I don’t know about you but lately, I’ve seen a lot more tablet PCs around. Go back five years ago and I couldn’t have cared less about them but now, I see some value in their dual capability especially when they look this flippin’ cool:
Unlike the tablets of the iPad-type, these babies are heftier (boo!), bigger (whoo – more screen space!), can run softwares (yay!) and in certain cases, can run apps (bonus!) but are pricier (noooo!). I have mixed feelings about tablet PCs for all of the above reasons but I’ll consider them as possible buys. Here’s a few I’ve come across my search:
Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook
XPS 12 starts at $1,199.99 USD, weighs about 3.35 lbs, has a 12.5 inch screen, several USB ports for easy file transfer, and about 8 hours of battery life. For a laptop, the price is a bit high compared to other models but I guess you’ll be paying for the dual purpose usage so in the end, it may be equivalent of a $700 laptop and $400 tablet and thus more reasonable in my mind. Overall, there are plus and minuses to this from more weight but bigger screen-size and USB ports to a little less battery life.
In regards to apps, which I think may be the deal breaker is that thankfully, Windows 8 now has the ability to run Android apps. Without that, the app availability on this would’ve been severely limited because of how new Windows 8 is in the market and finding a drawing app, even more so. Looking over the Android apps, there are some decent drawing apps, the most well known being Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro. No Photoshop drawing apps (though there are photo editing apps), ArtRage, or some of the others that were available in the Apple Store but there are a handful available that are free to $4.99 USD in price.
What I like about this laptop is that apparently, Dell made it so that the keyboard is spill resistant and back-lit for those night-time sessions. If you’re resting your hand on the screen, it will not register it and move your courser which is a big plus for drawing, can apparently be outdoor-friendly in that you can see the screen clearly, and it hides the keyboard so no accidental interruptions or input from that end.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
This baby here was recently shown at the CES (Computer Electronics Show) and it won’t hit the market until this summer. It weighs about the same as the XPS 12, has dual PC and tablet capability but instead of flipping, it folds back like a spiral notebook. The screen is 13″ with the highest resolution known to tablets at 1600×900, lasts about 8 hours of battery life, and will cost around $1000 USD which is comparable to the XPS.
What may be the downside to this is that the keyboard is left uncovered when you turn the screen back to tablet mode. With the reviews so far, they have not mentioned if pressing keys will inadvertently send a command in tablet mode but in time, I guess we’ll know more. On the plus side, since this was made to fold over itself, you can use the keyboard as a sort of backing to hold the tablet at an angle.
There was also mention about a 10-fingered input capability which will allow you to draw using all 10 fingers if you so wish to do so. Either that, or you can draw with your friends all at the same time.
I only covered two because I’d rather look at newer, slimmer, and more featured tablet PCs than older models which are basically going to be out-dated soon. Not to mention I’m looking for app capability.
What was missing for these laptops in my eye was the pressure sensitive capability. Since they are technically PCs, I can attach a drawing tablet to them but that defeats the purpose of a tablet. The iPad has styluses that adds that feature in but I don’t know (or at least I couldn’t find any) for these.
With tablet PCs either available or will become available, I think I’ll sit on the fence a bit more. I still have two working laptops and a desktop so I’m a bit reluctant to invest on another PC even though it can convert to a tablet and looks oh, so shiny. After thinking about it during this research, I think I’ll pass on these but I may pick one up if one of my other laptops die. Until then, I’ll be looking through the window and wiping my drool…