layout of buttons, lack of need for keyboard, screen size
No card slot and substandard battery life.
I am a more sophisticated user than most but I'm not a techie by any means. I purchased the unit because I wanted a powerful and complete computer that would fit in my purse. A palm or blackberry wasn't going to cut it for me. I customized my ... Read full review
I am a more sophisticated user than most but I'm not a techie by any means. I purchased the unit because I wanted a powerful and complete computer that would fit in my purse. A palm or blackberry wasn't going to cut it for me. I customized my machine by increasing HD to 80G and RAM to 1G. The ending price was about $1300 which was felt was reasonable for what I was getting. It would have been more if I'd had to purchase MS Office (I already had it). It runs Windows XP Tablet and so far the only difference I can see between it and XP Pro, which I'm accustomed to, is the added functionality specific to tablet PC's. I've had no operating system problems at all. There is an interface which comes up when you boot up the machine - a dash board of sorts - which I think is on all the ultra mobiles. I close this and do everything from my Windows desktop. Set up was simple - even with the external modem (after I got updated drivers. . .) and about the same as set up for any new PC. I made the decision not to purchase the keyboard so I'd be forced to try and use the electronic qwerty keyboard or dial keys. TabletKiosk did a wonderful thing by putting a physical button on the machine for popping up the electronic qwerty keyboard. I can't stand the dial keys and will never use this functionality. On some ultra mobiles I think the dial keys are the only option if you don't want an external keyboard. Three weeks in, I'm happy I didn't spend the additional money on the keyboard because I don't miss it at all. You can switch between three input choices (besides the dial keys) which are available when you push the inside lower left button. You can use the stylus to tap letters into the qwerty keyboard (or move the mouse)or you can handwrite. Tapping and mousing get cumbersome real quick so I use the handwriting method of entry most of the time, particularly on long e-mails. It works almost seamlessly even with my kind of script/print combo handwriting - no training or block printing required. I think it's amazing.
I thought I would also miss not having a CD drive but I simply loaded all my software onto an external hard drive and installed off of it. I don't care about gaming or entertainment functionality at all so not having a DVD didn't matter to me.
When I ordered my machine I ended up having to wait because TabletKiosk found several ways to improve battery life and needed to upgrade the machines. With the improvements I can now get maybe 2 hours. This is not a deal breaker for me because I'm plugged in most of the time, but I'm sure it would be for most. I understand TabletKiosk is working on a whole new battery and that they're not the only manufacturer with a battery problem.
The feel of the unit is very natural and the buttons are intuitively placed. I had never used a tablet PC before and I got the hang of it in about 5 minutes.
For me the whole thing was about having a super compact machine that could do anything my Dell Inspiron 9200 could do, and that's exactly what I got. The screen size (being substantially bigger than a palm or blackberry) is definitely large enough to do most anything. I have installed One Note and look forward to working with it but for now I'm loving using just my regular MS Office apps, e-mail, and even my "legacy" apps like Lotus Organizer. I did not add the available GPS functionality because I know where I am (most of the time) but I have installed MapPoint and look forward to having it available on my next road trip into oblivion since I'll have my PC in my purse instead of in my trunk.
The machine feels very sturdy and the buttons have a good touch. The mouse tracker button reminds me of the button in the middle of my old Thinkpad. It feels and responds similarly. One of the shortcut buttons is for adjustment of screen resolution which is key on Tablet PC's. I find myself changing resolution fairly often if for no other reason than because my 40-something-year-old eyes prefer bigger fonts. I'm very happy I don't have to mess with display settings to do this.
I shopped other units before selecting this one. Several of the factors in my decision included the ability to increase HD and RAM, the button layout and the fact that I could deal directly with the manufacturer. One of the other units is being marketed exclusively by a big box retailer which is a deal breaker for me on any computer purchase much less a bleeding-edge computer purchase. I did buy from a third party because their price (strangely) was a bit cheaper than buying directly from TabletKiosk, but I feel like TabletKiosk is very accessible and desirous of satisfied customers. The VAR I bought my unit from also seems to have a close relationship with TabletKiosk which I think is a big plus. Buying the unit has been a very personalized experience for me.
For my purposes the machine has worked out perfectly and I've had no performance problems. Cool factor is off the charts too, which is fun. I wish it had at least a card slot so I wouldn’t have to use a bulky external modem when I’m out of wireless range (which is most of the time). Otherwise I have no complaints about the machine at all. It’s great technology that I really hope is marketed properly so it can find an audience that is more than just a niche.