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Last post Author Topic: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?  (Read 18155 times)

jgpaiva

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Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« on: February 01, 2008, 06:21:07 AM »
Ok, so my father needs a new laptop.

We already settled that it needs to be a small computer (12''/13''), but now the doubt came up: should it be a tablet pc?

I understand that a tablet pc is better for reading stuff because you can use it just like a paper sheet. My doubt is with the usefulness of the digital pen, which they advertise as being "the way of the future"(tm) (f0dder :P), but i just can't find REAL useful uses for it, and think that my father would just get tired of using it.

So, i'd like your opinions, whether you have a tablet pc or not, on how useful is this, and if you use it whenever you can.

Screenshot-08_02_01,12_20_17.png

f0dder

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 07:01:46 AM »
I think the pen, as a sole method of input, would be tiring.

But for note-taking etc., if it's precise enough, it could be very useful - after all, you often need to jot down quick diagrams/whatever, which is tiresome to do the "typical" way (find the right tool (possibly involving starting another app), drag precisely, ...)
- carpe noctem

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2008, 07:32:22 AM »
I think your gut instinct is right.  Unless you have a very good real reason to want a tablet kind of laptop, i doubt you will actually use the feature.  Furthermore, you are going to pay more for it and it will make the laptop bigger.  So i say that unless he has a really good specific reason to want a drawing tablet, don't get it.

The real first decision i think to make is:
Does he want a big heavy laptop with big screen and big keyboard, or a really lightweight smaller laptop.

I tend to favor a lightweight small laptop, just because it makes it so much easier and funner to carry around with you.  It really does make a difference.  But if his eyes aren't great, a bigger screen could make a big difference.

jgpaiva

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 07:42:36 AM »
I talked to him about it, and he mentioned it could be useful in meetings, to take notes. Now... I've never seen any paper or digital (typed) notes he has ever did, so i suppose it isn't something he does right now.

Regarding the weigth/size, the one i'm now aiming is the one on the image (hp 2710p), which has a 12'' screen (no problem with the eyes, it's the same resolution as his current one), and has a great weight of 1.6kg (just perfect for the on-the-move life he's going to have).

Unfortunatelly, i can't test its precision, but i think it'd be an important thing to do first :(

mouser

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 08:10:57 AM »
there is just no way taking notes with a pen on a tablet is going to be used over taking notes by typing on a keyboard, unless all he does is draw diagrams.

Deozaan

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 02:34:28 PM »
there is just no way taking notes with a pen on a tablet is going to be used over taking notes by typing on a keyboard, unless all he does is draw diagrams.


Or unless he writes faster than he types. Which is sadly still quite common these days.


iphigenie

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 03:31:21 PM »
I had the fujitsu 9'' subnotebook (although before it had the flippable screen, the p1310 at the time) and I must say I still miss the touch screen!!!

I dont think i would flip it much to use as a pure tablet, but I know I used the touchscreen all the time - it means that on the road you dont need a mouse!

It wasnt to draw or anything, it was the drag, drop, click etc. day to day use of a mouse. Poking the screen with a fingernail to open, close, move things is just soooo convenient, especially on a small machine

It got stolen and I still miss it, and I wait for the day I can justify buying one again
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 03:33:16 PM by iphigenie »

kiwi2b

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2008, 04:21:51 PM »
I bought a portege 3500 and spent the first couple of years wishing I'd saved the extra 3000 NZ$ it cost me over and above the regular price for a regular laptop of the same specs.  :(

Now, I wouldn't buy anything else  :D Here's why I changed my mind. Two reasons anybody will find useful, annotating webpages for later use and using a full featured laptop discreetly.

For the webpages: I surf hugely for my work, gathering pages for newsletters, for projects, whatever, some will be vital, maybe months later. My workflow is like this, I import the page into Microsoft Onenote, scribble with the pen a few notes as to how we can use the information that is on the webpage. And it's all there ready for when we need it. If I had to type, it would be like work, rather than surfing. So the 'freeform' nature of the pen means I write more, far more, than what I would when typing. Critically, the notes are there, and searchable, to tell me why the page is important. Otherwise, the importance would be forgotten and the webpage would be useless.

