While Apple's iPad has captured the public imagination, these three PC tablets will help with the heavy lifting.
Fujitsu LifeBook T900
Big and bold, the Fujitsu LifeBook T900 is built around a screen that's more than twice as big as the iPad's and is clearly designed for people who have to use both graphics and type.
The LifeBook T900 has a plastic case and a magnesium lid, which is more stable than the Portege M780's case, particularly around the screen bezel.
The T900 is the largest of the three units reviewed here, at 1.5x9.5x12.5in. It weighs nearly 2.5Kg. and hits the road with its AC adapter at 2kg., making it the heaviest of all the three models, too.
Like the others, the LifeBook T900 uses Intel's GMA HD graphics technology and offers 1280x800 maximum resolution.
Its 13.3in. display offers 35 percent more viewable space than the 12.1in. screens found on the other models I reviewed.
The LifeBook doesn't offer niceties like the EliteBook's keyboard light, but of the three laptops reviewed here, its 19.5mm keys are the largest and most comfortable to type on. Above the screen is a 2Mp camera, but its ability to take pictures is compromised a bit because the display lid wobbles if you bump it when the unit's in laptop mode. The Portege M780 has a similar problem.
Inside, the LifeBook includes Intel's 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-520M vPro processor, which can run as high as 2.93 GHz when needed.
The review model came with a 160GB hard drive and just 2GB of RAM; although you can upgrade to a 320GB drive and 4GB of RAM. A DVD read/write multidrive is standard equipment.
While the screen can be smoothly rotated and opened when it's time to type, the LifeBook has an awkward clip at the top of the screen that needs to be flipped over to fully close the system or to lock the display in tablet mode.
With the screen sunk about 0.05in below the tablet's bezel, the LifeBook T900 is a little more awkward to write and draw on than the EliteBook's flush screen. The display is quick to respond and reliably translated pen or finger motions.
It works well with two-finger moves like spinning the forefinger around the thumb to rotate an image.
There's a place to stash the pen on the side of the system, and the pen can be tethered to the machine. The stylus itself is larger than the EliteBook's but smaller than the Portege's.
The LifeBook T900 was able to get me to all 10 of the Web addresses that I wrote on the handwriting interface.
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