The Digital Writing Pad: Tablet PCs

Toshiba Portégé 3500

At the moment, apart from the Acer Travelmate, the Portégé 3500 is the only convertible tablet PC on the market. Its very good features are equivalent to those of a top-notch sub-notebook: almost no other tablet PC offers a combination of 1.3 GHz Pentium III-M low voltage, 12.1" display, 40 GB hard drive, wireless LAN and Bluetooth - or a $2299 price tag.

With dimensions of 295 x 33 x 234 mm and 1.85 kg, the Portégé 3500 may be as large and heavy as the Portégé 4010, but Toshiba did not integrate an optical drive into the tablet PC. The optional external CD-RW/ DVD combo drive will cost you extra as well. Unlike the other models, the device does not boot up from a USB drive.

Also annoying is the fact that Toshiba's own menu for rotating the screen contents, which appears when a key is pressed, disappears within a second again - making it extremely difficult to use. Only when a cursor key is pressed will the menu remain visible. But then the highlighting jumps from icon to icon.

In performance, no other model is anywhere near the Portégé. 16.8 dots with CCWS 2002 are excellent. Despite the good performance, the tablet PC will hold out for three hours and four minutes on one battery load.

Outstanding performance and features speak in favor of the Portégé 3500, but the merely adequate ergonomics and extremely high price speak loud and clear against it. If you want a convertible and performance is not your priority, the Acer Travelmate may be recommended because of its low price.

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