For the discreet usage: For me, I do work at home, in cafes, wherever. Many times I feel it would be too rude and intrusive to open up a laptop and start typing away. Too big, too noisy, too much like he's working. With a tablet, you just flip the screen over, tuck it on your knee, hide the pen in your hand and jot and tap away. It's great.

Also, it's faster, way faster to surf through lots of links. With it on your knee, you can really find and tap the link very quickly. It also gives an option for those who find a mouse uncomfortable.

Now I just have to justify buying a new one.  ;D My advice is to wait until those solid state drives arrive in a full featured Toshiba tablet.  ;) Then I'll be dropping hints about what would happen if I dropped my old one.  :D

jgpaiva

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2008, 04:29:42 PM »
It's great to get opinions from people who own this kind of laptops! Thank you, please post away!!

KenR

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2008, 04:37:53 PM »
JG,
This November I will have had mine for 4 years. I think IRC is teh best place to do it, so let me know when you have some time and I'll happily tell you as much as you want to know.

Ken
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546

tabletguy

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2008, 08:39:48 PM »
Also, keep in mind that Vista has handwriting support built in already. I use mine for language study, so I got the Ultimate version, which also has the MUI (Multi User Interface) language packs available for free. Since I have actually used those, it balances out the extra cost. You can also buy individual language packs (if you have a less expensive version of Vista).

So, I just bought a regular laptop, and am going to get a USB tablet.

BTW, I already have a motion tablet pc (separate keyboard), and while it's useful as a tablet, I found that I wasn't using it like that much of the time. I think for me, this will be a more optimum solution. Most of them are too large to just wander around with in hand, etc.

So, if your dad wants to use in a meeting, just set up the laptop off to the side a bit (that's acceptable these days), and plug in a tablet for notetaking, etc.

However, if you're doing this at a school setting, perhaps a full tablet would be a better use. But, then, that's getting a larger percentage of time with that form factor. I think that's key to what's needed.

J-Mac

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2008, 03:45:42 AM »
I need a new notebook and I have been agonizing over the tablet/standard notebook for a while!  I would love to try one out for a while to see if I would really use it as I seem to think I would, but no one gives you a tablet to "try out" for a time!!

I, like most here I am pretty sure, don't get a new notebook very often!  So getting a tablet and finding out it is not all that would be a mistake that I'd have to live with for quite a while.  But the last two times I purchased notebooks I had thought hard about a tablet and then I spend the next 3 yrs wondering if I should have.

It's a shame that there isn't a "lending program" for such items - we could really benefit from something like that!

I'm not much of an artist - I have done some serious drawing and painting, but not a whole lot. But I could see taking notes longhand.  Yes, I am one of those who never really got very fast at typing!  :-[  And now I cannot even use both hands to type with; I often have to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking and when I do use the keyboard, I just got Direct Access to help make it a bit easier.  But with a tablet I would be taking notes longhand with my good hand - right - and I could still use the keyboard if I wanted to use it.

Plus I like to scribble or draw some graphics here and there when I take notes - a little of my right-brrain sneaking in I giess!!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!!

Thanks!

Jim

J-Mac

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2008, 03:48:43 AM »
BTW, if I do go with a regular, non-touchscreen notebook, I would love to find one that is as thin as that new Mac looks to be.  I take it everyone has seen the commercials for that new Air Mac, or Mac Air, or whatever it is they call it?  Doggone that looks thin!  Almost like a couple pieces of paper together!  How do they do that?   :D

Jim

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2008, 04:49:25 AM »
Whether a tablet PC is worth the cost and effort depends on what you will use it for.

For just taking notes in meetings etc., if you do not need  access to other functions of the PC, something like the AceCad (http://www.acecad.com.tw/) might be better. It has the huge advantage of starting and closing virtually instantaneously and it is easy to upload and download notes to a PC.

For drawing, and writing generally, on to a computer a Wacom tablet might well be better (much more sensitive and subtle pen) and can be used on all the computers you use so long as you can install the software on them. I would agree with J-Mac in the other thread that you should not be stingy on this - Wacom is in my experience worth the higher cost over other brands and you need the size and functions that you will use more than any money you might save; only worth going cheaper if you are testing out what you will actually use and will spend the extra money later if you need.

