Second-generation Tablet PC: Portege M200

Targeting mobile professional, SME and educational and enthusiasts markets, the Portege M200 uses a convertible design: it operates as a regular clamshell-style notebook, or its display rotates and folds back on itself for tablet use.

The 2kg M200’s vibrant 12.1in poly-silicon display is coupled with a 32MB NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 graphics controller that shines at its top resolution of 1400x1050. Toshiba also states that it’s worked with Wacom on the pressure-sensitive digitiser built-in behind the display to provide more accurate response. The supplied stylus has a thumb button (used as a right mouse button by default) and an end used for erasing digital handwriting — an optional reserve pen can even be stored behind the battery.

Centrino-branded, our M200 featured a 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M processor (up to 2GHz available) and Intel 802.11b wireless networking. An 802.11a/b connection should be available in February, with b/g scheduled for June/July. Toshiba offered an optional 802.11b/a/g solution from Atheros at launch.

Additional core specs include 512MB of 333MHz PC2700 DDR SDRAM (expandable to 2GB) and a 60GB 5400rpm hard disk. Two USB 2.0 ports are integrated, as are single v.92 56Kbps modem, 10/100 Ethernet, infrared, microphone and head-phone connections. Support is provided for Blue-tooth, SD cards and one Type II PC Card.

An optional $575 Tablet Multi Dock (pictured) adds three USB 2.0 ports, sound, Ethernet and AC connections, in addition to a SlimSelect Bay for removable second hard disks or CD/DVD drives (compatible with Tecra notebook optical drives). The dock can house the tablet for use as a primary monitor (with a separate mouse and keyboard), as a secondary monitor (using its VGA-out port) or as a tablet/notepad, again in conjunction with desktop monitor. IT managers will appreciate that TE2300, Tecra and Portege port replicators are also supported.

The M200’s built-in gyroscope (dubbed an Accelerometer) provides smart rotation between portrait/landscape display orien-tations in addition to page scrolling and page turns by tilting the device. Toshiba includes movement alarm software (and signature log-in security) along with a range of utilities for various configurations such as power, networking, and interface (stylus pen, zoom tools). Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 is bundled for note, image, contact and schedule management. Windows XP Pro Tablet PC edition is touted to benefit from improved handwriting and speech recognition, and the M200 has three built-in microphones for the latter.

In all, the first second-generation Tablet device we’ve seen has proved to be a class act.

In brief: Toshiba Portege M200
The first second-generation Tablet PC we’ve seen has improved on just about every front and has many nice Toshiba touches.
Price: $4290
Vendor: Toshiba
Phone: 13 3070

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Danny Allen

PC World
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