I have once again changed my mind about which tablet PC I’m going to buy.
Evolution of Choice
My original choice was essentially a fully featured laptop that you could use as a tablet. This was the Toshiba M750, which has since been upgraded to the M780:
Then, once I got a desktop PC at home and a really good PC at work, I realized I didn’t need another full-power computer in my life.
So, instead of going for the normal-laptop-plus-tablet-PC type of device, I decided to get the thin-and-light type that was:
- less powerful,
- more portable, and
- had a better overall tablet PC experience.
This was the Lenovo X200t, which has since been upgraded to the X201t:
Since then, however, two things have happened:
- I realized that I didn’t want to spend over $3.5k on a tablet PC. I don’t have the money and, at this point in my life, a tablet PC that’s as fully-featured as, say, the Lenovo X201t is not worth the expense.
- A viable alternative entered the market when HP upgraded their highly affordable TouchSmart tx2 line to the tm2 line (now with an Intel CPU instead of an AMD). This made the tm2 the only multi-touch tablet in the market that has both an active digitizer and an independent graphics card.
So, now, the HP TouchSmart tm2 is the tablet PC I’m going to get:
For much more on the tm2, check out:
- Mobile Tech Review’s excellent review and series of videos (parts 1, 2, and 3)
- Heartless Sun’s series of videos: overview, hardware, multi-touch, e-reader, gaming.
Is it Worth it?
Definitely – even though it costs half of what the Lenovo X201t does. And, while it certainly doesn’t have all the features of the X201t, it does have all the ones I really want.
For example, it has these awesome things going for it:
- It has an independent graphics card (i.e. it has a dedicated Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU), which is awesome.
- It has a capacitive multi-touch screen, though you can only use two fingers at a time on it (which is fine for my needs).
- It has an active digitizer, which for me is a pre-requisite because I expect to be doing a lot of note-taking on it.
- It’s cheaper than all the other tablet PCs currently in the market that have dual digitizers (i.e. both capacitive and active); and it does this without compromising on too many other features.
- It has a track pad (which is also multi-touch) and a pretty darned good keyboard.
That said, it has some things going against it:
- It isn’t as highly powered as some of the newer thin-and-light tablet PCs. Specifically, it doesn’t contain Intel’s new i-series processors. That, however, is okay because its independent GPU more than makes up for its lack of CPU power (at least for my needs).
- Its keyboard takes a little getting used to. For example, it doesn’t have dedicated Page-Up, Page-Down, Home, and End keys though you can still perform all of those functions via keystroke combinations (i.e. Fn+Up = Page-Up, etc.). Aside from that, though, I really like it’s keyboard. I know because I tried it out at Dick Smith Electronics, where it’s currently available.
- It has a glossy screen (so, for example, it reflects overhead lights very easily) and limited viewing angles. Fortunately, I’ve played around with it at Dick Smith and it’ll do for my purposes.
All told, these compromises – which you’d expect from something this low-cost – aren’t that much of a issue after all.
So, here we are and, if all goes as planned, I should buy one of these by the end of the month! :)