August 25, PowerBook 5300 Introduced

by Chris Seibold Aug 25, 2010

The PowerBook 5300 was one computer Mac users thought they would love. The machine featured the first PowerPC in a laptop, was reasonably small and came in a variety of configurations custom made for any budget.

What seemed like a sure hit soon became a laughing stock. First, the batteries overheated causing fires in very rare cases. Secondly, while the machine sported a PowerPC chip performance was hobbled. To make matters even worse, the case was pure evil: chipping, cracking and necessitating a recall by Apple.

Unlucky users could start snapping up the PowerBook 5300 when Apple released the laptop on August 25, 1996.


  • I was one of those people who bought a 5300CS. It was my first laptop purchase and I was really excited. I had to return it to Apple 3 times in less than 3 months. However, I have to say it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for Apple. They were great about fixing it and shipping it back overnight.

    In fact I still have the laptop today and its working great. I’m running OS 8.5 and I use it occasionally for old times sake.

    I thought about trying to sell it but I’m going to keep it to show my kids one day what and old computer looks like.

    Christopher had this to say on Aug 25, 2006 Posts: 2
  • I was one of those UN-lucky people who got saddled with SUPPORTING that particular gem when it popped up at the office I was working in at the time. The weakest link to me wasn’t all the little OS-errors that kept filling my call list, it was the hardware itself…particularly that weak power supply plug that, if bumped laterally even a little bit, could break off internally on the mother board, requiring yet another shipment back to Apple for repairs.

    tao51nyc had this to say on Aug 25, 2006 Posts: 45
  • You may have worked on My 5300 because it was sent back, for a screen replacement, and the power supply issue. It was returned with a new motherboard the 3rd time around. Like I said I thought you guys did a great job with the repairs and turn around times. I never thought I would get to say it but thank you.

    Christopher had this to say on Aug 25, 2006 Posts: 2
  • I had one of thesee things, went back three time: power supply, plastics and the motherboard. Worst! Laptop! Ever!

    Chris Seibold had this to say on Aug 25, 2006 Posts: 354
  • I had one of these suckers, too, and I’m pretty sure I bought it in 1995.  It’s consistently rated as one of the five worst Macs ever, and it’s deserving of that.  Apple was great about sending it back quickly when I had to send it in for repairs, and they even finally replaced my original with an upgraded model that was less crappy, but owning it still sucked.
    I finally learned how to solder that fragile power supply socket back on myself…

    jot had this to say on Aug 25, 2006 Posts: 2
  • Before these came out, I had a PowerBook, but when I saw how bad my friend’s 5300 was, I stayed away from Apple’s laptops until the iBook DV (a very good laptop).

    soft_guy had this to say on Aug 25, 2006 Posts: 21
  • I bought a new 5300 in fall 1996 when I started grad school. During the next year Apple had to replace almost every internal component due to successive failures. This caused me great angst since I was without a laptop for long periods of time in a deadline-driven MBA program. Finally in late 1998 Apple replaced it with a PowerBook 1400-which to date has been the most trouble-free and stable Apple product I have owned. It did not dampen my enthusiasm for Apple products. Incedently, almost 10 years later Apple recently replaced my problem-plagued iBook with a MacBook, but it took about 1 year for the process as did with the PowerBook 5300. I have had no such problems with any of the many other Apple products I have owned, so all in all I have to give them good marks for customer service-although I wonder if I received preferential treatment because I have ACDT, ACPT, ACHDS certifications.

    StevoR had this to say on Aug 26, 2007 Posts: 1
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