Which PowerBook?

I’ve been looking over the new PowerBook offerings. My desktop (dual 500mhz G4) is still fast enough to handle the 3 megapixel photos I’m getting from my cameras, but my PowerBook (400mhx G4) is not as snappy as I’d like and it’s getting about time to think about upgrading sometime this year. Unfortunately, each of the three available PowerBooks has at least one significant drawback.

Let’s check them out:

The 12″ model looks like a metal iBook, and it shares some characteristics of the iBook but it is definitely in the PowerBook class. Three big things that I don’t like about this model are: (1) RAM maxes out at 640mb, (2) No PCMCIA slot, (3) No DVI support. Also, I’d like to have the backlit keyboard, the faster superdrive, a faster hard drive and FireWire 800. A couple reasons I really like this model are the compact size and more rugged case.

The 15″ PowerBook is basically the same as what I have now and suffers from the same poor wireless range. Also, it does not have 802.11g, internal Bluetooth support or FireWire 800. Hopefully when it is updated we’ll see these features and the backlit keyboard.

The 17″ PowerBook has everything but it is HUGE. The 15″ model is already pushing it in my opinion in terms of screen size-to-thickness ratio. The 17″ model is really too big and heavy to be a carry with you everywhere machine although it is great for people who basically need to be able to pack their desktop with them. It has all the bells and whistles and my only knock on it is the size (and perhaps lack of numeric keypad since there is space).

Right now, if I had to pick one, I’d probably go for the 12″ or the 15″ model – but actually neither is compelling enough to make me want to upgrade. If the 12″ model was running at 1ghz, it would be a bit more tempting. But I think bringing the new features to the 15″ model would be pretty much ideal.

All in all, I guess I’m waiting for the next model revisions and hoping they come out soon before my planned traveling in late May.