By Patrick Houston
(November 17, 2003)
Tablet PCs are mutating into distinct types, with many tablet makers now coming out with convertible-style machines. Take ViewSonic's new V1250, for instance. It takes its place alongside two previous tablets from the company that were both slates, meaning they had no bolted-on, twist-and-fold keyboard. The V1250, by contrast, is ViewSonic's first convertible. Twist and fold the display one way, and it's a tablet. Unlatch and twist it another way, and it's a conventional notebook PC with a keyboard.
Upside: At 3.92 pounds, the ViewSonic Tablet PC V1250 is lighter than other convertibles with 12.1-inch displays. It has a sensor that adjusts the display brightness to lighting conditions, a feature that promises to eke out even more battery life out from this 1GHz Intel Centrino-based system. It also sports a unique navigation pad that provides a welcome alternative to pen input.
Downside: At nearly 4 pounds, it's still too weighty to use walking around. In our preliminary examination, display brightness and viewing angles seemed lacking. Display latches were tricky to operate.
Outlook: ViewSonic is aiming at a more general audience than that for the specialized slate-tablet. Yes, it's a bit heavy. But the V1250's versatility and its sub-$2,000 price promise to offset that for users who need a best-of-both-worlds solution.