents that fall outside the frame of view.”

“So the first thing I tried with the review model was a feature new to all the Powerbooks – trackpad scrolling. No need to mouse to and click on the scroll bar arrows to move about your document or webpage. Now you can simply drag two fingertips together across the trackpad in the up, down or sideways scroll action you need,” Oaten writes. “It has a very shallow learning curve and, once you have the motion right, it is a snap to use. It is a very welcome addition. Combine trackpad scrolling with trackpad clicking, and the need to reach for the click button diminishes.”

“The result is far speedier navigation through Finder and application windows. You can take it one step further, too, by enabling fingertip click-dragging, but this feature takes a lot of practice, as double-tapping with the wrong action on, for instance, the top bar of a window, will minimise the window instead of priming it for dragging,” Oaten writes. “The review unit presented no problems at all with the two-finger scrolling feature.”

“Performance-wise, the review unit with its 1.5Ghz G4 processor, 512Mb RAM (standard), 512Kb L2 cache, Airport card, SuperDrive and 80Gb HD is marginally speedier than earlier models, offering a firm punch in a little package. It is very well suited to common tasks and, I expect, would make a great on-the-go machine for a web developer armed with Macromedia’s MX suite,” Oaten writes. “With an excellent software bundle, including the latest version of iLife, the 12in Powerbook is a tempting option for anyone looking for a highly portable computing solution.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Using Apple PowerBook’s motion sensor feature as an input device – March 21, 2005
Apple offers special deals on Apple Certified Power Mac G5, PowerBook, iBook, iMac G5, and more – March 19, 2005
How to run a Mac OS X PowerBook or iBook; no shut downs, restarts, or quitting applications – March 16, 2005
Apple’s newest PowerBooks still ‘the Rolls-Royce of laptops’ – March 03, 2005
Apple unveils faster PowerBooks starting at $1499 with ‘scrolling TrackPad, Sudden Motion Sensor’ – January 31, 2005

21 Comments

  1. When I used the new scroolpads at the Apple store I was only partially impressed. The scroll feature is amazingly elegant and easy to use, but the other trackpad features took a hit. Set at the highest speed the school pards are noticably slugish compared to my 1.5 year old Al PB. It was slow enough to the point that I could not navigate across the entire screen without having to lift my finger, as I have been able to for years on previous Apple trackpads. Also the scroolpad does not suport trackpad clicking. Once Apple gets these kinks worked out, I will want to upgrade, but until then it seems like a step back.

  2. I’m thinking that my next computer might just be one of these 12 inch powerbooks. (This’d be awhile – I’m mostly having a pleasant dream here.) What has me thinking this way is seeing how good these little 12-inchers drive cinema screens in my local Apple store. So with a cinema screen and bluetooth mouse and keyboard, it’s a great home system. And then when I travel, I’d just detach the little guy, take it with me, and all my files would be up to date. Sweet dream, huh? Any of you out there already doing this?

  3. In order to drive the 30″ display, I believe you would need the 15 or 17-inch PowerBook. Still, the 12 would have no problem running the 20″ or 23″…

  4. macnut222:

    I realized that after I posted. I am so used to it, I forget that it isn’t the default. Thanks. But do you find the scroolpads as slugish as I do, or am I crazy?

  5. “…What has me thinking this way is seeing how good these little 12-inchers drive cinema screens in my local Apple store. So with a cinema screen and bluetooth mouse and keyboard, it’s a great home system. And then when I travel, I’d just detach the little guy, take it with me, and all my files would be up to date. Sweet dream, huh? Any of you out there already doing this?”

    This is my set-up! I bought the 12″ Powerbook last February and a new 20″ Cinema Display this February. I couldn’t believe how good games and DVDs look! And all that wide-screen goodness makes using iWork and iLife all that much better!!

    All this set-up needs is a remote control, and I’d never have to leave my room!! (Which, I guess, would defeat the purpose of having such a compact and elegant machine!)

  6. lenzcap:

    I’ve only played with the feature a little bit at the Apple Store and I noticed that it does feel a bit sluggish. Don’t worry, you’re not crazy.

    What’s weird is that I own an older PowerBook (1.33 GHz 17″) and I use the hack that allows scrolling trackpads on older models (as well as an iBook G4 at work) and the feature works dramatically better on those ‘unsupported’ models. If this is the case, I think it might be a driver issue. I hope that’s what the problem is. It’s much easier to install a driver update than it is to send it out to a repair center (or wait at an Apple Store)

  7. macnut222:

    There is a hack for the 2 finger scrolling that I can use on my 15″ PB 1.25 GHz ?!?!?! I have been keeping my eyes open for this, how did I miss it, and more importantly how can I get it???

  8. macnut222.

    you can download iscroll 2 at http://www-users.kawo2.rwth-aachen.de/~razzfazz/ it works really well on my ibook G4. No problems that I can tell. I’ve been using it for about a month or so.

    Sacharissa

    When you use a powerbook to drive a moniter, is it necessary to have it open? or can you close it once you connect it to the monitor? Also can you do this with an ibook or just with a pb?

  9. Oh, but I should mention that sidetrack is not two finger. You use programable areas of the trackpad for scrolling so you only need one finger. You can also designate areas of the the pad for different clicks so you can get a right click too. Works pretty good.

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