The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
The machine comes out of the box with few extras. You get the recovery disks including Microsoft Windows Tablet 2005 on one CD, and all the drivers, software and utilities on a second CD. As well as these you also get the Tablet's pen along with spare nibs, the charger and the battery.
The battery comes with a little power in it, but you need to plug in the charger before you can really use it. The external devices/ports on the Tablet include: - - 3x USB 2.0 ports - 1x stereo headphone/lineout jack - 1x microphone jack - 1x mono speaker - Bluetooth/WAN enable/disable button - An quick launch button - A Ctrl+Alt+Del button! - An Infrared port - A latch that holds the screen down - A PC Card slot - Phone line socket - Ethernet socket - S-Video out - VGA out - A nifty eject button for the Tablet pen - A light sensor that adjusts the brightness of the screen dynamically
When you first turn on the machine you are greeted with the standard Windows setup wizard where you have to enter your details such as user setup and registration details. You also have to activate the copy of Windows either by Internet or phone. Once all this is done Windows Tablet 2005 loads. The first noticable difference is that the standard Windows login screen also has an onscreen keyboard so that you can press the keys with your pen. The first thing you find out about using a pen is that filling in forms and entering passwords is very slow compared to typing if you are a competant typist.
Windows Tablet 2005 is almost identical to Windows XP Pro so you'll find that any normal Windows XP application will also work on the Tablet. The major differences is that the handwriting tools have been more closely integrated to the system. When you hover your mouse over any type of text input box a little icon pops up. If you press this icon a window opens allowing you to type in a sentance, individual letters, or type using the onscreen keyboard. This window can also be opened by pressing one of the three function buttons below the actual screen with the pen. The handwriting recognition Microsoft has included is awesome. It isn't perfect but even with my poor handwriting it picks up 90% of the words I write. It works much better trying to recognise a sentance or a word than it does individual letters since it has an built in dictionary to match as closely as possible, what you are writing.
The other two function buttons allow you to load up the Q Menu, which is basically a set of options allowing you to customise the Tablet, ranging from screen brightness, volume control, to display modes and pen settings. The other button allows you to change the screen orientation allowing your to hold the tablet up in any four orientations. It should be noted that the keyboard half of this Tablet is not detachable from the screen. To use the machine as a Tablet you have to open the screen, swivel it around 180 degrees and fold it back down so that the screen lying on top of the keyboard facing upward.
The pen works brilliantly and is even touch sensitive so you can make great drawings on the screen, pressing harder to make lines bolder. Double clicking can be a pain with the pen, I found that setting windows to use a single click to open icons was much easier. The pen itself has two buttons on it. One at the side that if held down whilst tapping the screen, acts as a right mouse click. The other button is at the top of the pen and acts as an erazor. Of course, the functions of these buttons is fully customisable. I found the pen only useful for quickly browsing around the screen and using the specialised handwriting programs to write notes and save them in handwritten form. If you want to enter a fairly large amount of text in any form you're much better off using the keyboard. You also the have the alternative of using a touchpad or the nipple to navigate the cursor.
The Tablet's CPU speed is much faster that I anticipated. Don't be fooled by the feeble 1.86GHz label is carries. I ran Super PI, a program that calculates PI to a given number of digits. It managed to calculate PI to 1 million digits in 42 seconds, a very similar time to an Athlon 64 3200. However, the graphics card the machine has is very slow. It is not a machine for gaming, coping well for older generation games such as Half Life, Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena. That said, it will play videos perfectly fine and having a 54Mbit wireless card and a 1 Gigabit ethernet adapter it means transfering files to and from the Tablet is very fast so you can take advantage of its 60Gb hard disk drive.
This tablet is so much more useful than a standard laptop simply due to the speed the pen gives you to enable you to navigate the cursor so much quicker. You can also write and save notes in handwriting which is incredibly useful for students making lecture notes.
Even though this computer is a great thing to have and use, it is massively overpriced considering the hardware it has. You could buy a much superior laptop for nearly half the price which will have everything bar a pen to write with. That said though, the pen is incredibly useful, but not worth the hundred of pounds you pay for it when compared to a normal laptop.