Sunday, December 18, 2005


 

A weekend of using the Thinkpad Tablet PC

It has been a fun weekend using the Thinkpad X41 Tablet PC. I’ve been to one conference at church, taken it with me on various outings, and then used it at church. I’ve also spent the day with it on the couch watching football, watching 24 at night, etc.

I struggled early on with sluggish performance – TIP delays, a lagging mouse, etc. It then hit me that that for most of the time, I was using this tablet on battery. I examined the battery settings and the cpu performance was set to Lowest. I upped it to Highest (which seems to have very minimal impact on battery life BTW) and boom – the performance bumped right to a very acceptable level. I have noticed very little lag.

Since making that change, this Thinkpad Tablet PC has been very pleasant to use. In fact, I have found that I don’t really miss the high resolution of the M200. I ordered a 1gb chip which will come in next week, so that that will be a good test as well.

I really enjoy carrying this tablet pc. It has two very nice grip features – one on the back of the extended battery and the other on the back of the tablet, but on the thinner side. The extended battery also provides a nice grip while holding the tablet in portrait mode and cradled in my arm

When writing in landscape, the thinkpad has a very slight angle – not as much as the gateway, but enough to provide a nice writing angle. Unlike the Gateway tablet, writing in portrait mode while flat does not create a problem.

Next week will be interesting as I put the M200 and the X41 side by side and determine which one I want to take with me when I go mobile. Having solved the performance issue, I have a feeling that I will lean toward the X41 simply due to battery life.

There are some things that I don’t like about the X41, but I’ll cover those next week after going through my week side by side with the M200. I’ll give you a couple of hints – in many ways, the M200 is a much finer tablet pc and a person will get much more tablet for their money with the M200.

I can already tell you that I like the X41 much more than HP’s TC1100. After using the TC4200 for about a week this past year, I like the keyboard and the thinnness much better than the TC4200 as well, even though the TC4200 is lower priced and better speced.

All of that said – the experience of using the Thinkpad is winning me over vs higher end specs.


Comments:
If you have not already done so, I recommend the 8-cell "long charge" battery. It gives the X41 about 5:30 hours of autonomy.
And with a 1Gb extension, you can set the CPU to lowest and have reasonable performances.
 
You know, I felt exactly the way that you do about the X41 vs the others, but after a week of use, I really got tired of the a)preinstalled utilities b) very slow hard drive c) general system lag as the result of those two issues d) quality control issues, such as the sd card slot not working, which is not isolated to just the one I tested but others as well. I support about six of these on campus, and these issues apply to all.

Don't get me wrong, these are great machines, just not as great as they are painted as being. I imagine in a year from now once some of these issues are addresed this will be a device without rivals. For now, the speed issues have pushed me to the TC4200 as my MVT (Most Valuable Tablet). I still dig my TC1100 though.
 
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