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Touchscreens in Winter

See the above picture? That's what happens when my father casually mentions that he's got more touchscreen devices in his office. Expecting him to pull a couple of phones and maybe a tablet out of his bag, I certainly wasn't expecting to be confronted with a handful of some of the latest touchscreen portable computers.



Obviously, I couldn't miss out on this photographic opportunity, so I grabbed the Medfield tablet out of  my room and lined up all of the machines for this one photo. From left to right, we've got the Medfield developer tablet (Android-based), the Samsung Series 7 Slate (running Windows 8 now), a Fujitsu convertible slate (U920p) and lastly an Intel-branded reference Ultrabook. (The latter two also running Windows 8, naturally.)

What are my thoughts about the above machines? Well... the Fujitsu tablet I got a chance to poke at a couple of months ago, and the Series 7 Slate before that. The reference Ultrabook was a bit of an oddball, as its accelerometer appeared to be malfunctioning and, as a result, the Windows 8 interface only displayed at a 90-degree angle to right-side. I also noticed what appeared to be a high-powered LED next to the webcam, though I never even attempted to test it. Despite a rather impressive set of specs including a quad-core Core i7 CPU, I found the keyboard throw to be rather shallow and therefore didn't bother playing with that machine very much.

The Fujitsu U920p, on the other hand, has a much nicer keyboard. And, as a production model, its accelerometer works exactly as it should, as well. However despite really liking its form factor at least as a visual provocation from the norm, I found myself loving and hating it at the same time. Being somewhere in the middle in terms of overall dimensions in comparison to the Series 7 Slate and the reference Ultrabook, I liked how it managed to bring a physical keyboard to battle without actually gaining a lot of extra mass. However I'm unconvinced that it was the right move, as the device doesn't really strike me as being very efficient.

While it can be used both in laptop or tablet mode without any real compromises in most circumstances, the added bulk and weight which comes with the slider mechanism and keyboard isn't really very ideal for an on-the-go lifestyle. The display also has a limited range of rotation and, despite initially scoffing at the insinuation that I would fall prey to forgetfulness, I did indeed absentmindedly attempt to close the device much as one would a laptop. Overall, the computer simply has a very exposed potential fail point and lacks both the protective features of a conventional laptop and the sturdy lightness of a slate-style tablet.

What of the Medfield-based developer tablet and the Series 7 Slate? Well, I hope to bring you a review of the former very soon and am currently toying with the idea of writing one for the latter. As the hardware was actually sold with Windows 7 installed and not Windows 8 (which I loaded onto it), it strikes me as a bit odd to write a review of it as such.

Bringing the entire family together with the inclusion of my own personal laptop (which is beginning to look a bit moring, I might add), and the above picture is what you get. It was a fun rainy afternoon spent inside playing with gadgets.

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