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tc1100 a Good Netbook Alternative?



hp-tc11001James from jkOnTheRun has been blogging about reviving his HP Compaq tc1100 convertible tablet. There’s no doubt that netbook prices are appealing, but computer buyers on a budget should broaden their horizons and consider older, used and refurbished devices.

James wrote:

My recent project to reincorporate the old but capable HP tc1100 Tablet PC back into my daily rotation has convinced me that these are viable alternatives to the netbook for some folks.

I can completely understand why James is putting it back into his mobile computing mix.The tc1100 was the first Tablet PC I ever used and I really liked its detachable keyboard and custom leather case. It was way ahead of its time.

There are plenty of used tc1100 tablets on eBay for about the same cost as a netbook. Since the tc1100 was released so long ago, be prepared to purchase a new battery and spend a few bucks on upgrades.

If you’re considering a netbook just because they’re cheap you should explore your options. Try searching eBay and craigslist for an older computer that you lusted after, but never bought. Look at OEM’s outlet stores for previous-generation tablets that are often priced at a fraction of their original MSRP.

When my wife told me she wanted a MacBook I resisted because of their relatively high price points and because her primary computer was less than six months old. But I happily forked over $325 for a year-old MacBook when a lady at the Apple store was trying to recoup the cost of her new uni-body Macbook.

Would you buy a tc110 or another used tablet instead of a netbook? What about a used 12-inch or 13-inch notebook?

via jkOnTheRun



  1. Steppenwolf

    03/19/2009 at 5:52 am

    I bought a TC1100 in 2006, JK being one of those who convinced me the best to take the risk. At that time I was very uneducated on technology front, and surfing blogs like GBM and JKontherun was a real epiphany to a new world of possibilities.
    The TC1100 changed dramatically the way I studied, the way I worked, the way I considered internet. I’m atrociously untidy by nature. I may just have 2 sheets of paper and I would be able to scatter them across my room. Then tablet computing came, and I found the right place for everithing – to the point that everyone at work was thinking of me as the organized one. Nothing farther from reality.
    Then my TC1100 died, and I bought a X61t. I was NOT satisfied of that choice, not because of the hardware, which never gave problems, but mainly because of the ankward (to me) form factor and the building quality. I had so many issues that I can’t even remember them all, from the CRUMBLING bezel to a broken hinge. Things that I managed to repair by myself (replacing the hinge caused a dozen of heart attacks) since Lenovo Italy is total crap and a legal warranty in Italy is like toilet paper.
    Then, 3 months ago, just after ordering the new hinge for the X61, I saw a 300€ TC1100 with buy it now on ebay and ten seconds after I was happy again.
    Now TC1100 and X61 are friends, they share a license of onenote and I found them to be a great match together. And Windows 7 has literally renewed the mobile computing experience on both of them.

    Long may live the TC1100 and who continues to love it.

  2. Sumocat

    03/19/2009 at 7:07 am

    Unless we’re talking about a home media center, I would rather buy a used Tablet PC instead of pretty much any other PC, as evidenced by my last two purchases.

  3. Steve S

    03/19/2009 at 10:23 am

    Geez. James hasn’t rediscovered anything that hasn’t been obvious to the TC1x00 community all along. The whole reason that the TC has had such a lasting and loyal customer base is because we’ve always understood the particular advantages that the TC form factor offers…

  4. Xavier

    03/19/2009 at 10:30 am

    @Steve I agree that if you’ve used this device in the past you’ll appreciate it :-)

  5. John

    03/19/2009 at 11:29 am

    I had two litepads by NEC and also lusted after the 12″ fujitsu tablets–all of which can also be had for about $400. What makes the new netbooks appealing to me though is the coming instant-on capability as well as the stylus-less navigation and typing. In other words, they will be as handy to use as the iphone and similar phones.

  6. Modnar

    03/19/2009 at 2:22 pm

    Yeah I started using my tc1000 again (because my tx2500 is in for repair) and I love the battery life and form factor. But I have the problem where the stylus is showing its age with clicking issues and the mouse left click being rather faulty now.

    Still they are still very usable.

  7. Mark H

    03/22/2009 at 1:48 pm

    I was in this situation last year – I had a big and heavy TabletPC (Tecra M4) and I was looking at netbooks, something more mobile that could be used more easily on trains, and I also didn’t want to spend too much. But I still liked the form factor of TabletPCs – can be used as ebooks and as a electronic notepad. I looked at the TC1100 – nice form factor but a little bit heavy and underpowered. I ended up getting a 2nd hand Protege M200 on ebay and it’s my main laptop now. As a designer and programmer I need something that can run my apps and a netbook probably doesn’t cut it.

  8. Ahmed Mukhtar

    03/31/2009 at 4:19 am

    I bought my TC1100 back in 2004. It has 1.2GHz Pentium Mobile Processor, 60GB hard-disk and 512MB Ram. The most important spec in most TC1100 is the graphics card with its 32VRAM, and this alone makes the five year old machine from which I’m posting this message far superior to any compact (form factored) slate device available today.
    Being an architect, I use AutoCAD to build 3D models, and whilst I still use AutoCAD 2007, this machine runs it, and runs it well.
    I’ve updated the Bluetooth driver, and now using the voice recognition and the Sony Ericsson HBH 980 I dictate my notes straight into Word (you need a quiet environment for this). I also use the same headset to stream high quality Audio from the computer using the A2DP supported capability.
    I also sketch my diagrams straight into Photoshop using the pressure sensitive stylus.
    I also have both the rugged casing (for when I go onsite) that protects it from ballistic impact or from dirt and water, and I also have the ‘health care’ jacket that makes it easier to grip whilst offer some impact protection and allows a shoulder strap to be used (and that’s what I use most of the time).
    I have to say that I’m both surprised and disappointed at HP for not deciding to continue these machines and instead some bright spark at HP HQ decided to pull the plug on what had become one of the most successful laptops of all time.
    My next plan to bump up the RAM to the maximum 2GB and to switch to VISTA, and hopefully that should see me through a few more years until a fully convergent device (one that merges phone, computer, camera, gps, tv, music player with a wearable spectacle disguised head up display, is made available.

    Oh and did I mention how the minimal metal and black casing look so sophisticated and cool . . . as an architect, I care about these things!

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