Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Which Tablet does Nicole Buy?

One of my readers, Nicole, from Australia, left a comment on the Toshiba R400 video I posted (Toshiba R400 in the hands of two Aussie Influentials). Because Nicole left such a big comment I thought it would make more sense to share the answer with you all as it may assist several of you.

Here goes :
(Look for my answers in red)


Hi Hugo, enjoyed your site and vlogs esp this one, love the paperless idea and the practices Jon uses. [Why thank you]

I have a few questions after watching the vlog that I would really like your help and opinions on:1. what was that mobile phone device that Jon mentioned about being a great paperless tool? I am shopping for a mobile upgrade, would like some food for thought. [Both Jon and I use the Dopod 838 pro – otherwise known as the iMate JasJam. I never realised I bought the phone he uses until someone that watches my videos pointed it out to me. I must have been convinced, by Jon, rather subliminally. LOL.]

2. I am also shopping for a tablet pc, and struggling. mainly btw the fujitsu P1610 + T4215, this toshiba R400, and the lenovo x60 tablet. [Nice shopping list.]

top of my considerations are:* weight (cos I am a small person, hate lugging bricks around), * CPU (i work in the the finance industry and would like to be able to run simulations on my pc, which requires CPU speed), * battery life (short battery life anything * price (i am not a millionair, but i don't mind paying for quality).# P1610 - love the weight, love 3G, concern over CPU performance; [Great choice here – the processor is only a concern if you are a compulsive multitasker. Otherwise it is pretty good with 1GB of RAM in it which is standard now. Some of my readers may be interested to know that today I found out that the P1610 with 3G in it is a few weeks away. SCOOP FOR YA!]

# T4215 - got everything except for weight, Rob Bushway's inkshow said it felt heavier than the x60, and I felt x60 during my travel earlier this year to asia, and that was so close to my weight limit. i can't find a review you did on this model. please point me to the right site, or please do one if you haven't already; [Yes Mam! Right on it. Until then however look at the review I did of its predecessor, the T4020. While it is a very different machine in the internal specs it is the same machine in the external build. Here is a link to the video – oh, who is that guy in the video!!!]

# R400 - sounds fantastic, concern over battery life, over CPU which seems similar to P1610 in ghtz, and over priciness; [R400 is one of those “Exec must haves.” It has heaps of sex appeal and looks. What it does not have in specs it makes up for in lightness, sleekness and pure funk! Battery life is probably not as big a deal as initially expected. Since Microsoft forced down a patch on Windows Update for Vista, regarding battery usage, I believe the R400 has had a slight improvement. If you watch Dennis Rice on GottaBeMobile he does a great job of showing off his legs showing the extended battery option. This is the one to buy if you do not need specs but prefer looks.]

# X60 tablet - n/a in Australia according to lenovo's website or only one model available which is the most expensive top of the range fitout with too much HD space I don't need; reviews rave abt battery life; and after watching Dennis Rice's inkshow, X60 and R400 seem to have similar dimension + weigt, except X60 with better CPU and battery life, so why should one choose R400 if X60 is also available? [If you watch Dennis Rice’s show closely (linked in my previous comment above this one) then you will notice that the R400 has a wider much brighter screen. These are big benefits if you are someone giving demonstrations on your laptop or needing to make colours look their best on screen. Don’t forget that a notebook is no longer just about you; it is often about people around you too. If you’re in finance you’re proably doing demos for folks around a tablet – with a wider brighter screen there are obvious benefits for you.

Having said all this however I believe the X60 is hard to beat. The best news is that in Australia they only offer the top of the range X60. In my humble opinion the others in the range do not stack up to the top of the range X60. In fact if ou were looking at one fo the lesser ones and you were not in Australia then I would almost prefer you bought the Toshiba M400 – as it is a far more stable machine.]

# any other tablets you'd recommend me to consider?oh, and I would need an external cd rom just to run applications. only the T4215 ticks this box. but i would pay for it separately, just want a good overall package that will "last me a while" - or is that a myth and a wrong way to approach technology these days? [I think the DVDRW is a myth. How often will you really use it? If the answer is often then you’re doing something wrong with the way you use your technology. The reasons HDD are getting bigger is so we can use them!

With regards to your comment about how to buy technology I tend to agree with you. Shop around as if this is the last laptop you will ever own. If it were, then I think you would be better off concentrating on the T4215 with its hotswappable DVDRW, or if you get another device then look at getting the best external BUS-powered DVDRW you can find; something like the LaCIE Slim line bus powered range design by Ferdinand Porsche – that’s what I use.]

