I was working in my local Starbucks yesterday and got to talking to one of the regulars I see in there quite frequently. He works in IT and in fact visits the big HP office around the corner a lot. I have noticed that he uses an HP laptop, always sitting in one of the comfy chairs with the laptop sitting in his lap. I sat down in the comfy chair alongside him and pulled out my Fujitsu P1610 and started working in slate mode. We started talking about the Fuji and his HP and I was pretty shocked when he swiveled the screen around to show me it was a Tablet PC too. Turns out it was a tc4200 that he’s had for a while and once I looked at it long and hard I realized why I never noticed he uses a Tablet PC.
That’s because he doesn’t. I have seen this guy dozens of timesworking in the ‘Bucks but always in laptop mode with the HP sitting onhis lap. The tc4200 is a convertible Tablet PC so it’s a regularlaptop with Tablet features but I’ve never seen him use it as a slate.I asked him if he ever uses it in slate mode and he admitted "only onairplanes" due to the restricted space for working. He has been usingthe HP for almost 2 years but never uses the Tablet stuff except onplanes. I have to admit this threw me for a loop for a bit as I can’timagine having a Tablet PC and not using the pen functions. I askedhim why and he admitted he doesn’t take notes at work and really justneeds a good laptop. His company supplied it for him so when thetc4200 came out he ordered one.
I commented he must have chosen it because Tablets are thinner andlighter than regular notebooks and he said that’s not what his researchindicates. He has to recommend hardware for employees at work and hesays that he can usually find lighter notebooks than Tablets withsimilar functions. That statement really took me by surprise so Idecided to do my own research. I started with the Lenovo ThinkPad x61since I use one and also because Lenovo offers the same model with andwithout Tablet bits. Here’s what I found on the Lenovo site:
Sure enough Lenovo has a non-Tablet x61 model notebook starting at 2.7 pounds, yet the lightest Tablet PC model is 3.8 pounds. That difference blew me away! The digitizer must be awfully heavy. :) I decided to hit up the Gateway site next.
The Gateway NX100X is a thin and light notebook with a 12-inch screen and weighs in at 3.52 pounds. The comparable C-120X convertible notebook clocks in at a hefty 4.8 pounds. Wow, I’m beginning to think that the guy in Starbucks knows what he’s talking about. Maybe HP will break this pattern.
Nope. The nifty new tc2510p weights in at 2.8 pounds for the non-Tablet model yet the Tablet PC model (2710p) is a tubby 3.7 pounds. The two models look very comparably equipped yet the weight difference is almost a full pound, just like the other two major OEMs.
I have to admit this really surprises me as I had no idea that Tablet PCs out-weigh their "subset" counterparts, and by a rather substantial amount at that. Just goes to show you that even though it is logical that Tablet PCs would be thinner and lighter by design they really aren’t, at least not the convertibles. It also shows you never know what you might learn in the coffee shop.