Pros: Durable with good power in a compact size! Great screen quality! It's a Mac!
Cons: Can be expensive! Save by purchasing used online. Watch for Logic Board issues...
The 1.07 GHz - 768 MG DRAM G4 Ibook (A 1054) is simply fantastic! I'm a graphic artist and thought I would have some limitations with regards to running some of the really ram-intensive digital imaging programs like Photoshop and Tiger, but this Mac really performs! If you must buy used and on a budget, choose the white Ibook G4 over the earlier low-powered and slower G3 Ibook and those nearly useless "clam-shell" style 1999 - 2000 laptops. The 1.07 GHz G4 is far more powerful than the G3 models and will run Tiger as well as the Adobe CS3 suite so long as you don't open too many applications at once.
I am able to run Photoshop, InDesign simultaneously without problem (web browsers turned off as needed). And the CPU processing speed is far better than on my older 600 MHz G3 Ibook. The 1.07 GHz makes a big difference, putting you into the "power user" range of things. The keyboard is far superior to the G3 keyboard which never seemed to seat properly into the laptop and felt flimsy. This keyboard with its slight matte rough finish is easier to type on with less slide and seats properly into laptop. The Airport Extreme card is faster and the extra RAM is indeed a plus. The G4 Ibook features slot opening CD/ DVD access, which is a great improvement over the cumbersome slide-out tray set-up on the G3 series.
The 12.1" TFT active matrix screen is ample for my use and the smaller, compact size makes this notebook lighter and easier to carry with less risk of dropping it. The "Ooopps-I-dropped-it!" factor in my opinion is more of a problem with the larger, heavier laptop/ notebooks which can get cumbersome in real life day-to-day situations. I'd just rather use a full size workstation when working large files rather than having a giant 15" laptop. Screen image/ brightness quality is excellent on the G4 12" Ibook, and I have not had any of the video loss/ screen hinge problems associated with some of the G3-G4 Ibooks.
Another reviewer mentioned the advantages of having a laptop that does not scream "laptop!" in terms of size and form factor. I think the Apple Ibook 12" does the trick. No un-needed bells and whistles! I carry mine protected in one of those heavy-duty foam, fitted zippered sleeves. I then put that down inside of a plain or business tote bag or backpack, avoiding using those showy "steal me!" laptop shoulder bags unless traveling heavily - needing the extra protection. The G4 12" Ibook is so versatile, well made and nice looking. There are so many quiet yet smart aspects to the Ibook. Many you notice as you begin to use the computer. Such as the way the Apple Ibook manages power consumption allowing for frugal battery use.
I can get 3 hours battery power out of mine, even while working and listening to music. Apple engineering is excellent re. the battery life indicator light right on the battery, on screen and elsewhere. With the laptop closed you need only look under the laptop, press a button to see battery strength. A pulsing indicator light comes on when the computer is in sleep mode at the front of the unit. And the "green" full battery full indicator on the Apple AC power cord is helpful. Nice engineering Apple! Try to find this kind of convenience on your favorite Dell (smile!).
Also with my Ibook model A 1054 Ibook, I can close it or put it into "Sleep" mode without losing wireless connection! If I close or sleep mode my other Ibooks they automatically loose wireless internet connection and forcing me to completely reconnect again for access. I am not certain how the the A1054 does this or if its a function of the Airport Extreme wireless card, but I love it. I have two used Ibooks that all connect wirelessly without problem on one Apple router (Airport Extreme model). Over all my internet seems faster, most stable and consistent on this Ibook.
Regarding hard drive space and drives. Well, I am kinda odd about that. I actually prefer the smaller 40 GIG HD as it forces me to keep things archived and burned-off onto CDs/ flash drives etc. Especially considering the high incidences of theft associated with laptop computers - even when you're careful!! Yet the 40 is better than 20 GIGs that are standard to the G3 series laptop configurations. My model has the CD-RW/ DVD combo "slot" access setup (no more balky pop-open trays) which means you burn CDs, read data from a DVD and of course play DVDs! I am pretty dull in the "entertainment" arena computer-wise, but it's nice to have the option. On occasion, I listen to audio files and the speakers are not remarkable, but the G4 Ibook speakers are better than earlier laptops models. You can hook up external speakers too.
My 1.07 GHz - 768 MG DRAM G4 Ibook was purchased used and shows a bit of wear, but amazingly the white case and housing retains its classic looks and unique style which set this laptop apart from others in the pack! I miss the unique semi-transparent white housing that the G3 Ibooks have and the LCD frame seems a bit cheapy and "plasticky". Yet despite the plainer white case, this Mac is easy to keep clean, and I only have to get at my keyboard with alcohol on a paper towel once in a while. As mentioned the feel of the keyboard is excellent for a laptop, and my touch pad works flawlessly.
So far my G4 Ibook runs cooler than my G3 Ibook does and some units suffer from a logic board issue possibly associated with heat. The fan exhaust section at the lower left is sometimes obstructed by my hand picking it up, stabilizing and balancing it on my lap as I am a lefty, so I have to take care to keep that area un-obstructed. The potential logic board problem keeps me diligent about archival back-up in case of a board burn out. Fortunately, replacement logic boards and other parts are available on Ebay etc.
Overall, the Apple Ibook G4 notebook is a great entry level computer for moderately complex digital and power user projects and graphics or accessing/ downloading music files etc. It is the next best thing to the newer Apple Powerbook! It's a Mac, so you're way ahead of the game in terms of not having the worry about viruses day and night! Wow!! Regarding connectivity, just add a USB hub for more access, but you get two high speed USB's and a Firewire port.
Both the Airport Extreme card and Airport Extreme base station (that I already had) work well and set up was extremely easy with Apple's built in software. It was basically take it out the box, plug it up and play - with instant internet access via the wireless set up that is part of the Mac OS X! Try that on a PC! Hah! I know I will upgrade to the current Apple Macbook, but for now I am absolutely happy with my little G4 Ibook powerhouse!
Spend the extra bucks on the the model A1054, 1.07 GHz - 768 Ram G4 Ibook (instead of the 800 MHz - 256 Ram slower model). The new Leopard OS X requires 800 MHz minimum to run, so the extra power is well worth the money!!