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So lately I've been conflicted on purchasing a used Tablet PC or stick with my good old fashion notebook and paper. Yes Brett Favre I know how you feel.

Here are my PRO's and CON's. PLEASE feel free to add your thoughts and ideas.

My everyday application: Full-time CENT major at H.C.C.

PRO

-Easy to take notes in my own handwriting especially when writing physics or math equations
-My physics book is in an Ebook format.
-Flipping the screen into laptop mode when I need to type my papers.
-Wouldn't have to lug around multiple notebooks for each subject and easy to search.

CON
-Price. My Toshiba A215 is almost 2 years old and costs less than half of a Tablet PC of the same specs.
-Screen size. 12" Really?
-Pen & Paper system runs without power and cheap to operate.

Mahalo,

Howard

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If this is going to be your primary computer, and you plan to spend hours in front of it on a daily basis, I'd be concerned about the 12" screen. I'll try the Tablet PC when it has a lightweight 17" bright high density screen.

I see a lot of ICS students buying tiny laptops because they are light and easy to lug around. I always tell friends to buy laptops with larger screens and, if their budget allows, a large external monitor. The ones that don't have thick glasses by the time they graduate.
Getting caught up on the forums a bit during the Holidays and just came across this posting. Howard, it's probably too late for me to chime in on your decision but I thought I'd share my experience for anyone else who comes across this thread.

I used a Tablet PC for about 4 years until it finally gave out. This was back in about 2002 and it was the first laptop that I had since the late 90's. I had been out of the laptop market for quite some time so I had quite a bit of research to do on laptops in addition to the Tablet PC form factor.

Brian's right, the ideal is if you have the budget for multiple machines. If you're serious into computer work, either programming, 2D or 3D graphics or video, then at some point you really need a workstation set up. For the price, workstations deliver more bang for the buck not only in power and upgradability but also screen real estate.

Like Dan pointed out, if you're going to be staring at a screen for hours on end, you don't want to be straining your eyes. Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget for both.

But a laptop is meant to be mobile, and a large screen laptop just doesn't make much sense except for specific niche applications. I've seen it before. The big screen laptops just get too cumbersome and you stop carrying them. So I guess the first question really needs to be do you need the mobility or the screen real estate more.

Bottom line for me at the time was that I was a Maya artist working on a 3D animated short. I had a workstation to run Maya on but needed to do a lot of concept drawings including storyboards. My options were to draw with a mouse, use a graphics tablet, or use a Tablet PC.

Drawing with a mouse, well I haven't ever gotten the hang of doing that well. Graphics tablets, I had two choices there. A standard graphics tablet or a Cintique. A regular tablet still has the drawback of drawing in one place while looking at a monitor. A Cintique (graphics tablet with a built in monitor) would be ideal, but even today they still run about $2k. The last option was a Tablet PC which acts very similar to a Cintique in that you draw directly onto the screen you're looking at while at the same time it could serve as a portable computer.

For me it was killing two birds with one stone. My Tablet PC, as with most laptops, was under powered for 3D authoring tools such as Maya but, for the price, allowed me to draw in other programs like Sketchbook Pro in a more traditional method and save directly into digital files. This ultimately saved me hours of time and work. It also allowed me to work on the go as I often had to during that time.

The artwork and storyboards done on my tablet PC can be seen at www.russogi.com/mechgirl

Eventually, I did use my Tablet for note taking while I was in the Educational Technology Masters program. I can tell you the 10-12" screen size, while small for writing long documents or surfing the net, is perfect for drawing or taking notes. It feels very natural. You'd be surprised. It was like writing on paper. Often, I would draw holding the Tablet PC so anything larger would have been too cumbersome. In fact, I would go into meetings with my tablet as my notepad rather than a paper and pen. It was much easier to keep notes organized.

I would also use my Tablet PC to review and highlight documents and text books. Having the small form factor was great. Instead of carrying an organizer full of papers or a bag full of books like everyone else, I could have all my documents accessible and with me all the time, organized and completely mobile.

Today I use a standard laptop but I still believe very much in the Tablet PC form factor. 90% of my note taking, drawing and writing on the go have been replaced by my Pocket PC. I still do miss a lot of the functionality of my old Tablet PC though.

Not every technology is going to be right for everyone. There is no solve all technology. It really comes down to what your specific needs are. In many fields, I can definitely say the Tablet PC is an essential tool.

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