A TABLET A DAY...
As I mentioned in a previous post, I like both of them so much, I had to get them both. There's a lot more on these units along with a whole bunch of other Tablet PCs (including Slates, the ones without keyboards) on JKontherun and Warner Crocker's excellent blogs on all things TabletPC related.
I'd encourage you to read Rob's full review, especially if you're thinking about getting a Tablet PC soon.
At the risk of giving you some spoilers, I thought I'd also convey some personal observations about Rob's conclusions and add a few of my own opinions in BOLD below. His summary on each machine is brilliant, especially on the "soft" details (AGAIN, SPOILER ALERT...I'm giving away his punchline):
"So, if the M200 is so much better of a machine than the X41, why would I dump the M200 in favor of the X41?
What I don’t like about the X41?
- the pen – the pen is growing on me, but it is difficult to slide in the slot since one side is squared off. (MP: I wish the pen came with a stretchy string to attach it to the unit like the Motion Computing slate tablets)
- the scroll button – only vertical scrolling support
- the hard drive – I wish there a 7200rpm option for the size drive it is.
- the video card – the Nvidia card on the M200 simply outshines the Intel 915GM in terms of extended display options.
- I don’t like the push / pull plastic latch that holds the screen to the tablet when closed. (MP: Couldn't agree more...at first I thought I'd broken something.)
- I wish the screen were completely flush with the casing – it is almost there and is certainly better than the LE1600, but it doesn’t compare at all to the TC1100 in that regard.
What I like about the X41?
- the keyboard and track stick – I just don’t like touchpads, especially the M200’s. I’ve struggled with their touch pad since I owned the M200 last year. The trackstick and the keyboard on the X41 simply feel so much better to my fingers. It doesn’t feel like I’m going to rip the keypads off the keyboard accidentally, if that makes any sense. (MP: Again, violent agreement...love the track stick, hate trackpads...I almost wish notebooks came with trackballs again, like the original Apple Powerbooks, but then I'm a weirdo).
- I like the grips on the battery and on the thin side of the tablet. They provide a nice way for me to grasp the tablet whichever way I pick it up. (MP: This is REALLY want gives the whole thing a really differentiated "feel" from every other Tablet PC).
- I like the slight angle that the tablet sits at on my desk so I can see the screen better and write easier. (MP: I also love how WELL- BALANCED the X41 feels relative to other units).
- I know the latest M200’s have a better wide screen angle than the one I had, but the X41 wide angle make writing on a flat surface much easier. To use my M200 that way, I had to prop it up against a book so I could see the screen.
- I’m finding that on a 12” screen, I like the 1024 x 768 resolution better. I didn’t realize how tiny the icons and text were on the M200 until I started using the tablets interchangeably. (MP: I'd prefer the higher resolution, my aging eyes notwithstanding...see Warner's pithy post on the subject).
- I really, really like having 6 hours of battery at my disposal without having to think about it. It is built in – I don’t need an extra battery charger or to remember to bring something with me. I also like that Lenovo sells a slice that fits across the bottom of the tablet to give me an additional 3.5 hours - that is 9.5 hours of battery!. It adds about a pound of weight. (MP: What he said!)
- I really like having a finger print reader built in. It is also in a great spot on the screen – lower right hand corner – perfect for the right thumb. I have a PC card finger printer reader that I used with my M200, but it took up the only PC card slot. That mean that I couldn’t use it if I was using my EV-DO PC card. There were many times I found myself surfing while using the EV-DO card and I couldn’t use the finger print reader. That is not a problem with the X41. (MP: I can't wait for the next batch of notebooks and Tablet PCs next year, with built-in EV-DO chips...Sony's already introduced the TX-series notebook with this feature, although not on the Verizon EV-DO network, which is the bomb as far as wireless broadband goes currently, even at high price).
- I like the IBM feature of Location Profiles. This a real plus for me and will be for my customers. XP really likes having the local DNS server in the DNS server settings for log in purposes. Other wise, it just sits and cranks while looking for the server on the Internet. Setting the location profiles, i can set the DNS properties for where I am working. No more re-keying that information when I travel, especially to places that require me to have a dedicated ip address. What is also nice is that the location profiles allow me to set my default printers per location. The Location Profiles feature is a huge benefit. (MP: Yehhh, OK).
- I like the way it looks. When I took it to church and to the conference, it didn’t look like a shiny computer – it was solid black and very thin and inconspicuous. Perfect for taking notes in church or at a meeting where you don't want to draw attention to yourself. (MP: What he said, AGAIN)."
So overall, I agree with Rob on the punchline: the Toshiba is the machine with better components (faster hard drive, higher-resolution screen, more navigation options), but the Thinkpad offers the better battery life, unobtrusive design and color package, and generally cool feel.
It's the Predator to Toshiba's Alien, in my humblest opinion.
Part of it has to do with being a Thinkpad moonie, I think. If you've ever owned a Thinkpad before, TabletPC or otherwise, and like it (especially the controversial "trackpad" pointer), you're spoiled for every other notebook, INCLUDING Apple.
It's a personal opinion, I grant you. Thinkpads are generally more expensive than other notebooks, especially when you add in all the accessories, I grant you. They're generally lacking in one or two of the latest technologies (firewire ports, as an example), I grant you. They have a boring "business" feel about them, I grant you.
But it makes up for ALL of those things when you take in the BMW like "fit and finish" of the whole package, AND lay your hands down on that KEYBOARD.
It's why I had to go and get a Thinkpad T43 (NOT a Tablet PC) on top of the X41, to be my "bigger, main", everyday notebook when on the road. Can't get enough of them Thinkpads.