Tuesday, October 18, 2005
HP TC1100 Tablet PC

So, when I decided to really put the energy and attention into writing that it deserved (and needed) if it was to become anything more than a hobby, I knew that I would need to buy a separate device to write on that both was not able to play my favorite time-waster (World of Warcraft) but was able to deal with the way I tended to write.

I tend to like to type because I'm a very fast typist and I can read it when I'm done. But when I am doing technical reviewing or editing, I tend to print out the document and use a pen to edit. I know it's a somewhat strange combination but since I have finally learned that it is pretty useless to fight against the way I do things, I decided I should pay heed to this instead of attempting to fit myself into another mold.

I also realized that the device needed to be really light and portable. I have a nice laptop but it weighs something like 8 lbs - too much to drag hither and yon constantly.

First I started by looking at the devices that a lot of writers recommended - the Dana and the AlphaSmart. Though they met the need of small and light, they were not at all able to deal with things like graphics or full screen editing, etc. They are really purely text input devices with a tiny screen to allow you to see what you're doing. Not expensive and if you like to work in a way they would fit with, they would probably be a nice solution.

Then I started looking at the Sony Vaio machines. They have some that are nice little machines and they definitely have the benefit of being able to deal with graphics and they do run Windows but the smallest ones have tiny screens and again will not have any full page editing ability. They are also pretty expensive. I almost settled on one of these but decided to keep looking for a while.

Then I started to look at Tablet PCs. There are only a small variety of these available and they use a combination of keyboard and pen input. My husband had done some testing on the HP TC1000 machine several years ago but I could not find anyone who was a dealer of them nearby so I could test drive one. I did find a Gateway and a Toshiba tablet as well as a fujitsu but they were all too big and too heavy.

Finally at work I saw a co-worker had a TC1100 and waylaid her to ask (probably far too many) questions. What I saw I loved!

As soon as I got my bonus, I bought one - despite my prior claims that I would wait until I actually got my new tech book contract. Delayed gratification is just NOT my thing - not like that's news to anyone.

It's the best thing for my use but not cheap at about $2K. It converts from a slate (pen only) to a keyboard driven tablet. It has a glass screen instead of mylar or plastic so while you might be able to break it, you won't have all the issues with imprints and scratches that plastic is so prone to. A 40gb hard drive but apparently quite easily upgraded to larger if necessary.

It runs Windows XP Tablet Edition so my existing apps can be loaded onto it - no translation or import/export necessary.

The handwriting recognition is pretty good and I think I'm slowly adapting to it so I don't have to edit quite as much but when I get going really fast, it definitely looks a bit like a Eubonics exercise :)

It weighs 4 lbs with it's keyboard and 3 lbs if you remove the keyboard.

I'm in love.....


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