Like Hershey's legendary Reese's combination of peanut butter and chocolate, Intel's Centrino technology has now been deliciously combined with the tablet PC. One of the first Centrino tablets comes from start-up Motion Computing. The company's slate-style M1300 Tablet PC weighs 3.3 pounds, making it easy for mobile workers to carry around. You can also place it on your desk in its matching desktop stand. The new model looks almost identical to Motion's previous tablet, but the new kid adds two USB 2.0 ports. It also offers faster performance and longer battery life, thanks to its efficient 900MHz Pentium M processor. (An M1300 with a 1GHz Pentium M processor will cost you an extra $200.) In fact, this is the second-fastest tablet we've tested, scoring just behind the Acer TravelMate C110 Tablet PC.
The slate-style Motion Computing M1300 Tablet PC looks slick. At 9.4 inches by 11.7 inches by 0.9 inches, it measures a bit larger than theand the . However, the extra size allows Motion to fit a bigger 12.1-inch screen. The basic unit weighs a manageable 3.3 pounds, not quite as svelte and elegant as the 2.2-pound Versa LitePad. The travel weight rises to a little less than 5 pounds when you add the 9-ounce, plastic protective covering for the screen, the 7-ounce AC adapter, and the 10-ounce USB keyboard.
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|The LED status lights let you monitor your power, battery, hard drive activity, and wireless connection.|
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|If you get tired of the stylus, you can resort to the conventional keyboard.|
Six buttons line the M1300's right side and handle the tablet's major functions. Besides Escape and Function, another button rotates the screen in 90-degree increments, and a four-way navigation button scrolls through pages vertically and horizontally. Another button lets you launch the Ctrl-Alt-Delete command with one touch, which can be a pain if you hit it accidentally.
Once you find the On/Off switch on the right edge, you'll feel comfortable operating the tablet horizontally (called Landscape mode) or vertically (Portrait mode). The tablet includes FireWire, two USB 2.0, and external monitor ports, as well as built-in audio and Ethernet connections along its bottom edge. But unfortunately, Motion leaves the ports exposed to the elements. In future designs, we hope that the company includes little rubber port plugs. Under the M1300's four status LED lights, which show power, battery, hard drive activity, and 802.11b wireless-networking status, you'll find a single Type II PC Card slot. On the downside, when it's snapped into place, the screen cover muffles the M1300's pair of speakers. Even with the cover off, the speakers sound merely average.
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All sorts of ports can be found on the tablet's bottom edge.
The Motion M1300 comes with an external, USB CD-ROM drive (you can upgrade to CD-RW and DVD/CD-RW drives for extra cash). Snap the tablet into the included monitor stand, and you'll have access to more ports and connectors on the stand, including three USB 2.0 ports. The tablet can be mounted horizontally or vertically on the monitor stand. For the traveler, Motion provides a black-plastic easel to prop up the tablet while on the road. You also get a plastic screen cover to protect the display when you throw it in your backpack or briefcase. During our weeks of testing, we noticed that the back of the tablet became uncomfortably hot after extended use, and the screen picked up dust and fingerprints like crazy.
The Motion Computing M1300 Tablet PC configuration that we tested was a true Centrino, featuring a 900MHz Pentium M processor, 855 chipset, Intel Pro/wireless 2100 802.11b networking. It also came with 256MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive. Motion offers a few configuration options. Its top-of-the-line machine can take a 1GHz Pentium M, 1GB of RAM, and a 60GB drive.
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|Big buttons on the right side control the tablet's major functions.|
|/sc/21195147-2-200-DT5.gif" width="200" height="150" border="0" />||The included stylus pen lacks a pocket clip and feels cheap.|
There's a convenient place on the top of the tablet to stow the plastic writing stylus, but the pen lacks a pocket clip and feels cheap. Although the stylus and the screen generally cooperated in our tests, it was next to impossible to accurately highlight an illustration across the entire screen. Eventually, we were able to jot notes, scribble drawings, and surf the Web with ease.
Motion makes up for awkward pen strokes with its amazingly convenient Dashboard software program. You touch the button on the right that's labeled with a square icon to launch Dashboard, which provides instant access to settings for speaker volume, display brightness, power management, and wireless signal strength.
In addition to Microsoft Office XP, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Colligo Personal Edition, an application that lets you use your tablet to collaborate with others on the same document., the M1300 comes with unexciting but standard software:
In our small roundup of tablets, the Motion Computing M1300 Tablet PC placed second in mobile performance tests., the M1300 handily beat its predecessor, the Motion M1200 (with its 866MHz Pentium III processor), but the M1300 failed to outperform the Acer TravelMate C110 Tablet PC. Both systems share nearly identical specs, including a 900MHz Pentium M processor. The TravelMate C110, however, features a 40GB hard drive with a transfer rate of 100MB per second, compared to the M1300's 20GB hard drive with only a 66MB-per-second transfer rate.
Mobile application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).
Find out more about how we test notebooks.System configurations:
Acer TravelMate C110 Tablet PC
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition; 900MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/92855 GM/GME graphics controller (up to 64MB shared); IBM Travelstar 40GB 40GN 4,200rpm