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The Digital Writing Pad: Tablet PCs


The mass electronics markets will not be likely to incorporate tablet PCs into their "cheap is cool" campaigns: despite the presence of the Acer Travelmate C102T in Media Markt outlets, the focus of tablets, even in generations of devices yet to come, is on the professional realm. Here, applications, such as those for filling out forms, which make use of stylus input, have existed for years. And retail prices between $1900 and $2400 are too high for end users anyway.

The real question for business customers is whether to buy a tablet PC right away instead of a sub-notebook. After all, the former unites the advantages of a light sub-notebook with new functions like stylus input, handwriting recognition and digitizer displays. Compared to a touch screen, these displays only react to the special stylus, not to the user's hand or finger.

HP's Tablet PC TC 1000 is a very ergonomic tablet PC. Included is a detachable keyboard weighing 420 grams for inputting longer texts. If this is not needed, it can be removed. This makes the device considerably more flexible than convertible models with fixed keyboards. The keyboard is not the only thing that earns the HP machine the best score for ergonomics among the test candidates.

In the testing lab, the HP yielded the lead only to pen computing pioneer Fujitsu. The Stylistic ST4120 has ergonomics that are as good as the HP product, but the Intel CPU is more powerful than the HP tablet PC with its Transmeta CPU.