3. on this note, I would also like advice on recycling notebooks. i feel terrible dumping my old dead units in the household waste bin whenever i do an upgrade (which could be freq for technology of this type). i made some good effort searching the web for e-waste recyclers around sydney(including planet ark). most recyclers come up in the research are for commercial scale and for still working units. mine are "dead" by the time i upgrade cos i sometimes break it up to see / take inside components before i trash them, or they simply died from being soaked in tea or coffee or something like that. i am more looking for a "e-waste 4 planet ark" type program similar to the "cartridge 4 planet ark" one at the post office. one with a place i can easily visit and dump the dead units. is there one? what's yours or Jon's recommendation? [Regrettably I don’t know the answer but I will see what I can come up with. I will ask Jon to address this one for me. I know Dell was doing some of this in the US of A, and Australia, but I am not sure if this is still present and continuous. Anyone know???]

thanks so much for helping develop the tablet forum, esp in australia. sorry about the very long rambling and for so many questions. viewing your blog has been most interesting and helpful. please keep up the great work you do... [Thanks Nikky. As long as there are readers like you requiring my assistance I will keep doing what I am doing. Otherwise I will go away and do something else - that’s a threat!] cheers, nicole

As far as "the final word" goes I would always put my money on the T4215 first, the Lenovo X60 second, and the R400 last. The T4215 I like the most because of the capabilities and the battery options. Becasue the battery sits in the machine (in place of the DVD RW) and not outside and cumbersome like the others, I believe it makes for a compelling buy. The X60 is an awesome choice however and better if you need a lighter machine as your main priority.

R400 - well the R400 it NOT worth every cent but you sure WOULD buy it if you had the money!

I know lots of my readers would include the ASUS R1F based on specs alone but if you have ever held one you would proably know why it is not in my list. Ergonomically, it and the HP beast, are about as ergonomic as a Hummer in a shopping mall car park.

Hope I've helped - cheers!


Elo said...

I thought I might add a few things in light of my love affair with my R400.

I know a lot of the comments about it are about the looks but I would like to urge to consider the design. There is something to be said about how this machine was designed. It feels solid because of a special hinge that keeps a constant tension. In notebook mode, the screen is firmly held in place. When its closed, the hinge keeps the screen well against the keyboard and when you open it in Slate mode that is where that hinge shines. It feels like a slate tablet.

Battery is not a concern for me: I get about 3 hours on power saver setting, sidebar and aero off. The LED screen is incredible and I believe once you have a taste of LED, you won't go back. Again, its really an office type of machine and not an outback tool!

It is very cool device. It never gets hot and is incredibly quiet.
Some have shied away from the wide screen aspect of the 12 inches screen because they prefer to ink in portrait mode. Personally, it doesn't matter. I ink in portrait mode in meetings and in landscape mode for longer inking sessions like when I have to go through articles, reports, etc. The landscape inking is great, lots of space and more comfortable for eyes as I find I have a better horizontal perspective and I do not feel constrained.

Do I need a CD drive ? I have no need for it. Really, I cant think of a single moment where I thought: "Aww darn, I wish I had an external CD drive...". I have another Notebook that I am using as a desktop replacement and it has a drive. I barely use it too. It really depends on what are the expectations you have and what use you had in mind. To me a Tablet is a work tool and I never it use for games or multimedia, except for the short videos I can transfer via bluetooth and wifi like Hugo's Vlogs, Gottabemobile ink shows and the excellent podcast of James Kendrick and Marc Orchant ;) Talk about name dropping heh ?

I am not a big multitasker so the processor is plenty fine for me

Make no mistake though, the R400 is not a powerhouse. The weak link in the R400, in my opinion is the Hard drive. It is a bit of a wimp but I don't really notice it for what I do with it (Office tool).

The X60 is truly a fantastic tablet and I do regard it as the superior device as long as certain things are kept in mind about it. Some do not like the way it feels in slate mode and I am one of them.

One of the main design factor that made me choose the R400 over the X60 is the swivel system. The screen of the Lenovo does not feel like its holding firmly in tablet mode and upon trying to ink on it, I felt it bounce back on the keyboard. I found that annoying.

Everyone I know use it with the secondary battery because to get more juice therefore pushing the weight out of the ultraportable category. It appears the 4 cell is not quit enough to power the hungrier components of the X60. However, in all fairness to this great device, as far as battery performance goes, on the 8 cell, the X60 is unbeatable in the top 5 tablets at this time and by a large margin.

Lastly, the X60 is much more expensive here in Australia because you only have access to the highest configuration. The X60 in Australia is 1000$ dollars more than the R400... Lenovo is also having some difficulties with production and after sale services but they are aware of it and that could be addressed very soon. Somethings that made me grab my chin (not in beard mode for the moment) and go hmmmm.

