The Latest on My Tablet PC Obsession

If you've been reading this blog for a while now (that would be just you, Nadia!), then you'll know that I am rather obsessed with convertible tablet PCs. That is, I really, really, really want one. Why? Because convertible tablet PCs are everything that I want in a laptop computer at this point in time. That is, a keyboard that I can type on, a touch screen that I can write on, and a small and light form factor that I can easily carry around. The latest ones are also fast, powerful, and full-featured (ports, accessories, etc.). The only things missing in them -- a large display and a configuration suitable for gaming -- are better left to desktops anyway. I figured, therefore, that it was time for another tablet PC update. Why? Because Fujitsu and HP both recently released their latest tablet PC offerings: the T2010 and the 2710p respectively. And from all the reviews about them on the web, they're both excellent machines.

So here's my hypothetical issue (it's rather pathetic to have one, I know, but hey, if I can't fantasize about all this here, then where can I fantasize?). If I had the money to buy a tablet PC right now (let's say I won the lottery or something...God: hint, hint), which one would I get? I'm down to the following four choices:

  1. Lenovo ThinkPad X61t

  2. Fujitsu LifeBook T4220

  3. Fujitsu LifeBook T2010

  4. HP Compaq 2710p

And they're all really good. The problem is that, while they're all really good, they're all extra-specially good in different ways.

The Powerhouses

The Fujitsu T4220, for example, is the only one that has an on-board optical drive. It's also (by far) the most powerful of the bunch. However, it's also the most expensive. The Lenovo X61t, meanwhile, has the best keyboard (though the others are really good too), the longest battery life, the fastest hard drive, a really good processor, and the best extras. However, it has the the dimmest screen, no on-board optial drive, and, for the time being at least, is going through production problems. These two are also the heaviest of the bunch (though both are less than 2kg each).

The Lightweights

Meanwhile, both the Fujitsu T2010 and HP 2710p are incredibly light (about 1.5kg each), have excellent screens, good battery life, and aren't all that expensive. However, neither has an on-board optical drive (which means you have have to buy, and then carry one, with you separately) and both have low-power (i.e. slightly less powerful) processors. The 2710p also has the slowest hard drive. On the other hand, it's the only one with a wide screen. It's also the cheapest of the lost, and, apparently, has the best "tablet PC experience" of the lot as well.

Confused? Hong Kong Phooey made a really nice comparison table that shows each tablet's strengths and weaknesses graphically. That might help. The discussion below that posting is quite good too.

More Data, Mr. Spock!

Want to know craploads more? Check out the following video reviews on

Or the following text reviews listed on Tablet PC Review (except for the last two that haven't been added to the listing there yet):

Analysis, Mr. Data?

So what does this all mean? Which would I finally choose? Well, when you compare the four, the first (and most obvious) grouping splits the bunch into features and raw, number-crunching performance (X61t & T4220) versus display quality and overall tablet PC experience (T2010 & 2710p). I generally prefer performance over everything else since I want to be able to edit audio & video and run processor- & RAM-intensive programs like Dreamweaver and Paint Shop Pro on my laptop. This would be true even if I did end up buying a desktop on which I could play high-end computer games etc. And, really, I don't mind the extra half-kilo of weight. That eliminates the two lightweights and narrows my choice down to the two powerhouses: the X61t and the T4220.

Next, if push came to shove, I'd probably pick the Fujitsu over the Lenovo. Why? Because, even though the Fujitsu is the most expensive of the lot, it does have the most features. If I get the SXGA screen (i.e. the higher resolution one) and up the hard drive to 7,200RPM (i.e. the fastest one; if possible), for example, I undo most of the Lenovo's advantages. I won't get the Lenovo's excellent battery life in the standard configuration, yes, but I will get the most versatility thanks to the Fujitsu's modular bay drive that can hold an extra battery, the optical drive, or, to reduce weight, nothing. And I like versatility.

Oh, and I get a few bonuses with it too: the control key is the bottom-left-most key on the keyboard (a big plus in my book), there's a touch pad instead of a track point stick, and the docking bay includes an HDMI port (which makes for better viewing on large, external monitors). Fujitsu is also supposed to have the best service and support.

So there. I've decided then. I am hypothetically going to get the Fujitsu LifeBook T4220P (the P is the more powerful of the two models) as my next laptop. Now I just need the money for it. Which basically means that I won't be able to actually get this till next year (assuming, of course, that I have a job by then). Oh, and Dell will have have come out with its tablet PC by then too. That should really shake the industry up and, as a result, I will get to make one more posting about my little obsession here. Yippee! :) Till next time...