Any recommendation for a Tablet or Convertable Noteboks?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by YS2003, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. YS2003 macrumors 68020


    Dec 24, 2004
    Finally I have arrived.....
    I am interested in the tablet or convertable notebook PCs. If you have been using a tablet PC, please comment on its performance, reliability, battery, and usability.

    I read good reviews on Fujitsu Lifebook T4010, Acer TravelMate C300 or new C200 (with a sliding mechanism instead of the hinge), Lenovo X41, and HP tc4200. They all support minimum of 40 GB and Intel M chip.

    Also, can users hand write on the screen as input method (instead of keyboard) for any Tablet PCs? I saw at Fujitsu's website, some of their models are "Pen Based" and "touch screen" only, while they also list "tablet PC" model under a different category.

    I am interested in the reliabile (sturdy) and decent performance at the less than 5 lb package (as a max weight).
  2. ozone macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    YS2003... I have used a previous generation tablet PC, a Compaq TC1000, and right now am using an HP TC4200. The TC4200 is a convertible style tablet which allows you to type and/or write by rotating the screen and flipping it over. I suggest you consider this style if you are a touch typist. If you're not, consider a 'slate' style. All slates can be purchased with optional docking stations.

    The TC4200 is a very nice tablet: it is several hundred dollars cheaper than the Lenovo X41 and has higher optional specs for speed, HD, etc. It's keyboard is excellent: almost as good as the legendary IBM keyboards. The track point is acceptable. The touch pad is very good and the palm surfaces are very durable. It comes in at 4.5 lbs (with battery). I can get about 4 hours continuous use out of it. The unit is very sturdy and handsome in an understated way.

    That being said, the Lenovo X41 is yet another half pound lighter and said to be "built like a rock". If I had to complain, I wish the TC4200 has a built in optical drive. When I travel, I have to toss in a portable DVD/CD unit into my luggage. If this is important for you, then consider the Fujitsu T4020.

    ALL true tablet PCs allow you you to write on the screen like a pad of paper. It comes in very handy for marking exams, papers, correspondence, etc. Your confusion from Fujitsu is not surprising: they don't make it easy for the consumer to figure out. A tablet PC is what you're looking for because it has an active digitizer and requires a special pen: all of them now use Wacom based digitizers. A 'pen enabled' laptop in contrast has a passive digitzer screen: think PDA stylus input which means the stylus is nothing more than a molded stick - a finger even works. It's okay, but not as good. There is a third variation in which Fujitsu and Sony each released one model that had an active digitizer scheme, but used a third party input setup other than the Windows Tablet edition. These apparently worked okay, but I think you're better off with a true tablet PC.

    Microsoft OneNote is quite a powerful app, but it really shines with a tablet and I suggest you check it out as it is probably the number 1 or 2 tablet application used by all tablet users. It's like a virtual notebook with endless files and folders you can set up, and you can import documents to then mark up, set reminder flags, etc.

    The usability of a tablet should not be underrated. I know many forum members here have bashed tablets in the past, but they are very, very useful to many people and only now are hitting the mainstream. If you attend meetings frequently and in small settings, it's often rude to type. Furthermore, I and others find that 'typing notes' is not as effective as taking handwritten notes: you just think better and key in on the major points with handwriting. Even better, you can manipulate your handwritten notes and even search them as is without converting to text. I leave most of my handwritten notes as is. You don't have to haul around endless or battered up journals or notebooks and you can back them up your electronic notes in a snap. The best is if somebody sends you office document type files. If you have MS Office, you can mark them up in ink as you a hardcopy, and then fire it back: all without having to print out a single sheet of paper! Artists can use tablets effectively: there are several very impressive free hand sketching and painting programs out there. I believe there is even a program now that allows musicians to write scores by hand. Even better, tablets can make use of several 'free form' type programs that allow you to map out and link ideas and concepts, much like you can on a whiteboard.

    That being said, a tablet PC is not a perfect paperless experience.
    1. Sometimes, a piece of paper is just more convenient. For a quick note, a piece of paper is always 'on'. Standby and hiberation a la Windows is not as good as Mac. And if you think about it... you're paying several thousand to do the same thing as a 99 cent pad of paper.
    2. It's not exactly the same feel as writing on paper: a good pen and a decent paper pad have just the right friction. Writing on tablet feels more slick. It varies by model.
    3. It can be awkward to compare documents. You're restricted to whatever is on your screen. Unless you have a spanned monitor set up to show different things on a monitor and your tablet screen, you still have to print something out so that you can look at while you take notes on your tablet if you're working with more than one document.
    4. It's Windows. I have to say Microsoft really is pushing ahead with their tablet system and has done a pretty good job: it will be mainstream in a few years. However, while the tablet FUNCTIONALITY is great, it suffers from the same problems as any Windows system: viruses, crashes, lock ups. It's not any worse or better - it is what it is. I personally look forward to the day when Apple puts out their own tablet. If you look at my other posts, I have been - and continue to - seriously consider the Mac platform.

    If you want more information, check out: (look for tablet links)

    Both are excellent sites for information, reviews on models, forum support, and insights on how to maximize the use of a tablet.

    Good luck.

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