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After buying my twelve inch beast all those weeks ago I considered doing a point–by–point comparison of the 12" PowerBook and some other 12" notebook, in the same vein as the G5/Xeon shootout, just to see if the claims were true; that Apple’s notebooks are great value compared to the competition. But alas, I grew lazy.

Well, here it is. The Apple PowerBook G4 versus the IBM ThinkPad X31.

Apple PowerBook G4 versus IBM ThinkPad X31
Display12.1" TFT, with a natural resolution of 1024×768 pixels12.1" TFT, with a natural resolution of 1024×768 pixels
Case dimensions10.9" × 8.6" × 1.18"10.7" × 8.8" × 1.19"
Processor1GHz PowerPC G4 with a 512K L2 cache1.4GHz Pentium M with a 1MB L2 cache
Hard disk drive40GB Ultra ATA/10040GB ATA/100
Optical drive“Combo drive” DVD–ROM/CD–RW“Combo IV” DVD–ROM/CD–RW
VideoNVIDIA GeForce FX Go 5200 (32MB DDR), with video outATI Mobility Radeon (16MB DDR), with video out
Wired Connectivity56k modem, 10/100 Ethernet, 1 FireWire 400 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports56k modem, 10/100 Ethernet, 1 FireWire 400 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports
InputFull–size keyboard, touchpadFull–size keyboard, trackpoint
Wireless connectivity“AirPort Extreme” 802.11g, Bluetooth“Intel PRO” 802.11b, infrared
Operating systemMac OS X 10.3Windows XP Professional
Bundled softwareiLife ‘04 (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand), QuickBooks, FAXstf, Art Directors Toolkit, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, Graphic ConverterPC–Doctor, IBM Rapid Restore PC, Norton AntiVirus 2003, Access IBM
Price (USD)$1698.00$1799.00

Evidently, there’s room for bickering amongst the two. One born Macintosh, the other born Wintel; one with a touchpad, the other a trackpoint (or ‘nipple’ for those in the habit of anthropomorphizing their computers); one adheres to the 802.11g standard, the other 802.11b. I could go on for… oh, minutes more.

the 12–inch Apple PowerBook

To my eyes, the PowerBook has but one inferior quality: it’s a pound heavier. Ouch. A whole pound. Then again, when you’re buying an ultra–portable notebook, a pound might matter; of course, so might Bluetooth, or Wi–Fi that’s five times faster, or the world’s most advanced operating system, or $101, or bundled software that encourages its owner to do things with his computer instead of shielding him from his computer.

But hey, I’m biased, and you knew that already. Time for bed.