What I can offer is what I like about the R400: It does feel snappy for what I do with it. There's not that much crapware and that happily surprised me. Its very quiet, it never gets hot. It is very light and very comfortable to use all day long. Standby mode allows me to use it for a whole afternoon without charging (when I stop using it, I put it in standby). The design makes it feel solid (very slate-like in slate mode). The screen is crisp and bright (stupendous actually). The R400 is so light... I hardly feel it at all in my bag. I will never buy a 5 pound device again!

I hope it wasn't too big of a comment and I wish this can be helpful to you. Mind you and be warned, these are only my impressions based on using the R400. I do not own an X60 and I only have had a short time to play with one.

Greg said...

Wow, it's amazing to see people going through exactly the same thoughts and researching as I have been doing for the past couple of weeks. My T4215 should be in the post by now and it sounds like I've made the right decision. Good to know!

Hugo Ortega said...

Great job as usual ELO - a little wordy - but great job!


Overall the best decision and value - you will not regret it and I look ofrward to hearing from you as a new T4215 Tableteer!!!

Chun Shun said...

Just a kindly reminder that the screen from T4215 B "very" grainy. If you it more than an hour. You usually get fuzzy and eye sore. Stick with x60. By the way, I own both.

Hugo Ortega said...

THank you Chun Shun,

Great feedback. I did not know the "B" was grainy. COuld you find out why this is? I would love the feedback. (Is it a different screen or newer graphics card that does not perform well?)

Thanks again.

Chun Shun said...

Sorry Hugo,

I reply the message late. The B was just an mistake because I was using a pen panel writing this message instead of keyboard between classes. Honestly, I don't know why the screen can be grainy but I am quite certain it got nothing to do with grapic card. But what I know is that a long exposure to a grainy screen can really make a person's eyes fuzzy and tiresome. Fortunately, Hugo, the man of many UMPCs and tablets, you have no problems with the grainy screen because if you get tired of T4215, just switch another one :)

Chun Shun said...

Hi Hugo,

I really enjoy your video session with Jon Dee. It seems like he loves the r400. I just have one specific inquiry: I use X60 most of the time and the machine produces not much heat for normal uses. However, my stupid department always crank the heat up that makes me sleepy and the tablet hot. I would like to know when Jon (or elo) says that r400 runs cool. How cool is it?

Hugo Ortega said...

HI Chun Shun,

Thanks for the participation here, it is great to read. You know when it comes to the grainy screen I hate to admit it but you are probably right. I am so spoilt with the array of devices at my fingertips that I probably don't keep them long enough to see degradation. (Not a bad problem to have, right!?!?)

WRT heat I will need to let Jon or Elo answer that one. Elo, Jon?

Chun Shun said...

Dear Hugo

This is not spoil; this is the results of your hard works and you deserve all these cool devices since you are the pioneer of UMPC and Tablet technology in Australia :) If you don't own more than anyone else of these cool stuffs in Australia, who will be?

In regards, my father just purchased the R400 thx to your video session. I really hope more company can produce the device not in terms of speed and power but more so focus on comfortability and mobility. One thing that draws him about the machine the most probably the machine is very quiet and runs very cool (at least Mr. Dee claims to be). He travels alot and in alot of meetings; this machine may be his solution. Well I am really anticipated to see more videos from you and probably your mate, Mr. Dee. I really love your blogs and especially your amiable and kind spirited personality. Namaste.

nicole said...

Wow, many apologies for the lack of response given I was one that asked for help in the first place. Been under the PUMP at work and haven't got a chance to write back till now.

I must say, this blog experience is making me feel a little bit ... TOO GOOD to be true!! Such Fantastic and comprehensive advice for FREE!!!! Not alot of advice goes for free in my profession. But no complain. I guess having all the latest and coolest could be a rather satisfying form of reward for Hugo. And BIG BIG thanks to everyone who posted their very helpful comments here.

So, where should I start after all the great comments from everyone....

ok, I have not gone ahead to buy anything yet. But I am leaning more and more towards either the P1610 (with 3G mem) or the R400.

Reasons are they are lighter than the other options, while overall not lacking too much in performance. Make no mistake, I am after a ULTRA mobile device. And I am a small person as I said, so make that a VERY ultra mobile device.

Weight and battery therefore are on top of the list for me. And I am happier with the weight and battery combined appraisal from you guys on the P1610 and R400 than the others.

Heat and quietness are actually quite important to me since I've used enough notebooks to know how much of a problem they can be for ultramobile users. So again P1610 and the R400 seem to stand out.

In terms of performance, I suppose I could give a little bit, since I am doing enough simulations on work PC already (and spending enough time at work alread!!!)

