Thursday, March 15, 2007

TX1000 - touchscreen? more like strong-sharp-forcescreen!

To anyone that cares, I've recently been shopping around for a new laptop. To be honest, my 2 year old celeron laptop, while bulky and has dismal (1hr) battery life, is doing well in serving all my computing needs (see last post)...so upgrading is not really essential.

Specifically, I've been indulging the thought of getting into UMPC's and other touchscreen based computers for use as my primary computer - I've been a pda person for a few years now (guess what I'm writing this blog post on?), and thought that having that experience on a full fledged pc would be cool, since I wouldn't have to sit down and prop my computer against a lap/table to use it.

Enter the hp tx1000, a convertible tablet pc, with a decent processor (2Ghz AMD turion x2), and a touchscreen instead of an active digitizer. I fell in love: this could well be my ultimate device. So being the excited geek that I am, started researching reviews. The results were mixed - people complained of weight, performance (speed and battery life), and then there was the touchscreen. I was so suprised when people kept talking about how much harder it was to ink on the touchscreen, and made a big deal about needing to keep the pen on the touchscreen for the whole penstroke...frankly, I was confused - I never thought that was a big deal - I mean, if you write with a pen, you have to keep the pen in contact with the paper for the whole penstroke right? I was starting to think that the reviewers might just have been used to active digitizers.

Anyhoo, I wasn't perturbed - though I was concerned about their comments, and thought I'd wait until I can try one out at a brick and mortar store before I take the plunge.

So imagine my excitement when I went to a store today (Harvey Norman for the Aussies reading this) and there it was. It looked amazing - the curved edges, the recessed trackpad, the small form factor - I think I almost ran to the display! I tested the swivel action, and the screen (some reviewers said it was grainy due to the digitizer that had to be overlayed onto the lcd - it was but not an issue for me)...so far so good...then my hopes came all crashing down when it came to using the touchscreen. It was easy enough to tap things, though I immediately noticed how much more pressure it required to get a response...then I tried to write using the touch input panel (TIP). Disaster! In order to make my penstrokes register, I was almost scraping my pda stylus against the screen (and it didn't help that the screen itself was not slick, and was catching the stylus tip)... I thought, 'any more of this, and I'll be scratching marks onto the screen!'. So as I left the store, I was annoyed at how such a cool device could be let down by such poor implementation of the touch screen...I even came back a few minutes later to see if there was a way to increase the touchscreen sensitivity, but I didn't find any (anyone know if there is?)....why hp, WHY??? Now I'm starting to worry if this touchscreen 'insensitivity' happens on the UMPC's as well! Anyhoo, the search continues...sigh.
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