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Which tablet PC is best for business?

We put three iPad killers to the test

While Apple's iPad has captured the public imagination, these three PC tablets will help with the heavy lifting.

HP EliteBook 2740p

The smallest convertible tablet of the three, HP's EliteBook 2740p squeezes a lot of computer into a small, rugged case.

The EliteBook 2740p's matte silver case is a step up from the other two tablets.

It's constructed of magnesium and aluminium, and HP put it through some of the Mil Std 810G tests used for military computers (although that doesn't include the all-important drop tests).

At 1.3x8.9x11.4 in. and weighing less than 2Kg. with the AC adapter, the EliteBook convertible is the thinnest and lightest of the three convertibles reviewed here - but it's still more than twice as heavy as the iPad.

One reason the EliteBook is so light is because it doesn't come with an optical drive.

Otherwise, it's as well equipped as the other tablets, featuring three USB ports, an external monitor connection, headphone, microphone, FireWire and ExpressCard ports, and a flash card reader.

For security, it has a smart card reader and a fingerprint scanner, like the LifeBook T900, but unlike the Portege M780, it doesn't have an e-SATA port.

Other features include a 2Mp camera, a modem and Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth.

Its 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi had a range of 100 feet.

Like the other models, the EliteBook 2740p uses Intel's GMA HD graphics technology. Its 12.1in display offers maximum resolution of 1280x800.

The EliteBook 2740p has the best latch of the three convertibles, and when it's time to move from tablet to laptop, the screen rotates smoothly and opens to reveal a responsive keyboard with 19.2mm keys.

It's the only one of the three that has a keyboard equipped with both a touchpad and a pointing stick. It also has an unusual but very effective pop-out LED lamp for those who work late.

The display on the EliteBook 2740p is flush with the surface of the case, whereas the other two have awkwardly recessed screens.

This makes it more comfortable for writing, drawing or doodling through a long meeting.

The EliteBook has a convenient pop-out place to store its pen, which can be tethered to the case, but its pen is the smallest of the three and is less comfortable to use.

Whether I was writing a Web URL or sketching a geometric figure, the touch display was responsive and kept up with fast finger or stylus movements.

The EliteBook is able to handle multitouch gestures, like spreading your thumb and forefinger on a web page to zoom out. It also handles precise movements well - when I used the pen, the EliteBook 2740p was able to correctly take me to nine out of the 10 web addresses I hand-wrote on the entry window.

It was tripped up only by the National Weather Service's forecast site; it took me three tries to get to that site.

On the downside, the EliteBook 2740p lacks the variety of controls and buttons that the Portege M780 and LifeBook T900 have when they're in tablet mode, although it does have buttons on the side for opening up a web browser and an email client, and one that mimics the Escape key.

NEXT PAGE: More on the HP EliteBook 2740p

  1. We put three to the test
  2. Fujitsu LifeBook T900
  3. More on the Fujitsu LifeBook T900
  4. The HP EliteBook 2740p
  5. More on the HP EliteBook 2740p
  6. Toshiba Portege M780
  7. More on the Toshiba Portege M780
  8. Conclusions

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