In the early years of Tablet PCs, I was happy with just about anything that flipped around, was a slate, or I could write on. Over the years, though, I’ve become quite picky about what I like / don’t like in a tablet pc. Instead of becoming enamored with everything that crosses my desk or I read about online, I’m looking for those little things that mean a great deal, and in the end, help me be productive and mobile.
Here is a quick rundown of the things an OEM could do to win me over, and the things to avoid. What does your list look like?
- I like a crisp, clear screen. If I see one more grainy screen in a tablet pc, I’ll scream.
- I’m so over loud fans. I like to be able to hear what is going on in a meeting and not be a disruption to the other participants.
- I like manual volume switches that are easily accessible whether I’m in slate or convertible mode. Toshiba’s Tablet PC nailed the design perfectly with their volume rotary dial. Whoever thought that touch-based volume controls were a good thing, especially when hidden under the screen, should be taken out to a usability study center for a week. There is something to be said for function….
- I like flush bezel screens. They enhance the writing experience rather than interfere with it.
- I LOVE extended batteries, but I love them even more when I can charge them while also docked. What use is an extended battery when you can’t charge it while docked? I especially love battery slices and those that provide a nice gripped handle. The good thing about handle grip type of extended batteries is that they tilt the tablet at an angle for typing and writing while in landscape mode.
- Whether the keyboard is removable or built-in to a convertible tablet pc, I like a keyboard that has good travel, has decent spacing between the keys, and is not glossy. Lenovo’s X series keyboards are the best ever. I don’t like HP’s dura-finish keyboards – they are too slick. Why in the world does HP put the PG / PG down keys at the very top of the keyboard and make them tiny? Shouldn’t they be next to the arrow keys for goodness sakes?
- I like a pen that actually feels like a real pen rather than a stick stylus. Motion Computing’s tablet pc pens are some of the best I’ve used. I also like an eraser on the back of the pen. I don’t like it at all when folks like Dell decide that a button can act like an eraser. Do you see a button on the side of a pencil? Then don’t make me use a button on the side of the pen, either, ok?
- I like touchpad buttons that are quiet. HP’s tx2000 touchpad buttons are some of the loudest ever. Surely they can make them quieter. Again, Lenovo’s touchpad buttons are awesome.
- I like a nice scroll wheel on the side of the tablet for use while in tablet mode. HP’s 2710p / 2730p scroll wheel is awesome! I miss Lenovo’s scroll wheel in the X200.
- I would love a tablet pc that makes me feel lost in the art of writing / notetaking in a similar way that Amazon’s Kindle 2 does for reading a book.