ViewSonic V1100, Fujitsu Stylistic ST4110 Tablet PCs

These models are pure slate/tablet devices, i.e., they don’t have con­-nected keyboards that rotate back around to the traditional note­book style clamshell con­figuration. Keyboards, instead, have been made optional — ViewSonic has opted for a USB keyboard and Fujitsu sells an optional wireless keyboard for $299.

Both models allow standard screen rotations between portrait and landscape views and use panels that feature electro­magnetic digitisers for stylus input.

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

Both tablets use this operating system which has special Tablet PC software such as voice-dictated and handwritten sticky notes, Windows Journal for con­verting handwriting to text, speech recognition, and Tablet PC tutorials.

Use of the styli was straightforward — double-tap the screen for a double click, tap and hold or press the stylus’s button for a right click. Overall styli response was a bit finicky. Good points were that the cursor would move about as the stylus hovered over the display and that right-click menus could be tailored to not pop up underneath left-handed users’ wrists.

ViewSonic V1100

Well known for its display products, ViewSonic has incorporated a 10.4in active TFT display into the V1100, which looks smaller than it is owing to the wide bezel (featuring well laid-out function buttons) framing it. The device is solid and sits well in the hands thanks to its side grips, but is larger than other tablets we’ve seen at 242.5x288x28.5mm (WxHxD) and weighs 1.55kg. Stated battery life is about four hours.

The V1100 uses an 866MHz Intel PIII-M processor, 256MB of SDRAM (expandable to 512MB), an embedded Intel graphics chipset, and a 20GB hard disk, and features built-in 802.11b wireless connectivity. Ports include two USB 1.1 and single Ethernet, 56Kbps modem, FireWire, microphone, and line-out. Two speakers are built-in, as is a microphone. Monitor output is via a Mini VGA port used with the bundled adapter. Expansion can be undertaken using one Type II PC Card or One Type II Compact Flash card.

This tablet would be ideal for students and workers alike and is bundled with Microsoft Office XP Pack for $4200. An optional dock featuring a CD-ROM drive and more ports will be available by the time you read this.

Fujitsu Stylistic ST4110

The ST4110 is arguably the best of the five Tablet PCs I’ve reviewed for PC World. It uses an 800MHz Intel PIII-M pro­-cessor, 256MB of SDRAM (expand­able to 768MB), an embedded Intel graph­ics chipset, and a larger 40GB hard disk, and also features built-in 802.11b wireless networking. Like the V1100, the ST4110 features a 10.4in active TFT display and the seemingly standard col­lection of con­-nectors: two USB and single Ethernet, 56Kbps modem, FireWire, VGA-out, head­phone-out and microphone-in.

An infrared port is used for the optional wireless keyboard, and the built-in microphone and speakers are useful when dedicated peripherals are not available. Support is provided for one Type I or II PC cards. The six function buttons have uses that range from displaying a -- dialogue to being programmed to start custom applications.

The device feels well engineered and weighs just 1.48kg. It has a stated battery life of approximately 4.5 hours. The optional dock (pictured) can be rotated to portrait and landscape views and can feature either CD-ROM ($599) or DVD/CD-RW ($999) drives in addition to adding three more USB ports and single FireWire, VGA-out, Ethernet and headphone-out.

In brief:

ViewSonic V1100(Preproduction version, not rated)
The V1100 is the kind of tablet you could imagine seeing out in the work force. Highlights include an 866MHz Intel PIII-M processor, the CompactFlash slot and the Microsoft Office XP Pack.
Price: $4200
Phone: (02) 9929 3955

Fujitsu Stylistic ST4110(Preproduction version, not rated)
Boasting an optional wireless keyboard and dock that uses the same CD drives as Fujitsu’s high-end notebooks, the ST4110’s highlights include its 40GB hard disk, amount of maximum RAM, overall weight and design.
Price: $4999
Phone: 1800 288 283