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A Tablet PC is basically a laptop without the keyboard. Devices like this are also referred to as "Slate mode" - they are just a single slab with a large screen. It runs Windows XP Tablet edition, has a Centrino 1.1 processor and a 60GB hard disk. A full computer, running a full Operating system for the size of an hardback daybook.
The 5020 has a 12.1 inch screen that you write on with the supplied stylus. Unlike a little PDA, your finger nail won't write on the tablet, only the stylus nib. This is a far more accurate and precise system than PDAs use resulting in higher quality screen capture.
There are two USB ports, an IEEE1394 port (for which almost nothing exists), IrDA, SD and Memory Stick slots as well as a PCMCIA slot and a SmartCard slot. There are also two other large Infra Red ports propretary to the device. In addition to this is: wired networking, wireless networking, bluetooth and a modem. Some of the other models have a finger print scanner and/or an outdoor visible screen instead of the standard one.
Windows login without a keyboard can be tricky (unless your's has the fingerprint device or your using smartcard) but you have the option of the device's own protection. There are some buttons down the side and these can be used to form a bios type password lock with sequence of five numbers. The numbers can only be between 1 and 4 as there aren't enough buttons to go higher.
The press of a button will re-orient the screen between landscape and portrate; feel free to turn the tablet to match. I tend to use portrait to write on and landscape for everything else.
The extended life battery can do over 7 hours (with the wireless off) - most laptops are shut down by 4 hours. This means that I can do a full days worth of handwritten notes on a single charge.
My 5020 is superb.... I run One-Note on it (this was an extra for me) - the 5020 then is like a never ending hard back day book that I can erase, organise, search, expand and write on forever. When people ask me for a copy of my meeting notes I just IrDA them the page. I keep it in the manufacturers leather portfolio case and take it to all meetings. I did a series of interviews recently and used a small plug-in microphone to record as I wrote on the device.
There is no end to what you can do with a tablet PC - we need digitised signatures and previously got people to sign on paper and then scan it - now we just get them to sign a tablet in Windows Journal (supplied)....Open a Word document (you'll have to supply Office), turn on Ink Anotations and mark it all over in red pen, green pen...
The wireless has a superb range, performance (with 512MB) is fine, it runs Dungeon Siege 2 pretty well.
I have found the manufacturers Infrared (not IrDA) keyboard with track pad a great accessory - prop the tablet up in the portfolio and use the non attached keyboard. Being infra red, not bluetooth the batteries in the keyboard last ages, there are two large receivers on the tablet that let the keyboard work from most angles. The keyboard does everything else on the tablet when I'm not in meetings handwriting notes. There is a standard IrDA port on the tablet as well as the big ones for the keyboard.
One other note if anyone is thinking of the leather portfolio case - you can use EITHER the standard or the large battery on the tablet in the portfolio... The bottom holders are on velcro and can be peeled off and moved up/down... My research led me to buying a standard battery thinking that my large one wouldn't fit but this turned out not to be necessary.
This has to be my favourite computer in a long time