Published on 01-17-2011 09:50 PM
Number of Views: 6108
Suffice it to say that three days is not enough time to render a thorough review of a laptop. But I think the interest level is so high and this is is such a unique animal that I thought I`d get some notes out there.
I've been a tablet junkie for years, going back to the old Fujitsu stuff and later the Toshiba Portege (which is still limping along after over 5 years by the way). The world seems enthralled with the iPad and so I've also been using a wifi version since last fall. But what I've been missing is a fuller system that integrates with my networks and services a little better, runs office and yes I'd like flash compatibility.
So here I am with the little Slate 500. It took a couple of months but it eventually got here (props to PC Connection as they do a great job for me).
The long and short if it is that I believe this slate will be staying with me a while. There are flaws, such as lagging performance on occasion, but the usability has been pretty good and there are some subtle tweaks that I like.
Good: Easier to carry than my ipad, the screen color and clarity is good. Hey a USB port! I was able to very quickly start using a Sprint U727 3G card. Bluetooth too! I'm writing this using an external bluetooth keyboard that I actually bought for the ipad. Wish it had a small mouse pad but with the touch screen it's working nicely. Productivity apps were easy to get up and running (as you would expect) and MS Office runs ok provided I don't try to run a lot of other applications at the same time. Cool feature: keyboard button that brings up the software keyboard. i fnd that way more useful than you would expect. I like the way that works better than having the ipad constantly asking me to bring up the keyboard. Form factor: I find this is easier and less conspicuous to carry than the ipad.
Not as good: as expected from a little bugger like this the performance can be a little slow. Some times even web sites can weigh it down (running Firefox not IE). For example I use netvibes and the process of updating all my tabs can make the system nearly freeze for 20-30 seconds at a time. Pen stuttering when writing. The pen is usable but there are times when it stutters while I'm trying to take notes. An odd bug: when logging on to the slate using the software keyboard, the shift button doesn't stay depressed and I some times resort to using the caps lock key to avoid having to race to hit the capital letter in my password. The virtual keyboard isn't as useful to me as the iPad's but it is usable.
Summary: There are positives and negatives. These devices are sort of specialized tools and buyers need to know what it is they want from them (in my opinion). I wanted something to run my corporate VPN, connect to file servers and Windows terminal servers, do light surfing and serve as my meeting notes tablet. Thus far it does that well enough for me to consider it a success. Being able to quickly get the Cisco VPN client installed, map drives to the file server and install Office and Acrobat was a breath of fresh air after months of ipad use.
Side note: I made myself carry the Slate 500 instead of the ipad and then jump back on the Apple. It is obvious that Apple's UI is more polished than Windows 7 for touch screen utilization. Odd thing: you cannot mount the Slate 500 in the docking stand while it is in the leather folio case. I wish the docking stand had a cat-5 connection. I may be unique in this but honestly don't care if there is an on board camera much less two of them.
Sorry that wasn't as compact as I'd intended. I will try to post up some photos but it has been a busy week-end.