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Summary:

Microsoft MVP Rob Bushway brought our attention to a new review of the Toshiba R10 Tablet PC and since I try to follow all reviews of Tablets I headed over to smh.com.au to give it a read.  The reviewer is obviously trying to like the Tablet […]

Microsoft MVP Rob Bushway brought our attention to a new review of the Toshiba R10 Tablet PC and since I try to follow all reviews of Tablets I headed over to smh.com.au to give it a read.  The reviewer is obviously trying to like the Tablet PC but has some real problems with the R10 and indicates the Tablet PC falls short of the desired goal both as a unit and as a genre.  Needless to say this has gotten my dander up, as my Dad used to say.

The reviewer had trouble with the R10 in three areas, bulk, weight and price.  His biggest complaints stemmed from the fact the R10 is bulky and weighs 2.8 kg.  The Toshiba R10 with it’s 14.1 inch screen is one of the largest Tablet PCs on the market today.  What did the reviewer expect?  Of course it’s heavy at that size.  All computers with a 14.1" screen are heavy, in the world of mobile computers size = weight.  Every time.  Unfortunately the author of the review did not point out that there are very small and light Tablets available to the consumer and this omission is what I had the biggest problem with.

The other main complaint the author had was the price of the R10 in Australia.  He mentions a AUD3500 price which is about USD2600 at the time of this writing.  I priced out his R10 on the ToshibaDirect store in the US and the equivalent unit runs about $1700.  I have no doubt there is a price premium in Australia but that’s a huge difference and obviously would affect Tablet sales in that country.  I would be interested in hearing from any readers in Australia who have information concerning the routine price premium for both notebooks and Tablets compared to the US.

I believe the reviewer wrote what he felt to be an objective review of the Toshiba R10 and the Tablet PC platform but when you give only one side of the story readers who might be considering their first Tablet PC could be misled.  There are Tablets today, both convertible and slates, that weigh slightly over 3 pounds which is light by any mobile computer standards so research and make sure your primary need areas are addressed with your choice.  A good place to start is my article which clearly explains the choices available and how you can make sure you get the Tablet that fits your work style.

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  2. Shane S. Anderson Tuesday, July 5, 2005

    As for the price, I live in New Zealand (near to Australia and usually has about the same prices for computers) and I saved about a grand NZD (USD$700) by importing it from the US, even after shipping and tax. The price premium is rediculously high.

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  3. Shane S. Anderson Tuesday, July 5, 2005

    EDIT: ridiculously*

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  4. malcolm clouston Tuesday, July 5, 2005

    Hi JK

    Most PCs, whether notebooks or Tablets are considerably more expensive in Australia than in the USA or Asia.

    Part of the reason for the differential is that there’s a 10% GST (tax) on everything, so comparisons to quoted USD prices, which generally exclude local sales-tax need to be mindful of this.

    Additionally, with Australia (which feeds NZ too) being a much smaler market than the USA, there’s probably economies-of-scale and and volume issues that contribute to pricing differentials, not to mention a fair dose of bloody-mided profiteering.

    I use 3 x Notebooks at present:

    ThinkpadR50p AUD5199 (USD3900)
    HP TC1100 AUD3800 (USD2850)

    and, purchased in Singapore

    Sony U8G (U50) with DDRW2 for approx AUD2100 (USD1575) which is actualy better value than the U50 purchased from importers etc.

    I’m an independent ERP consultant, and do work for large Financial Institutions. In the 12 mths since I purchased my TC1100, I’ve NEVER seen anyone else using a Tablet in Australia, despite Toshiba and Acer advertising regularly in PC mags and the mainstream newspapers.

    I doubt that the SMH’s reviewer had ever had a hands-on with a tablet prior to the Tosh review.

    I do think though, that weight IS an issue with convertibles as compared to slates. 2.8 kg is a lot to carry around in the crook of your arm if you’re inking on the go…

    Should you peeps in the USA want a good laugh, check out some Australian pricing info at http://www.ht.com.au – Harris Technology, which is a good guide to what’s available. And don’t get me started on Apple, or Alienware, or…

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  5. malcolm clouston Tuesday, July 5, 2005

    Addendum to my last post.

    In Australia, there is very little choice in Tablets – basically, HP, Toshiba and Acer.

    In fairness, the SMH review needs to be critiqued bearing in mind that its primarily aimed at a local Sydney readership, who would, should they be tempted to take the Tablet plunge, have only a very restricted range of choices, and almost definitely will have to purchase sight unseen….

    So, complaints about the lack of reference to what’s available in the USA are probably not totally valid, although understandable, and forgiveable, from such an advocate as JK !!

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  6. Thanks for your insights Malcolm and Shane. I hear what you’re saying about prices in Australia which is a shame. My opinion about the weight complaints still stands, though. :)

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  7. BTW, Australians should keep an eye out for the next issue of Roam Magazine. Someone around here may have a short review appearing there. :)

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  8. Well I sent in a reply to the SMH. And this is what I got back

    “Hi Gordon

    What do you use your tablet for, specifically? Can you give me an idea of how a recent day proceeded with the use of the tablet for you?”

    and

    “No problem, Gordon. I wasn’t offended in the slightest. Adam said he wasn’t casting aspersions on all TabletPCs, just the one he was reviewing ;-) He hopes a new one he is getting next week will do the trick.

    I love my little 12-inch iBook — it’s just the right size to see everything and take everywhere.

    I have asked Rob O’Neill, deputy IT editor, to contact you next week with a view to writing a story about how you use the Tablet PC for our readers.”

    So it looks like I’m going to be famous!

    Gordon

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  9. Good on ya, Gordon. :)

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  10. I actually emailed the author of the article when it first appeared with comments similar to yours. We went back and forth a little, and he said that he intended it to be a criticism of the R10 specifically, and that he was aware of the variety on the market. He felt that everyone reading his piece would be tech types, so should be familiar with the tablet market. I pointed out that I knew people who read it who couldn’t format their hard drive, and certainly hadn’t heard of a tablet, and also that tablet awareness probably wasn’t high enough for him to make that assumption. He seemed to take it on board, and mentioned ‘outcry from readers’ in his next review.

    As far as price premiums go, it’ll cost me about AU$1000 more to buy locally than it will for me to buy from the US and import it myself, after paying customs (priced on a tc4200). Maybe next year…

    Jac

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