A second HP attempt at a home Tablet PC works well but with caveats. (February 22nd, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard
Price: $1,659 (2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 250GB drive)
- Excellent handwriting recognition.
- Good touchscreen and active digitizer.
- Unique trackpad.
- Fast battery charging times.
- DVD+RW DL drive in a small tablet.
- Built-in 5-in-1 media reader.
- Short battery life.
- Performance won't turn heads.
- Slightly fuzzy screen image due to the touchscreen.
- Tiny trackpad mouse buttons.
- Can feel bulky to carry while writing.
The focus of any Tablet PC is its screen. The tx2000 12.1-inch screen is comfortable for everyday use with a 1280 by 800 resolution. Unfortunately, the touch-screen tends to make the screen image appear slightly fuzzy, as if youíre looking at the actual screen through a thick layer of glass. This slight visual effect mars the sharpness of the image, so if you intend on using the tx2000 primarily as an ordinary laptop, you may be disappointed at the screen quality.
As a Tablet PC, the tx2000 shines. Whether you have the screen flipped upside down as a tablet or angled as an ordinary laptop screen, you can choose commands by touching them with your fingertip. By using the included stylus, you can point and click on commands instead. Constantly touching the screen with your fingertip tends to smudge the screen, though, so itís generally best to use the stylus most of the time.
The tx2000 is an active digitizer, which means that you only need to hold the stylus near the surface of the screen for the screen for the screen to recognize the stylus position. However, you still need to physically touch the screen with the stylus to choose commands or drag the mouse to select items on the screen. The touchscreen is even smart enough to turn off its touch feature when you're using the stylus. This prevents the touchscreen from misinterpreting your hand, resting on the touchscreen surface, for a command.
As an alternative to the mouse or the trackpad, the touchscreen, stylus lets you choose items more naturally. The stylus works with the included Paint program, allowing you to draw on the surface of the screen as easily as scribbling on a piece of paper. More importantly, the stylus also lets you write directly on the screen and have the computer translate your handwriting into text to type in any application such as a word processor or database.
The handwriting recognition feature offers three ways to input text using the stylus. First, a yellow window appears where you can write naturally and the computer does its best to translate your writing into text. Second, the yellow window displays spaces for holding a single letter. This allows you to accurately position letters and space them apart. Third, you can use an onscreen keyboard and simply touch the letters you want to type including non-writing characters such as a space, the Tab, or Backspace keys. With three different ways to input text, you can choose the way you find most comfortable.
Although this handwriting recognition feature is meant more for block letters rather than cursive writing, it managed well over 90 percent accuracy in recognizing upper and lower case block letters, and mustered surprisingly good recognition with cursive writing as well. (Your results may vary depending on how sloppy or neat your cursive writing may be.)
If you need to input text into a Tablet PC but find the keyboard too awkward, using the stylus with the Tablet PCís handwriting recognition software makes writing as easy as jotting text on a notepad. The only drawback of this handwriting recognition feature is the bulk of the tx2000 unit itself. While no bigger than a typical yellow notepad, the tx2000 is obviously much chunkier and heavier. Given that most peopleís strongest hand is their writing hand, carrying and writing on the 4.3-pound tx2000 means cradling the unit with your weakest hand while trying to balance it as you write. Itís much easier to write on the tx2000 by leaning it on a flat surface, but this partially negates the mobility of the unit in the first place.
Lugging a 4.3-pound unit around is tolerable, but ultimately annoying. If you need to write while carrying a Tablet PC, the tx2000 may be too heavy and thick for more than occasional use. However, if you only need to carry the unit to different locations, but have a flat surface where you can place it while you write, such as a classroom, then the tx2000 is extremely mobile.