In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

Impressions of a tablet

I'd decided to do a little experiment. I was curious about tablets, but didn't want to dive in and buy the latest and greatest when I was still unsure about them. So, I figured something out. My wife was going to be needed a new system soon (actually, she should have gotten one a long time ago), and should could really benefit from a tablet (student, going to be a teacher, definite tablet benefits). I could sell my beloved IBM Thinkpad T40, buy a comparable Toshiba M200 (since it has pretty much the same 12.1" SXGA+ screen as the M400), try it out to decide if I'd like a newer tablet, get the new one, and my wife would use the M200 (she doesn't need a raging system, all she does is notes, email, and web). Nicely enough, the guy I bought the M200 from on Ebay shipped it overnight, so I already got the tablet and have been playing around with it for a few days.

My impressions so far? Optimistic. As far as Toshiba tablets in general, I like the quality. It feels sturdy, the keyboard has a nice solid feel to it. The keys are very responsive when typing. The layout of the keyboard is different than the IBM, so that is taking some getting used to. Also, I always used the trackpoint (the eraser thing) and disabled the touchpad on my Thinkpad. The Toshiba only has the touchpad, so that is taking some getting used to.

As for when using the tablet, the jury is still out. The 12.1" SXGA+ screen is pretty nice. A little on the small side (though I am used to a 20" LCD on my desktop and 14" on my Thinkpad), though it is definitely usable and pretty crisp. But the resolution can make for some issues when in tablet mode. IE, to close a window, the button is small and sometimes miss it. Also, I've found if you tilt the pen, it can cause the cursor to move over slightly from the tip. When trying to hit small buttons, that little bit can easily throw things off.

So far, I've mostly just been using the tablet mode for reading RSS feeds at night while sitting on the couch. Last night, I finally decided to try some note taking or something with it and it was quite nice, but something I could easily do on my desktop. OneNote on a tablet is awesome. However, I don't work in an office and have regular conference room meetings, where I would be taking hand written notes. I think to truly convince me to use a tablet, I'd need to find a practical, non-forced use for it. Can't justify getting a tablet over a regular laptop just for reading my RSS feeds.

As far as development on it, it is quite nice. The text is smaller, but it is still very legible, and can be made even better with some tweaks to the color schema and maybe a better fixed width font (I have some nice ones laying around here somewhere).

Friday, March 17, 2006

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