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More Slates Than You Can Shake a Stylus At

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Last week, between packing up the HTC Flyer for return and unwrapping a Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 for review, I found myself in tablet heaven with five – FIVE – slates at my fingertips. How could I not share the marvelous sight with you?

Electrovaya Scribbler SC500

At the bottom, ordered by size, is the darling of my collection, my baby, the once-mighty Electrovaya Scribbler SC500. While not a powerhouse in processing, it featured a 140Whr battery that could run Windows XP for up to 12 hours, though usually 8-10. The battery has long died, but it still runs on AC (at last check). This first generation Tablet PC is what started it all for me in the realm of tablet computing and pen input. My ink blog, Sumocat’s Scribbles, partially derives its name from it.

Tegatech TEGA v2

In the middle, a gift from our friend Hugo Ortega as part of the worldwide launch of his TEGA v2. It delivers surprisingly nimble performance, and I’m very pleased with some of the choices Hugo has made with it, such as the button assignments. Despite that, I can’t really get into it due to its touch-only display. Nothing to do with the tablet; I’m just practically dysfunctional without active pen input. I use it primarily to test touch-specific software and interfaces.

Apple iPad 2

Not much I need to explain about the iPad 2 except specify that this one belongs to my wife. Oh, I use it every now and then, and having an always-on tablet at hand is definitely convenient. Given that I’m on my iPhone all the time, I thought I’d be itching to use the iPad more, but that hasn’t happened. As with the TEGA, touch-only tablets do not particularly appeal to me. My favorite thing about it is that it finally got my wife using a tablet.

HTC Flyer

The 7″ Flyer is at the top. Think I covered this one pretty thoroughly already.

Fujitsu Stylistic Q550

And finally the new kid. This one arrived for evaluation while I was in San Antonio. Between that delay, catching up with the regular work I missed, and wrapping up my review of the Flyer, I’ve only recently started getting into it.

I have to say I like the physical feel of this slate more than any other I’ve used. The rubberized finish on the back and matte on the screen give it a subtle texture for gripping and writing. The sealed, fanless design allows it to be ultra-thin. However, without active heat dissipation, it has to be very stringent about its processor heat, which results in a performance compromise that other reviewers have already noted. My experience with vented and unvented slates will be put to good use when I cover that in deeper detail later.

In the obligatory stacked shot, you can see why I don’t sympathize much with the crying over today’s tablets being so “heavy”. I used to carry that inch-thick, five-pound slab at the bottom everywhere, and then I switched to a thicker, heavier convertible. All these other slates feel like frisbees by comparison.

Of the photos I took, I think this one of the slates on stands most demonstrates my tablet geek cred. Any tech reviewer nowadays could get their hands on multiple slates, but how many can prop them all up using stands they already have? (Granted, the Flyer is on a GorillaPod, but I think that counts since I normally use it as a stand.)

I also included a shot of the T900 Wacom pen next to the N-Trig pens from the Flyer and Q550. The N-Trig pens are of slightly different design (Q550 pen has one side button and hole for a tether at the back end), but are otherwise interoperable.

Not pictured with these slates are my convertibles, two Toshibas (Satellite R25 and Tecra M7) and my Fujitsu Lifebook T900. The T900 remains my primary tablet, while the Toshibas are in semi-active use. My wife uses the R25 (as a laptop – ugh), and the M7 is my backup. Yeah, I have a lot of tablets (and I love it).

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at] notebooks.com

11 Comments

  1. KidDoc

    06/23/2011 at 4:18 pm

    My stack would include:

    WiiPad NeNo (useless)
    HTC Flyer (kept mine)
    iPad (kids have it)
    iPad 2
    Xoom
    ExoPC
    HP TouchPad (on order)

    It is kinda like an addiction.

    • KidDoc

      06/23/2011 at 9:52 pm

      Forgot about the Adam (sometimes easy to forget)

    • KidDoc

      06/23/2011 at 9:52 pm

      Forgot about the Adam (sometimes easy to forget)

  2. Anonymous

    06/23/2011 at 8:23 pm

    Hey, get busy …. we need reviews :)

  3. gmich

    06/24/2011 at 12:00 am

    Yeah, looking forward to your thoughts on the Q550. Seems to have potential, but I’m concerned with the reports of sluggishness.

    • Sumocat

      06/24/2011 at 4:15 pm

      Well, those reports aren’t wrong, but part of the issue is the default tuning for battery life at the expense of performance. I’m looking for fixes in the settings to at least make it presentable.

  4. Anonymous

    06/24/2011 at 5:47 am

    The future for me is the Bionic with the attached Dock, or something like that.  I don’t want to carry around 2 spots for my data.

    • Anonymous

      06/24/2011 at 2:07 pm

      Not a bad way to go …. the Samsung Galaxy S2 and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with the keyboard dock might be a nice alternative as well http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/galaxy-tab-accessories/ECR-K14AWEGSTA

  5. Spence

    06/30/2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hey SumoCat,
    Great article. I am waiting to get my hands on one of these stylus tablet for my clinic. However, I got a few questions to ask.

    1)  U showed an ipad2 as one of your stylus enabled tablet. What stylus (pen tip) is compatible with the ipad 2?

    2)   Why do you not show motion computing tablets as one of your choice? Is there a problem with motion computing tablets?  

    • Sumocat

      06/30/2011 at 4:47 pm

      1) That was just a figure of speech. I actually described it as touch-only, but I do have a couple of touch styli that work with it. Warner’s been covering that topic.
      http://www.gottabemobile.com/tag/stylus/

      2) My only problem with Motion Computing tablets is that I didn’t have one. These tablets were what were in my home that day.

  6. Spence

    07/01/2011 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks for your swift response and thank you for the link.
    I am not impress with the present pogo stick stylus. I looks ridiculous and clumsy.  I am patiently waiting for a proper pen like stylus to use for EMR/EHR.  There is a huge market out there and the android not the apple folks are not capitalizing on it. What a shame! When this is the industry with the money. Whoever does it first and correct will be raking it in.Second, I hope this website will also look at the software for stylus enabled tablets. Most lacking in the android market is the lag between the two.This website is excellent and I hope all you people at gottabemobile will keep updating us on the latest of mobile computing.Spence

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