These PC tablets are Apple iPad alternatives (photos)
With apologies to Sega's classic "Genesis does what Nintendon't" ad campaign, there are many tablet and touch-screen PCs that do things the upcoming Apple iPad simply can't.
Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t
At a starting price of $549, the IdeaPad S10-3t could also be seen as competition for Apple's iPad, which has a similar size screen and comparable pricing. It's tempting to make the comparison, especially since the S10-3t has more ports than the iPad does, plays Flash, uses a PC operating system, and has a full keyboard.
On the other hand, the S10-3t has laggy performance at times and a thick body that could keep it from being a definitive iPad killer.
The Archos 9 PC Tablet features a full Windows 7 OS in an effort to meld the media player and Netbook laptop into one attractively priced fusion device.
Unfortunately, nailing that recipe is apparently tougher than it looks, and the final result fully satisfies neither as a Windows PC nor as a handheld multimedia device. The most crippling design decision may be the choice of the 1.1GHz Intel Atom Z510 as the CPU.
We had a chance to check out the device at CES 2010, and it seemed more like a larger evolution of a smartphone than a Netbook. The silver casing had a sturdy feel, and the back of the unit had an area that looked like it could support a replaceable battery.
This minitablet looks like someone hit a traditional clamshell laptop with a shrink ray. While we appreciate the fidelity to mainstream laptop design, and the relatively hi-res 1,024x600-pixel resolution display (for a 4.8-inch screen, that is), every single person we showed the Atom-powered mbook M1 asked why anyone would find a device like this actually useful.
One important issue: as it lacks a touch pad or pointing stick, you're restricted to trying to work your fingers or the included stylus on the tiny Windows XP interface.
This device is actually a prototype tablet built by French multitouch technology firm Stantum. The company started with a stock Dell Mini 10 Netbook, deconstructed it, removing the screen and keyboard, and rebuilt it with a resistive touch screen--all to demo its touch-display know-how.
Most impressive is the fact that this display can handle up to 10 simultaneous inputs. We put it to the test in a paint program, by dragging all our fingers across the screen at once, turning each one into an independent paintbrush.
The Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid is a fascinating idea. In one of the boldest moves in recent laptop technology, the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid doesn't just flip its screen to become a tablet--the screen detaches completely as its own separately powered computing device.
In its notebook form, the hybrid will run Windows 7 Home Premium, while the "Slate mode" will run its own Lenovo Skylight OS with a multipanel UI, using a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU.
HP's convertible tablet PC was one of the first consumer-targeted tablets, aimed at multimedia users. The TouchSmart tx2 version supports multitouch gestures, and has a dual-core AMD Turion X2 processor and an optical drive. Using multitouch gestures is unquestionably fun and potentially useful, but this functionality requires a few sacrifices, such as slower performance and poor battery life, compared with comparable laptops.
Viliv, a Korean company, has developed what is essentially a Netbook PC packed into a case that's not much larger than a personal media player. That makes it too large to be a smart device and too small to be a useful Netbook.
The touch screen is pressure-based and not capacitive, and can be used with bare fingers, but really works best with a stylus (a guitar-pick-shaped stylus is included, attached to a wrist strap). However, targeting tiny icons and window-close buttons can begin to feel like you're performing microsurgery on a regular basis.
The Eee PC T91 has a rotating display that can be spun 180 degrees and folded down, and its screen reacts to your finger or an included nonactive stylus. The custom touch interface, with big, easy-to-grab icons, works well--even if it's not as slick and responsive as the touch interface on, for example, an iPhone.
Our main hang-ups are the use of a slower version of Intel's Atom CPU and the small 16GD SSD hard drive (plus an additional included 16GB SD card, for 32GB total).
Long before the Apple iPad, a company called Axiotron took stock MacBooks and rebuilt them as touch screen tablets.
It's a clever bit of engineering, taking the guts of a MacBook and removing the lid, omitting the keyboard and trackpad, replacing the display with a Wacom-enabled LCD and digitizer, and adding a scratch-resistant magnesium shell to the top. But unlike convertible tablet PCs, it lacks even the most basic of tablet functions, aka a rotating screen orientation, so you're stuck in landscape mode.