Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Hardware quality

A couple of people mentioned poor build quality of Mac hardware. Let me add some comments about the PowerBook.
  • The keyboard is certainly the worst keyboard I've ever owned, and it is one of the worst keyboards I've ever seen. (I'm not just talking about quirky Mac layout issues, which are irritating, but not unexpected.) Sadly, it looks like a great keyboard. It is silver, and shiny, and blends in with the case, and has a backlight that comes on automatically. But none of that means anything when the keys start falling off. At the moment, the ‘Enter’ key cap is falling off about fortnightly. Evidently, Apple knows the keyboards are crap, since they provide comprehensive instructions for replacing the key caps.
  • This is not Mac-specific, but the LCD screen has at least one pixel that's either dead or only partly functional. (I say it might be partly functional, because I've seen much more obviously dead pixels than this one. In fact, it was weeks before I saw it at all, so it either died post-purchase, or it's really quite hard to see. Or both.)
  • Again, this is not Mac-specific, but power switches which are not binary switches but ‘switches that send a request to toggle the state of the power supply unit’ really annoy me. Of course, I can understand the arguments for them. For example, they allow the computer to display nice dialogs like, ‘Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?’ rather than destroying the work you forgot to save. However, they're not so good, in my opinion anyway, for troubleshooting power supply issues. A few times, the PowerBook has inexplicably locked itself off (I suspect due to overheating issues involving air vent obstruction—don't ask). In this situation, the power button tells you nothing about what the computer is doing or is trying to do. Of course, the same kind of power buttons have been on PCs since the ATX case, so I am probably alone on this issue.
There's nothing too alarming here. Even the key issue doesn't bug me enough to get it repaired. Frankly, it would not be worth the cost of being without the PowerBook for the length of time it took to replace the keyboard. I've got replacing the key down to a couple of minutes.

1 comment:

  1. You can hold down the power button to force it to work regardless of any software.

    I don't have the keyboard issues that you do, and think it's one of the better laptop keyboards I've used.

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