Friday, December 09, 2005


Working with 4 tablet pcs

I present all 4 four tablet PCs to my customer tomorrow for him to review. What am I presenting him?

HP TC1100
Gateway M280
Motion LE1600 (with docking station)
Toshiba M200

I don’t have the Thinkpad tablet yet – I decided to hold off and see which way he was heading. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this whole set up. I have them all set up in my office. I’ve worked with each one at least several days each.

My set-up is as follows: I have a thinkpad laptop that I do all my crunch work on, and then a tablet to the right that I do all of my notetaking on and take with me when I go mobile. It is how I prefer to work. I keep the laptop and tablets in sync using the sync powertoy.

Each day, I look at the collection of tablets and I ask myself “which one am I going to take with me when I leave to go on the road.” It is an important question to ask because it shows where things are leaning and my thought process as I ponder the issues. Because of the way I work (I am very mobile), I ask myself the following questions:

Where do I go? customer site to do VB programming, church to take notes during a sermon, a meeting in a conference room for web design, on site for networking issues, working in my office, working at home at the kitchen table, working at home in bed, working at the doctors office.

When I look at the M280, the first thing that crosses my mind is: I don’t want to carry that with me all day. It is flexible and has great battery life, but I just can’t get past the weight and the size. The screen is awesome, especially when doing mindmaps. I defintely wouldn’t carry it with to conferences. I can’t imagine carrying the M280 on an expo floor. BTW: my mother in law is buying an M280 for Christmas – she absolutely loves it.

When I look at the TC1100, it satisifies most of the bullets except battery. I remind myself to bring the ac adapter (just in case). After using some faster tablets, I’ve come to notice the lag issues with the TC1100. Pretty irritating when you are not used to dealing with them. The screen real estate is starting to feel a little small. That said, it is especially a wonderful device for places like church or conference room meetings. It is a very professional, executive looking device. Too bad it won’t be around any longer.

For the LE1600, I have a lot of experience with it, but I needed to present my customer with it – hands on is everything. So, I picked up another one with a lot of accessories. For the way I work, there is too much I have to remember to take with me to be successful (keyboard being the primary factor). For other folks, it might the perfect solution I have a feeling that my customer will be leaning toward this device. For the way he works, it will be perfect – he is mostly deskbound and isn’t mobile outside of the office. however, he walks around the manufacturing floor a lot, taking notes, etc. Having a keyboard when mobile is not a big deal. The docking station will be ideal for him. The extended battery support is nice, but not critical in his job role.

Now to the M200 – this has been the device I have consistently gone back to when I’m about to go on the road. its’ relatively thin and very flexible. The thing that it lacks is battery. The battery will last about 3 + hours. As you might know, the resolution is killer: 1400 x 1050. Its’ also very fast at 2.0ghz. Taking a convertible to church, though, just doesn’t feel comfortable. I still prefer something like the TC1100 or the LE1600 for those purposes. Heck, even the LS800 would work great in that screnario, if it had pc card support. The thing that throws me back to the M200 is that I have much less to worry with when I go mobile - and that is important. I just want to get up and go. They keyboard is there ( and it will work ), it is fast, it is light, and it will do what I want when I want without much thinking at all.

The thing I like about the Thinkpad tablet is the extended battery support. I could justify a drop in performance and resolution for extended battery support. If I felt like my customer was leaning this way, I would go ahead and pick one up for him to trial. If he goes toward the M200, I’ll likely talk him into trialing the Thinkpad tablet first. To me, the Thinkpad Tablet appears to be the most flexible convertible on the market – decent performance, wireless, thin, built-in keyboard, and very long battery life. The Thinkpad might be the most flexible, but for the money, the TC4200 shines. It has more bang for the buck - but I have to say it - it is just not as sexy of a tablet. Having used a TC4200 for a while this past year, they keyboard is ok, but it just doesn't touch the Thinkpad. The Trackpoint is just not the same either. For extended battery support , the wedge goes on the bottom, making it quite thicker. The Thinkpad remains thin with its battery protruding out the back.

Should be a lot of fun tomorrow. He should have a lot of his employees in there as well. I should have some tablets for sale sometime next week. If anyone is interested, be sure to check back.

UPDATE: read the results of the meeting here

I use a dell as my main machine and as I create website design leeds I need something powerful with a fast processor and huge hard drive. The one I use is fine but like everyone I have used I can easily over load it and because of this I have to frequently save my work before its lost through a re-boot.
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