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Review: PowerBook G4 17 inch

I’m guilty of procrastination – more guilty than most, so when a device comes along that can help with my time management issues, I definitely take note. Apple’s newest laptop offering, the 17-inch,1.33 GHz PowerBook G4 is as stunning as it is efficient, and efficiency is extremely helpful when you’re constantly running behind.

Heck, I’m running behind right now – this article was supposed to have been completed months ago, but as has become the justification de jour of procrastinators ’round the world, “I was busy with other things.” Yeah, we’ll stick with that.

With a 1.33GHz processor under its hood, the new 17″ PowerBook G4 is able to blaze through tasks, both mundane and monstrous. Whether you need to use a computer to surf the internet, edit photographs, write recipes or perform mission critical business operations, the Apple PowerBook G4 is more than capable.

But there’s a lot more to the newest PowerBook G4 than a pumped-up processor. Users will enjoy upgraded graphics hardware, 512MB of standard memory, a 167MHz bus speed, and as of November 1, 2003, Apple’s latest operating system, “Panther” (OS 10.3). The ultra-thin (28mm or about 1″) also includes a 5400rpm, 80GB hard drive, Apple’s famous SuperDrive (capable of burning DVD media at up to 2x and burning CD media at up to 16x), and a slew of other goodies.

PC makers have tried to emulate the PowerBook’s strengths, but frankly, most have failed miserably. 17″ versions from the PC makers are big, clunky, inefficient and seem to run disturbingly warm. Our 17″ PowerBook was thin, light, fast and never even got warm to the touch – something that our laps were especially thankful for. And while PC’s may boast bigger numbers on paper, computers don’t run on paper.

Other nice touches from Apple include the backlit keyboard that automatically senses low-light conditions by responding with a soft-white hue from each key’s character. This is especially appreciated when using the laptop in say, the bedroom, at say, around 2AM while your wife is sleeping and you’re frantically trying to complete a late article…not that I’d know anything about that…ahem.

We’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that one of the nicest features of the 17″ PowerBook G4 is its 17″ widescreen display. With a native resolution of 1,440 x 900 pixels spread across 17″ of diagonal ultra-sharp widescreen LCD, images don’t just appear on the screen, they pop. Movies, text, games, and photos are sharp, clear, bright and beautiful. Watching a movie on the 17″ PowerBook G4 is like having your own personal screening room – it’s truly an awesome experience, and can make cross-country flights in coach painless and enjoyable (well, that’s stretching the truth a bit).

Despite all of the power and size, the PowerBook is frugal with the electricity. We managed to obtain nearly three hours of battery life while watching a DVD (with sound level set to 70%), and more than 5 hours of battery life while performing normal, routine tasks like composing and sending e-mail, surfing the web, and so on.

Never before has there been a laptop computer that’s combined so much beauty, performance, stability and efficiency in a masterfully crafted package, but Apple is used to being the first to introduce what later becomes “the standard.” If you’re in the market for a laptop, give the Apple PowerBook G4 a serious look. Combined with the Panther operating system, the 17″, 1.33GHz PowerBook G4 is a force to be reckoned with. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some other articles to tend to…good thing the PowerBook is fired-up and eager to help.

About Steve Litscher

Steve Lutscher Avatar
Food connoisseur, car guy, tech geek and dog lover.
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