Monday, December 11, 2006

new arrival in the mac museum.

I recently horse-traded for yet another old Powerbook, and this one is sort of a rare catch.

It's a Powerbook 2400c, the smallest and lightest Powerbook ever made. Apple commissioned IBM to make the 2400c for the Japanese market after doing some research to find out what Japanese users wanted in their laptops. After the American user community expressed interest in a flyweight notebook, Apple relented and released the 2400c in the United States as well, but to date, this little Powerbook is the only Apple notebook only sold in two countries.

The 2400cs were all made between May of 1997 and March of 1998, so they're both technologically obsolete and not very common on the used market. The availability is further limited by the fact that the 2400c is a cult favorite among Macheads, and many owners don't let go of working examples.

The one I managed to snag is pretty much pristine, with very little wear overall, and the original battery even holds a two-hour charge. The 2400c is extremely well put together, made by IBM for Apple during IBMs ThinkPad glory days, and the build quality is outstanding. The screen is only a little over 10 inches in the diagonal, but it's a very sharp and brilliant active-matrix LCD, and the keyboard sports the same scissors-action switches as the later "Wallstreet" Powerbook, generally regarded as having the best keyboard of any laptop ever.

Due to its size and lightness, it has no CD or floppy (the floppy drive was an external option). It's only about the size of a sheet of A4 paper, and so light that toting one around is like lugging an oversized paperback. My 8-pound Wallstreet looks and feels like a behemoth next to the 2400c.

Here's a picture of the 2400c next to my Powerbook G3 "Wallstreet". The 2400c was made some time in 1997, and the Wallstreet dates back to 1998. Both are in perfect working condition, and they run Microsoft Word just as well as a brand new laptop. For portable word processing, they're perfect, more affordable and way more stylish than anything sitting on the shelf at ChumpUSA today. And with their WiFi cards, they can both surf the web without wires as well.

Here at Munchkin Wrangler Central, we embrace the obsolete. The old Powerbooks are classics, and there's a reason why a 1997-era Powerbook will still fetch a c-note or two on eBay while its PC laptop contemporaries are in landfills by now. They're sort of like longer the flashiest kid on the block, and considered ancient by some, they still get the job done in a satisfyingly minimalist fashion.

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