Originally Posted by emorphien
What you may be missing is the distinction between designed elegance and engineering design to put it plainly. The Powerbooks and iBooks are beautifully designed but unfortunately the design somewhat ends there. In actuality the iBooks will tend to hold up better than the powerbook, that plastic casing (although easy to scratch) is more resilient to harder hits.
But for some examples of equally durable machines, if you can get past some which creak and some which look cheap there are plenty of Dells I'd compare to the powerbooks. The 700m has similarly flimsy hinges and flexing display, but the casing itself is quite sound. Acer makes some nice laptops whose names I'll never get straight that are also comparable.
In terms of better (or overengineered) look at thinkpads, any of them is really a good example of a well thought out case. Then there the toughbooks, some are similar to the powerbooks in that they're to an extent designed to be pretty. The confusion there comes from the fact that their portable line called "Lets Note" outside of the US is also called Toughbook in the US. Another good example of well built notebooks would surprisingly be the HP business models which are quite resilient and many are quite thin and portable. Again I'll never get their names straight but most start with NC for the ones I'm familiar with.
There are other odds and ends that are out there but those are just some examples. The Powerbooks are average, maybe a little better (there is a LOT of crap out there), and the iBooks are a touch above but they are designed more for elegance than anything else. Just looking at the design of the titanium powerbooks and that would be pretty apparent (the screen housing was woefully inadequate).
Thank you, bit of work, but you finally answered my original question. I wanted to get concrete examples, specific PC brands/models which match or surpass the aesthetic/build quality of the Powerbooks. What do people recommend based on their experience? What's out there that's going to get me to spend $2000 plus on something else. Yes, a lot has to do with simply the "LOOK". But if the exterior is any indication of what the interior is like, then I would definitely side with the Apples.
If you are rating the powerbook at slightly above average, which would be a 6 out of 10. And you say that "there is a LOT of crap out there" which translates to a rating of 2 maybe 3 for most other laptops on the market. Then we are on the same page about what is generally marketed to the average consumer...Not their money's worth!
The few that you rate "high" are the Thinkpads, business HPs and Toughbooks. Based on my experiences, I would rate the Thinkpad at 7 in durability and really low in looks. Sure, the rubber coating gives it that extra protection factor, but it does nothing for it aesthetically. HP is the biggest offender in the boom-box style, multi-colored lights scatter all over it's plastic casing issue. Plus, I question their durability. I've researched the Toughbooks in the pass. Honestly, I have never seen anyone with one of these. Sure, they are the Hum-V of laptops. But realistically, I'm not going to buy a Toughbook for the same reason I'm not going to buy a Hum-V. And take a good look at the Toughbook-29. I can't believe that these machines are geared towards the average consumer.
I'll do more research on these brands/models that you suggested. But I'm going to judge the (power) book by it's cover. Apple's "attention to detail" on the outside will dictate to me the level of quality on the inside.