Pros Size (not too big), Battery Life, Array of Features/Hardware at a solid price
Cons Needs More RAM (easy to upgrade), Slow Hard Drive, Lots of Bloatware Pre-installed
Summary This notebook is much better than the CNET rating would lead you to believe.
The whole point of this notebook is to find a happy medium between being small/light and being packed with hardware and features. They punish its rating because it's not as light as the lightest, feature-weak laptops, then punish its rating again because it doesn't perform as well as the top-end non-tablets. Let's go over the main complaints of the reviewer:
(1) It's too heavy.
Six pounds is really not all that heavy. Yes, it's heavier than the slate-style tablets that lack keyboards. It's also heavier than other convertible tablets like IBM's X41 and Compaq's tc4200 -- but each of these has a small screens (12.1" as opposed to the 14.1" of the R15) and also lacks an integrated DVD or CD drive. For a tablet with a keyboard, 14.1" screen, and DVD/CR-RW all on-board, 6 pounds is not too heavy at all.
(2) It underperforms.
This is probably due to the lack of RAM -- more on that later.
(3) The screen wobbles.
So do all laptops. I tested this a bit when I bought it at the retailer, and this screen doesn't seem to wobble any more than the others. There are also some stabilizers under the screen that prevent it from rotating in laptop mode once you've got it locked into place.
(4) Our test version had a piece of dust under the screen.
Pffft. Is there any better indicator that the reviewer has an anti-Toshiba vendetta for some reason?
(5) It lacks: Gigabit ethernet, a multicard reader, DVD burner, fingerprint reader.
This is not a top-of-the-line tablet PC. If you're looking to spend $3000, you're looking in the wrong price point. For the money, the hardware is plenty adequate.
(6) Warranty is only one year.
That's pretty standard guys.
So what's actually good about this computer?
Well, lots of things. Handwriting recognition is quite good. I have pretty bad hand writing, and it generally knows what I want to say. Corrections are fairly easy to make as well.
It doesn't run too hot, which was a concern of mine. It gets warm, but warmth is unavoidable. It's not so hot as to be unusable on my lap in my hotbox of an apartment during the summer.
It comes loaded with a lot of software. Pre-installation of a fully licensed version of Microsoft OneNote can't be underestimated. This is quite useful software for anyone interested in taking notes on their tablet.
And what are the real problems with it?
It does need more RAM. Again, my guess is that this is the reason it "underperformed" on CNET's tests. My desktop is a 1.7 GHz with 512 MB of 266 MHz RAM, and it runs just fine for me, so I expected the R15 to do the same with its slightly faster RAM. But, Windows XP Tablet Edition is a lot more bloated, and Toshiba doesn't help by preloading even more useless software, so at the end of the day, you will need at least another 512 MB of RAM. If you install it yourself (which is quite easy -- the manual even gives you instructions on how to do it) you can buy 512 for about $50 online, or $100 at Best Buy or CompUSA. Without the upgrade, it struggles when trying to run more than one application, and even Microsoft's "Experience Pack" applications have trouble running all by themselves. With the upgrade, it zips along without much slowdown at all, and with several apps running. Bottom line: Order the RAM also, and add that to the price of purchase when making your comparisons.
The hard drive is also slow, at only 4200 RPM's, compared to most laptops that run at 5400 or even 7200. This makes the lack of RAM an even bigger problem, since the OS has to use the slow hard drive as "extra" RAM if you don't have enough.
The multitudes of unnecessary apps installed by Toshiba is a pain, but you can disable these if you know what you're doing.
So, here's the upshot. If you're considering a Tablet PC, first decide if you really want a tablet or not. If so, decide if you want a slate or convertible. Slates are lighter without a keyboard and slower processors (designed to replace clipboards for med students) and convertibles are heavier but have keyboards (designed to replace paper notebooks for students). If you decide on a convertible, figure out what size screen you want. Unlike processor speed or RAM, where more is always better, a bigger screen isn't necessarily better, since bigger means heavier and less portable.
I decided on a convertible tablet with at least a 14.1" screen, under $2000. This basically led me to either this computer, or the Gateway M275 series. The Gateway is slightly lighter, thinner, and slightly faster. But I read too many horror stories about Gateway customer service, and there were also a lot of complaints that the Gateway runs hot. Between those two factors, I decided on the Toshiba.
