Monday, 03 March, 2003

Considering a Tablet PC

I've held off getting a laptop for many years because they're just too bulky and inconvenient.  During the 18 months I spent traveling for Inquisite, I hated lugging that damned laptop computer around.  Even the newer and lighter models seem pretty inconvenient.  I was hoping that the Kyocera Smartphone (a Palm OS device—see my entry for November 1, 2001) would give me the ability to keep notes and such, but even with the FitalyStamp keyboard I find writing on the thing painful.  A Palm is a cool toy, but I find it difficult to use for any serious work or even taking more than the briefest of notes.

They recently put up a Tablet PC display at the Microsoft Technology Center.  On it are a Viewsonic V1100, and a Toshiba Portégé.  I've been hearing about Tablet PC for a while and mostly pooh-poohed the idea, thinking that a cross between a laptop and a Palm could only give me the worst of both worlds.  Now I'm not so sure.  I've been toying with the machines on the display for the last few days, and so far I'm reasonably impressed.  I'm not real excited about the Viewsonic because it doesn't have a keyboard (although you can buy an external mini keyboard), but the Toshiba looks very nice.  At 3.1 lbs, it's less than half the weight of the laptop I used to lug around, and the system specs are more than adequate for what I need.  It's just too bad I can't borrow one for a couple of weeks to see if I really like it.  $2,500 is a lot of money to spend on something that I'm not sure I'll be happy with.

Now if I could get that with a built-in phone...