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Laptops

ViewSonic Tablet PC V1250

ViewSonic Tablet PC V1250

First take

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.

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