Obviously I'm pretty happy with it.
Pros smart engineering, good price, flexable, some what durable
Cons you have to know your stuff about computers if you want this machine to work properly, however, it is fairly easy to use right out of the box
Summary ok, here's the deal with this Tablet. overall, it comes well stocked with most of the goodies your going to need. however, it is not a computer that i would recomend to those of you out there who plan on doing a lot of video editing. if you are going to do any sort of video or picture editing, plan on buying extra software. if you are not very computer savy, plan on buying extra software to manage most of the computer functions for you. being a tablet PC, it comes with, what some call, the XP "superpatch". Win XP Tablet Edition is built for networking with pre-configured networks or forming it's own network with a fellow computers. the software that is included with this computer will help you connect with a network and monitor the other networks in the range of the wireless card. if you are thinking about using this laptop for away-from-work computing, be sure to get a strong Firewall and Anti-virus software. the bonus with the software that is provided from toshiba is the you can strech out the life of the battery into the 5+ hour range. If you do not plan on using the "write-on-screen" capablities, then you be better off spending the money on a upper-level regular laptop.
i bought this laptop because i needed something for college that i could write on bacause i am not a very fast typer. i also wanted a computer that is flexable enough so that i could modify it to my specs. i found all of that and more with this laptop. i spent almost $300 after the $1500 to get it to my specs. here's what i added: 512MB's of memory, Norton Firewall, Norton SystemWorks, MS Office 2003. it is fast and is easy to fix after a mistake in programing. Norton GoBack saved my butt plenty of times before i got this computer and this time i made sure i had it on my new laptop. honestly, if you dont know how set-up the laptop properly, take it to someone who does (you will regret it of you don't).
I would recomend this computer to the type of person who wants to spend the money to get a good laptop that will serve them for a long time. to students who don't want to have to type all the time and want to be able to share notes wirelessly with each other. to business people who dont mind carrying 6.5 pounds of high-quality computing power. to people who know how to work a computer better that being able to hit the power button.
as with any computer, to allow it to work at it's peak performance, you will need four things: Anti-virus software, Ad-blocking software, Firewall software, and alittle computer know-how.
I hope this helps,
Pros Great performance, excellent recognition
Cons A bit heavy, but who cares?
Summary I saw this at a local Best Buy last week and thought the price was right. Little did I know how much was packed into this thing. Handwriting recognition is outstanding (I write messy and it picks up my handwriting), system is pretty darn fast (upgrade to at least 1 gb), and it does just about everything you could want in a tablet. This is my second tablet and it blows away the first one. Only complaint is that it's a bit heavy for holding and writing, but you get used to it. Ultimately it's perfect and is a fantastic value. And yes, it deserves a 10.
"So far, so good"on by wamba138
Pros Fast, good handwriting recognition, lots of utilities, price
Cons Might be too big for some
Summary This is my first Tablet PC. I have had it for two weeks and so far it has met all my expectations. The unit worked flawlessly right out of the box. I use Office 2003 and OneNote. The handwriting recognition is very good. Once you get the hang of writing on the screen, it becomes like writing on paper.
I am averaging over 4 hours on the battery, except when running DVD's. In full screen mode they drain the battery in under three hours.
The unit is large and about 6 pounds. For me the size is not a problem but I can see where others might complain.
Microsoft's tablet website has also proved useful. Several good utilities and games are available which enhance the tablet experience.
Pros Functionality wins most of the time; 14.1 is bigger than most tablet labtops and the performance is great for its price
Cons yes, it is a bit heavy but doesn't bother me much
Summary I've owned five labtops in my life time and I find this one to be the most useful for business use. After owning those latest tiny Sony with 13.1 wide screen I feel that small size and sleek design is a huge waste of money and sacrifice too much in utility. Yes, small size is convinient but for any average size male what's a different of a 3-4 lbs. Experience tells me I rather have a regular size keyboard(so I do not have to adjust between labtop and desktop.) the swirling screen is great.
I do not want to be a sexist but I start to wonder if the rating on labtops is affected by female editors on CNET because why would a few lbs make a huge difference in portability??? I think its more of an hassle to carry an extra drive than a heavier laptop. Sure if you are someone who has trouble lifting 10 lbs around then yeah this might not be great but if you are looking for functionality and a bargain then there are few other choices especially when one comes with 14.1 screen