For a few quick handwritten notes, a PDA might be sufficient.

I use all of these and have never found a need for a tablet PC, but can see that for a different set of uses I might prefer the functionality of the tablet.

J-Mac

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2008, 08:46:22 AM »
I use all of these and have never found a need for a tablet PC, but can see that for a different set of uses I might prefer the functionality of the tablet.

After 11 PPC/WM devices in 7 years, I have quite a collection of them....

But I still want to try a tablet!!

Jim

mouser

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2008, 11:29:49 AM »
we need to have a thing where people on dc can give away their unused equipment to others.

J-Mac

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2008, 02:19:34 PM »
we need to have a thing where people on dc can give away their unused equipment to others.

Honest mouser - that's not what I was pushing!!  I'm not looking for anyone to give me or lend me a tablet PC!!

I'm not even saying that a way for people to try certain types of PC's is even something that should be available.  Just commenting about certain high-ticket products that all of us here have to purchase virtually sight unseen on a regular and ongoing basis.  It is strange when you think about it:  Most of us will sit and think very hard about whether or not we want to spend $30 or $40 on a program that we don't feel may be worth quite that much, while with computers themselves we plow right ahead based on "expert advice" from various web sites.  PC Magazine; PC World; Computerworld; and various others.  I see a lot of people - not necessarily here at DC but at many forums  where I am a member - who literally scream about commercial software, expecting that any and all applications should be freely available.  But they save their money and spend gobs on a new PC that they probably never once took a "test drive" in!!

Thank you.
Jim

mouser

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2008, 02:41:21 PM »
Quote
I'm not looking for anyone to give me or lend me a tablet PC
actually from your post i was thinking we could get you to give one away  ;)

Darwin

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2008, 02:57:29 PM »
actually from your post i was thinking we could get you to give one away

 ;D That was the way I read mouser's post, too!


edit by jgpaiva: fixed quote tag
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: February 02, 2008, 03:02:54 PM by jgpaiva »

J-Mac

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2008, 04:31:29 PM »
Well suuuure!  First come, first served....

Anyone want a real deal - free high-powered Falcon Northwest Mach V?  (Works...... ( ;D ;D)....... as is - no returns!!  )

(Darwin should get a kick out of that!    ;))

jgpaiva

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2008, 04:35:49 PM »
Falcon Northwest Mach V <- what, 8k USD for a computer and it comes with a 19'' screen? Craaazy people.

iphigenie

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2008, 05:55:55 PM »
ugh, purple??????

iphigenie

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2008, 06:06:00 PM »
If I could find a good enough excuse to justify buying it, I would buy the successor to the one I had, the p1610/1620.
The p1310 was a lovely machine with 512M ram and only a 4Mb graphics card, and I managed to play a lot of games (using a virtual cd) and it worked beautifully

This has a much better cpu, it has the tablet option, it has more networking, more memory, is a tiny bit bigger - yet it keeps a decent size keyboard by skipping the infamous pad. Reading reviews it seems to have improvements but battery life has suffered (mine was easily 6+ hours!!!) and noise too (heres one at random http://ultramobilepc...su-p1610-review.html) (is it true what he says, that fujitsu delivers it with an optional evernote trial?)

It is expensive for the spec, you can get better if you go to the 12" machines sometimes, but I really liked the 9", it fit in handbags!

And with 128M on the graphics card I think I can play about 50 or more of the games I own!

If only I could just find an excuse to buy it... but I have a lovely desktop and a 17" rock notebook I just have no reason



cranioscopical

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2008, 06:24:55 PM »
It's a shame that there isn't a "lending program" for such items - we could really benefit from something like that!

Can't you hire one for a couple of weeks?

J-Mac

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Re: Digital ink/tablet pc: worth the effort?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2008, 12:42:19 AM »
It's a shame that there isn't a "lending program" for such items - we could really benefit from something like that!

Can't you hire one for a couple of weeks?


Wish I could, but I've never seen any such program.

And if there were, like a rental company, I'd wager they would stick to basic nuts & bolts.  IOW, plain vanilla desktop and/or notebooks. I doubt you'd see a tablet.

Jim