Fundamentally, I still really, really like this system. The size, weight, and battery life all please me. Many of the characteristics of my HP TC1100 have been carried over to this system, like QuickLook and the crisp, flush-set screen. After many Tablet PCs, I had forgotten how nice it is for the screen to be completely flush when I’m using the system in portrait mode, writing notes.
Now, the inevitable, niggling drawbacks.
- Screen latch. There is a latch for the screen. Although academically I find that to be a good thing, I haven’t had a screen latch in quite a while and I keep trying to open it without unlatching first. Annoying when I’m trying to open the system with my hands full.
- Buttons. A definite design flaw is the lack of buttons. Although I thought I rarely used the buttons, they’re really handy when reading e-books or flipping through PowerPoint slides. Scrolling is impossible without the pen. As much as I like the clean styling of the 2710p, the missing buttons are… missed.
- Pen silo. The pen silo is badly designed. It’s the style where you push in the pen and it pops out. The pen pops out randomly and doesn’t seat in properly when you’re putting the pen away. This is just bad. Even my TC1100, which had other silo issues, was better than this is.
- Hibernate issue. Resume from hibernate occasionally gives me no video – black screen. The system is running fine and I can close the lid to put it in standby, wait a couple of minutes, and then resume from standby and it will be fine. However, that’s a problem. I’m still working to debug the exact failure mechanism, but there’s something wrong somewhere. I suspect the video driver.
- Performance. It isn’t as fast as I’d hoped. Part of this is Vista’s fault – Vista just takes more CPU cycles and much more memory. But with a Core2 Duo processor and 2GB of RAM, I expected more. My other system is a Fujitsu P1610 with a Core Solo and 1 GB of RAM running XP. Although my 2710p is faster than the P1610, the difference isn’t as great as I’d hoped. My primary requirement from Tablet PCs is portability, not performance. I don’t tend to run too many things at one time because I tend to buy systems that are small, not fast. That said, I run a gadget on Windows Sideshow that dynamically shows my processor and memory usage. I hover around 30-50% processor usage on average. I expected to be closer to 10-20% usage. I also am consuming a lot of memory – 54% at this moment. Although I’ve never had the system slow down to the point of really impacting what I was working on, the percentage of processor and memory that I use regularly is higher than I anticipated.
Despite these irritations, I still really enjoy using this system – I’m writing this post on it now. I’m in grad school right now, so I use the 2710p for all of my note-taking for classes, writing papers, and annotating professor’s PowerPoint slides. It feels good in my hands in portrait mode for note-taking. The weight and balance are really good and the odd hinge bump is actually a great place to grip the system when writing. The system is very quiet; I rarely hear it even in a classroom.
Although the system is not perfect, I frankly wasn’t expecting it to be. My standards are too high for just about any system to hit perfection once the thrill of possession wears off. The HP 2710p, however, does a good job of maximizing those things I find important (battery life, size, weight) and minimizing the number of irritation points I feel on a regular basis.
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