Scott Hanselman

My Tablet PC - the Verdict

December 20, 2003 Comment on this post [4] Posted in Reviews | Speaking | PDC
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My Toshiba M205 Tablet PC came today.  It's all thanks to Shaun McAravey at SoftSource.  I did some work with Shaun and they paid me with this Tablet.

(Aside: If you ever need some serious .NET consulting or training, talk to Shaun and Ben Hickman over at SoftSource.  Shaun was instrumental in introducing me to .NET back when it was codenamed "Lightning."  Anyone remember that?)

Screen: The screen is only 12.1 inches, but it's got 1400x1050 resolution.  Let that sink in and do the math.   That's ~120dpi and it shows.  It's the clearest screen I've ever seen.  Now, just because it's high resolution doesn't mean we need to suffer with small fonts.  You know I'm all about the large fonts.  So I'm running large icons and 14 pt. fonts.  But those extra dots sure smooth out with ClearType. 

Power/Memory:  The battery life on this thing is nuts.  It is really smart about shutting the Hard Drive and slowing the Processor down.  It's a 1.5Ghz processor and it's got just the right amount of kick.  I got only 512MB of RAM, but apparently I can put up to 2 Gigs in this.  Mark my words, I will have 2 Gigs in this one day.

Applications:  Toshiba REALLY included some nice Applications/Applets that I'd call OS Power Toys.  They act a lot like the way ALT-TAB works.  For example, FN-F2 cycles through the power modes, including High, Low, Normal, Presentation and DVD.  It's VERY intuitive.  You can also suspend-to-RAM and Hibernate from these keys, and TURN OF THE TOUCHPAD.  Yay!

Size:  It's the perfect size.  Not for a complete desktop replacement for a developer, but I could totally switch to this machine for my personal non-dev box.  (Of course, I still installed VS.NET 2003 on it).  The screen is only 12.1 inches, but the whole thing doesn't weight more than 6 or so pounds, so it was a good tradeoff.  Also, remember the resolution is CRAZY for 12.1 inches.  I'd say it's about 80% of the size of my Compaq Evo.

Look and Feel:  The optional docking station is very cool since presents the machine almost as a portable screen.  When you go to a meeting you just take the whole PC with you in Tablet mode.  The whole thing feels very sturdy, but there is always that concern that the thing that connects the screen to the body might break one day.  Still, I've used all the Compaq Tablets and a bunch of others at PDC, and now that I have this one in my hand, looking back on the other Tablets, this is the most sturdy I've used.

Other Cool Stuff: Rather than having the Stylus stuck somewhere in the screen, it slides out from the right side of the base of the system.  You pop it in and it clicks in secure.  Push on it and it pops out.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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December 20, 2003 11:17
What an absolutely Beautiful production! Congratulations on your new best friend!
December 20, 2003 16:59
once you're familiar with it get the Lonestar alpha on it, makes a world of difference
December 20, 2003 22:03
Want fries with that? Oh I mean, wanna ink to your blog???
Ping me if you want to be the 3rd person in the world to play with BLInk.
December 22, 2003 21:31
Once you've had the chance to use it in some meetings, let me know what you think. I found that taking notes by hand was more distruptive than by typing. I can type and look at a person at the same time. When I write I have to take my eyes off the person to look at the tablet. I found ink great for capturing concepts, but not for detailed note taking. Thoughts?

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.