Powerbook Damage Quotient
June 15, 2004 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Does anybody have one of the newest model PowerBooks? Is the screen as susceptible to damage from the keyboard as the early TiBooks were? I got one of the first TiBooks, and my screen got trashed almost instantly. Now I have a new PowerBook, and I'd really like to keep this screen from getting all marked up. I know some people were keeping cloth between the keyboard and the screen. That seems like a royal pain though, so I don't want to do it if there isn't any need. Is there a need?
posted by willnot to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
I have one of the not-new models but not-old models. That problem was fixed.
posted by dobbs at 1:52 PM on June 15, 2004

I had the same problem with my old iBook. I just purchased a new 15" PowerBook and also bought a RadTech screen protector. It was easy to get used to, and I haven't forgotten it once. To answer the question, yes, I think there is a need. This problem is not exclusive to Apple products.

On preview...dobbs, how exactly was the problem "fixed?" When a certain amount of pressure is applied to the closed machine the screen is susceptible to oils on the keyboard. I'm assuming this is the "damage" willnot is talking about.
posted by anathema at 1:55 PM on June 15, 2004

The felt looks like it would certainly work, but wouldn't a sheet of clear plastic over the screen be less of a pain? Something very transparent, not adhesive but perhaps held on by static? Something cheap you could buy by the dozen and throw away / replace every so often?
posted by scarabic at 2:09 PM on June 15, 2004

The nice thing about the RadTech protector is that it is made from a microfiber that is also really good for actually cleaning the screen, and you can toss it in the wash.
posted by anathema at 2:11 PM on June 15, 2004

My original TiBook had hand oils all over the screen, but the aluminum powerbook I've had for the past year is totally clean and fine, so it's not a problem anymore.
posted by mathowie at 2:12 PM on June 15, 2004

mathowie and dobbs: Do you often carry the machine in a bag that contains other things that in any way could apply pressure to the computer? Maybe I was wrong about it still being an issue.
posted by anathema at 2:15 PM on June 15, 2004

The Windex brand window cleaning wipes fit perfectly over the keyboard and are very thin. As a bonus, they are great for cleaning the screen while they are still wet.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:34 PM on June 15, 2004

If it's oils and not pressure, would something as simple as clingwrap around the screen help? It would probably look a little assy, but if some care were taken it might be possible.
posted by cCranium at 2:54 PM on June 15, 2004

I have a 1 ghz TiBook and I've noticed some key marks, but they seem to wipe off.
posted by hyperizer at 2:56 PM on June 15, 2004

All of the PowerBooks that I've had, from the Duo 280c on up, have had this problem. Well, "problem" is too strong of a word -- it's just a dirty screen. I clean off the screen and the keyboard every so often, and that does the trick.
posted by waldo at 2:57 PM on June 15, 2004

Ditto on Hyperizer's and Waldo's comments. Oil on, oil off. *removes head from gutter*
posted by Dick Paris at 3:13 PM on June 15, 2004

Mine, which is last year's 12" size 866.6MHz model, has no problems with this. If I have gunky hands and use the touchpad button, sometimes there's a light line on the screen from that, but it wipes away.

There are a pair of rubber feet at the top corners of the screen which prevent it from being closed against the keyboard or touchpad button.

The screen surface itself is highly susceptible to the slightest touch, though -- and is a pain in the ass to clean. Whatever Apple is using in front of the LCD doesn't clean as easily as your average panel.
posted by majick at 3:17 PM on June 15, 2004

One more word saying I've had no probs with this on my 12 inch Aluminum, whereas I did all the time on my iBooks that I owned before this.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:38 PM on June 15, 2004

I got my Powerbook 15" about six months ago. It's my first one and I don't actually take it anywhere yet (deploying in September and need it to do online courses). I don't use the keyboard right now, I use a separate Apple keyboard, and keep the laptop keyboard covered with a Marware cover that does a good job for $6.95. I don't know if there's really a need, but I'm getting one of those RadTech ones, it looks good. If you're carrying it in something I'd get a cheap outer sleeve as well.
posted by tetsuo at 4:42 PM on June 15, 2004

I hate that about my 15" TiBook. Drives me nuts. At work, I have a new 17" AlBook which I carry in a Timbuk2 Commute XL, which is not a particularly rigid nor well-padded bag, and I often carry bulky stuff in the main compartment, where it can push on the powerbook lid as I'm walking around with the bag bumping on my hip.

This problem has been fixed. With the exact same treatment (although different bags, because Crumpler sadly doesn't make a bag that fits the 17" PowerSlab just right), my old 15" gets the grease lines something fierce, and my 17", which I've had for 4 months, does not have them at all.

One thing is that the lid of the Aluminum PowerBooks is noticably thicker and has more of a lip around the screen. The keyboards also seem more recessed, probably in reponse to this problem. Don't get a screen protector, at least not to solve this problem.
posted by ulotrichous at 6:36 PM on June 15, 2004

I assumed that willnot was referring to the first gen of 15" tibooks, which were defective in that the lid was held a bit too tightly shut, causing the keys to make indentations in the screen. A few companies put out "protective [layers]" for $15 or so which would help. I didn't know people were having a problem with oils and whatnot. (Perhaps I misunderstood the prob with the 15" and it was the oils that were rubbing on the screen--however, I don't think I'm wrong about it being a matter of the lid closing too close to the keys).

As I said, mine is not first gen and I have no problems.

Those wondering how I transport it, I have a laptop sleeve and a Chrome bag. When on my bike, I put it in the sleeve and then in the Chrome (along with whatever else I need to transport). When just walking, I just use the sleeve.

When I bought my PB, I specifically asked about this issue and was told that it was sorted out and was only in the first gen 15" books.
posted by dobbs at 7:52 PM on June 15, 2004

Nice bag! I have a Chrome bag myself with the laptop sleeve, (which I have yet to use for my laptop..oh well). I also like the Bohemian..I think I learned about both of those here. For long trips, I'll use my Z3-SI.
posted by tetsuo at 7:53 PM on June 15, 2004

Also: I know a guy with a TiBook, one with tens of thousands of miles on it, and it looks like absolute crap. The screen is trashed, the metal coating is worn off in places, and it generally looks like it's been through hell and back.

I don't see evidence of any of that kind of damage on my aluminum model, nor signs that it's forthcoming.
posted by majick at 8:54 PM on June 15, 2004

If you're concerned about cleaning oils off the keyboard, I recommend getting an iSkin ProTouch PB. It's a clear silicone cover for the keyboard; I got one for my Ti and it's great. Keeps dust and hair and coffee out of the innards of your expensive lap warmer, too. Much easier to wipe down than individual dirty keys.
posted by bcwinters at 6:08 AM on June 16, 2004

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