HP Compaq TC4200 Tablet PC

Have you noticed the surge in new Tablet PC products in recent months? They're just like normal notebooks, but with screens that can swivel around and fold over the keyboard. This lets you navigate Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 with a stylus pen and use built-in functions for handwriting and speech recognition.

In recent times, the Test Centre has reviewed most of these new models including Toshiba's Tecra M4 and Lenovo's X41 tablets, LG's stylish LT20-4 tablet and the Dialogue Flybook A33i. The question is then, what does Australia's number one PC vendor (in terms of sales) bring to the party?

For one, reliability: the TC4200's magnesium alloy casing is lightweight and can take a few knocks. Plus, it's bundled with Altiris recovery software - a must-have if disaster strikes when travelling. Speaking of which, the TC4200 has a stated battery life of 5.5hr. There's an optional travel battery also.

Other options include security capabilities such as an embedded security chip or smart card reader and HP's "Protect Tools" security manager software. The TC4200 is easy to use. In tablet mode, the unit has a depressible rubber jog dial to move the cursor up or down and select, plus a "Q-menu" for access to system settings.

HP also has a variety of docks, stands and port replicators to let you add things like a DVD writer or to easily integrate the TC4200 with your home or office.

Verdict: The TC4200 is a well-rounded tablet with top-end features and usability. Scores of 78 in PC WorldBench 5 and 4064 in 3DMark 2001 makes it the second-highest performing tablet we've seen (after the Tecra M4).

HP Compaq TC4200 Tablet PC
Price: $3995
Vendor: Hewlett-Packard
Phone: 1300 302 486
URL: www.hp.com.au
Specs: 12.1in display; Intel Pentium M 740 (1.74GHz); 512MB DDR2 RAM; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 integrated graphics; 60GB hard disk; 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; Gigabit Ethernet; 56Kbps modem; 2.04kg; three-year parts and labour on-site warranty (12 months for battery).

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