What I can imagine myself doing most with the ultra mobile device is actually simply to read and take handwriting notes.

In my role, I am required to read and keep up with a large amount of research papers/articles/journals. A substantial portion of these are now shared at work and in the professional circle through PDF or Word format. There is very often little time to read through them all at work. So while on the road and on weekends, I would really like to be able to go through a few reams of these in the comfort of a coffee shop or in the garden in morning sun with a cup of tea, instead being perpetually chained to the desk.

For this purpose, I think I can let the performance element go a little bit.

Secondly, I often would also need to take down notes in mathematical notations... now anyone who has ever tried to put down notes in math notations electronically using a keyboard will know... hmm hmmm hmmm.... what a feeling... what an experience... NOT!

So, tablet is perfect, so comes with how critical portability is here. It has to be able to come with me - in my handbag. Critical too are light weight, low heat and very quiet. Because I don't want to break my wrist or burn my palm. Battery life too, because I don't want to be running for the power socket every other cup of tea.

P1610 and R400 seem to provide the best fit based on the above overall assessment.

Now, a note on CD ROM. I am surprised that I seem to be the only one requiring a CD ROM. But on 2nd thought I probably just haven't thought creatively enough about it.

The reason why I need - or thought I needed a CD ROM before - is because often when I get books related to my professional topics these days, they come with a CD ROM at the back. Now, how else do I access the things on the CD ROM or install the softwares that come on it?

Ah, on 2nd thought, I can burn it into an image from the work PC then transfer over via USB or something! This will work probably most of the time, unless if I want to reinstall windows or office???
mmm... not sure if those programs will be too big to compress and transfer?

But both the P1610 and R400 come with portable external CD ROMs. So as a last resort I suppose I am probably well looked after with these choices.

Elo, special thanks to you for your terrific review covering many of my concerns which weren't covered elsewhere. And for sharing first hand experiences after some period of usage with your machine. Never apologise for comprehensive advice, claim credit and lots of it.

Greg, if you are amazed, guess how amazed I am....(!!!)

Chun Shun, thanks for pointing out the pitfall. Note taken.

Hugo, what can I say... hope you don't get tired of people thanking you for what a great job you do...

A couple of points for you though, Hugo:

1. not sure if you did mean it, but you seemed to have asked me in your first response to my post about why I liked the paperless idea.

too many reasons, just a fantastic idea. bit of a no brainer for me. i look forward to the day when all books/nwspps/megazines/journals are published electronically. These days, I often catch myself wanting to search particular things i read in a book but can't remember which page they were on. now you tell me how else to best do this unless it's in electronic form.

and of course, try not to cut down a forest here with the books and journals I buy and read. what better guilt free experience than to do them in electronic form.

in fact, i don't understand why anyone would still want a paper based world with so many advantages in a paperless one, esp when the advantages are not just for the environment but equally immediate to ourselves.

please pass this onto Jon. and I hope he's doing some work in pushing for electronic publishing of books. (just as i write, thought of another example, if all the books i ever buy from amazon comes in electronic format, how much postage do I save? let alone the wait!)

i loved the note you posted about the canova dual display notebook. the thing is HOT!!! brave new world! can't wait. though technology has this weird way of making you think - why haven't we thought of this before???

2. of all the PC vlogs / inkshows etc, i like yours most. and it's because yours are actually so much better. and this's not so much a compliment as a statement of fact. and absolutely no intent to criticise, you all do a very important job for technology users of this world, but your gottabemobile colleagues have alot to learn from you in terms of producing better videos.

(1) looks in the video... a suit is fine, and the gottabemobile attire is also okay, but not showing legs would be an improvement...

(2) what to cover, apart from your reviews, i somehow have not seemed to see other videos covering heat and noise levels. maybe i haven't seen all of the gottabemobile videos. but would like these areas covered in all shows.

(3) compact content + no repetiton + mindful of length of videeo. this one your gottabemobile colleagues could improve on alot.

I watched three of gottabemobile's inkshows last weekend (T4215, T1610, and R400). And realised afterwards that they combined have used up 90% of the broadband download quota I have for the month when it's only mid-month.

While I do understand there are lots of things to cover in the review of a device, I would really appreciate if the video can be done compactly, with no repetition, users who do their research, will usually take sufficient mental notes of the things that matter most to them. so keep repeating the same points probably won't value add much for them in my opinion.

that said I am not sure if it's because of the video formats used for some of the shows. so anything done to reduce the video file size would help viewers alot.

so far, i have to say Hugo, you have done a superb job with your videos. they have met all the benchmarks i mentioned above. you are born to do this. well done.

Last note, what's with the german on this page. would be nice if there is a english option to switch to.