Generally speaking, a convertible tablet PC is on which can be transformed from a laptop configuration to that of a hand held tablet. The main driving force behind development of these machines is the requirement by many users for handy portability and the ability to work requiring less space.
It is worth bearing in mind that there are 2 distinct camps within the Tablet PC market. There are lightweight tablets, or slates, which do not have a keyboard and rely solely on the touch screen interface, such as the Apple iPad and there are laptops which convert into a touch screen tablet by rotating the screen and laying it flat on top of the keyboard, such as the Dell Inspiron Duo. It is the later category that this article is concerned with simply because the computing power of the iPad and its slate clones do not have a powerful enough processor to allow them to carry out the full range of tasks and run the typical business applications that a laptop can.
Tablet PC Pros
The greatest advantage of Tablet PCs is their mobility. Small and light, the tablet pc allows you to work in any situation. All tablet pc’s share one thing in common, they use touch screen technology to allow you to input data on the very screen you are working on. This is why these machines are so small; in tablet mode you dispense with the keyboard and instead type on a virtual keyboard or handwrite with a stylus.
Another advantage of Tablet pc’s is that they can be used for drawing and illustration with the aid of a stylus. This allows for a more creative and free-flowing interaction with the digital paper.
Touch screen technology has advanced greatly over the last few years with the arrival of the iPhone & iPad and this has percolated throughout the entire industry to help create a whole new generation of devices that are easier to use and boast an enhanced user experience. With the widespread adoption of this technology, the prices for convertible tablet pc’s has also dropped rapidly and for the first time ever, this technology can be acquired for the same price as a standard mid-level laptop.
Tablet PC Cons
While these machines are much more portable than their desktop & laptop ancestors, they do tend to be heavier than the slate style tablet as they require more processor, graphics and hard drive space. However, newer models such as the Dell Duo offer netbook sized computing with the benefits of touch screen tablet usability while still having the power of a mid-level laptop.
Some of the older convertible tablet pc’s have an outdated touch screen which can be sluggish or can only be used with a stylus. This will indeed make them harder to use and the inclusion of finger touch screen capability would be preferable on any convertible laptop you are considering acquiring.
The Apple iPad has the best touch screen available at present. It is unfortunate that the manufacturer’s of convertible tablet pc’s have not been able to match its performance as the computing limitations of the iPad mean that it can really only be used for internet surfing, minor tasks and games/entertainment. Over the last few months we have seen the gap close with the release of the Dell Inspiron Duo and some of the expensive high level Hewlett Packard machines coming very close indeed.
If you want to have a mobile, multi-purpose touch screen tablet pc, that can cope with real computing tasks and run real application based software then you will need more than an iPad or Android based tablet. Convertible Tablet PC’s offer the best of both worlds. Despite being heavier and thicker than an Apple ipad, their benefits far outweigh those of the smaller lightweight tablets as they allow for real computing power as well as for entertainment.
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