Convertible Notebooks-Tablet Pc’s

Know the tablet-type notebooks, the real “2-in-1” of personal computing.

For those who want to have their annotations recorded in electronic means, a fairly practical solution is the tablet PC-a personal computer with the format of laptop or clipboard, which can be accessed with the touch of a special stylus. The equipment replaces the traditional mouse and keyboard and allows you to make annotations quickly and flexibly, giving the user the freedom to make their doodles as well understand, hierarquizá them, draw schemes, etc.

The idea of this “electronic clipboard” able to capture information written with a pen and pass it to a computer dating from the decade of 50, when the Rand Corporation elaborated a technical document entitled “RAND Tablet: A Man-Machine Graphical communications Device”. But, that was just the beginning of the story, a theoretical approach. The first tablet PC’s as we know today only appeared in the decade of 90, with the popularization of the graphical interface and the possibility of using the pen as a mouse. Microsoft has already offered support for Pen Computing since Windows 3.1, 1992.

Well, and you’re now wondering: if the human interaction with the tablet is so natural, why did they never take off? The answer may be in the habit and passion of PC users by their keyboards, so that the concept of the tablet only prospered in markets in which the use of the keyboard is a bit uncomfortable, especially if the person performs most of their activities standing or walking. This is the case of healthcare professionals, factory floor sharpeners, educators and policemen. Among end users, the tablet has popularized in its most compact form: PDAs and handhelds.

From 2001, Intel and Microsoft have tried once again to popularize the tablets, but in a different way, i.e. create notebooks capable of behave like tablets. Hence the concept of rotary screen that bounces on the keyboard – registered trademark of this product – which, because of this, gained the surname of convertible notebook (or convertible), which can function both in one way and the other, according to the user’s preference.

The cycle closes with the arrival of Windows Vista, which incorporates the functions of Tablet PC, unlike previous versions, such as XP, which needed a special version. The detail is that the XP version suitable for tablets was even more expensive than ordinary.

To see how this market of convertibles is, the Digital laboratory of this month analyzed three models of tablet available in Brazil: The Dell Latitude XT, the Compaq hp 2710p of HP and the ThinkPad X61 tablet, Lenovo.

Mobility at all costs

For being portable equipment par excellence, all models analyzed by the Digital laboratory are well compact, weigh between 1.6 to 1.9 kg and, as far as possible, hand out some features like CD Drive, which can be incorporated through accessories.

For example, among Dell’s Latitude XT accessories, is a docking base, which incorporates the DVD recorder and also works as a port replicator.

The ThinkPad X61 tablet, Lenovo, has a similar accessory, but which is offered as optional, the so-called ThinkPad Ultrabase for X6 tablet (R $406.00). This value does not include the DVD recorder, which should also be purchased from part (R $269.00).

The tablets attracted the interest of the corporate world: Executives enjoyed some possibilities of use of the equipment to elaborate drafts and even use the same as a mini-display for small meetings. This reveals another characteristic of the tablets to be a more business-driven equipment and, because of this, many of its features are directed to this audience. For example: All analyzed models came with fingerprint sensor, TPM 1.2 security chip, and Gigabit Ethernet network port.

Additionally, HP and Lenovo’s equipment bear the Centrino Pro seal, while Dell’s model has adopted a curious platform based on Intel’s Core 2 Duo processor and ATI chipset.

Usability

In terms of usability, the user interface is practically the same in the three models, since all tablets use Windows Vista Business.

Already in the hardware there are good differences. The ThinkPad X61 Tablet keyboard is arguably the softest and most comfortable, but does not come with illuminator and is available only in the generic standard (US-International) Unlike HP and Dell models. HP’s equipment was also the only one to come with integrated webcam and a curious antenna in the form of Switchblade blade, which improves the reception of the Wi-Fi interface.

In the mouse chapter, all models came equipped with a TrackPoint, which operates as a small joystick. Dell’s Latitude XT still offers a touchpad on the same product.

With regard to screens, Dell and HP models already come with a 12.1 “wide 1,280 x 800 pixels LCD screen, while the Lenovo screen still remains faithful to the conventional format, of 1,024 x 768 pixels, fact that can pass the impression that the X61 Tablet is an antiquated product, but some users (especially corporate) still give preference to the” more square “screens.

Performance

With regard to performance, it should not be required much of these equipment, since they were designed more for mobility. Both the Latitude XT and the Compaq hp 2710p [WL3] came equipped with Intel Core 2 Duo U7600 1.2 GHz processor with the prefix “U” identifies a model ULV (ultra low voltage) whose TDP (thermal envelope) is only 10 watts, against 17, 34 Watts of his big brothers. But because of that, your clock is much smaller, as well as your FSB bus (533 MHz).

The exception was on account of the X61 Tablet (Lenovo) that came equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 1.6 GHz (L low voltage) with double the cached memory and 800 MHz bus, factors that reflect on performance tests, especially in synthetic tests such as PC Mark, 3DMark and CineBench, in which the Lenovo model has always obtained the best results. Only in the Windows Vista Experience Index is that Latitude XT has been a tenth point in front of the X61 Tablet.

Although using a more performance processor, the X61 Tablet had its autonomy compromised. The explanation is on the battery: while Dell and HP models utilized six-cell standard batteries, Lenovo opted for the 8-cell extended model which, in a way, has paid off the increase in consumption with a higher energy reserve. This, however, has somewhat hampered the ergonomics of the product, since the largest volume of the battery, in addition to increasing weight, still hinders the access of the fingers to the lateral controls of the screen in tablet mode. It is worthwhile to highlight that both HP and Dell offer complementary batteries, which can be coupled to your laptops.

Our conclusions

Despite the Dell Latitude XT offer the most comprehensive package and the Compaq hp 2710p of HP possess the most differentiated design, for our evaluation, the ThinkPad X61 Tablet of Lenovo offers the best relationship between price and performance and, even with the acquisition of the coupling base and the DVD recorder, it is still more into account than the other products , fact that makes the ThinkPad X61 Tablet worthy of the choice Award of the Editor of the Digital look.