WSJ's Mossberg Give 2 Thumbs Up To 12" PowerBook, Safari

If cute was its only selling point, then Apple would still have a winner in the new 12" PowerBook G4. Apple announced the new notebook at MWSF 2003, along with its bigger 17" brother. The new models are made from aircraft aluminum, and have been dubbed the AlBook.

In his latest column, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal notes that there are many other reasons to like the newest and tiniest PowerBook. He expounds on these reasons in this weekis column titled Smallest PowerBook Has Style, Size, Price to Make Apple Shine. Mr. Mossberg compares the little PB G4 to PC laptops that are similarly configured and finds that the PowerBook compares well. From the article:

Despite Appleis reputation for costliness, this little laptop is aggressively priced. To match its base configuration, plus Wi-Fi, for $1,899, youid have to pay a whopping $2,399 for a Portege 4010 at Toshibais online store.

At 4.6 pounds, the 12-inch PowerBook isnit the lightest full-featured notebook. The Portege weighs 4.2 pounds and Fujitsuis Lifebook P2000 weighs just 3.4 pounds, though it cheats a bit with a puny 10.6-inch screen and a cramped keyboard.

But the new Apple model is the most compact laptop Iive reviewed with an integrated optical drive and a full range of ports and networking features. Itis about 111 cubic inches. Even the tiny Fujitsu is 118 cubic inches and the Toshiba is 135 cubic inches.

The machine abounds with the kind of clever design touches for which Apple is known. CDs and DVDs are sucked into the machine through a slot, like in an auto CD player, so thereis no protruding tray. The rear hinge dips down so the screen sets lower than on other laptops, making it even more compact for use in tight spaces.

In my home, the machineis Wi-Fi wireless networking range was very good, and Appleis new Wi-Fi card and base station can handle the new "G" flavor of Wi-Fi, five times the speed of the original. Battery life was also strong. Apple claims up to five hours, but my tests indicated a likely life of around four, still excellent.

Mr. Mossberg also has a favorable opinion of Safari, Appleis new Web browser for Mac OS X. Check out the full article at the Wall Street Journalis online public Web site.

Note: The Wall Street Journal Online is a paid subscription service, but that this article is currently accessible by the public.