HP 2740p vs Fujitsu t730 vs Lenovo x201 a users perspective

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by lovelaptops, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    An alternate perspective:

    The X201 is the consensus first choice of most reviewers, but it has some significant negatives you should consider before taking the plunge. I have the unique experience of having actually owned and used the Lenovo X201, HP 2740p and TM2 and Fujitsu T-730 in the past year. I won't contradict anything the previous poster said about the Lenovo, but I will clarify a few things, then give you an alternative to consider:

    1) You don't get Lenovo's advertosed 8 hrs. on from the 8 cell battery on the X201. At best you get 6, more like 4-5 if you are doing much more than a few browser windows or MS Office.

    2) Though there is a Core i5 option, it is an i5-UM, the ultra low voltage version, and it is a very weak cpu, though it will give you more battery life. It is about equivalent to the old C2D SL series. The Core i7 options are the LM versions, low voltage but a good compromise. Plenty of juice for almost anything you could throw at it, but again, 4-6 hrs battery, max.

    3) The 8 cell battery sticks out about 1.5" from the back of the X201. Some find this a useful "handle" to carry the tablet with. Still, it makes the unit bulkier to transport.

    4) The keyboard on the thinkpads are "legendary," but by modern standards they are not necessarily the best going. They are "clackety" (as all IBM keyboards used to be) and they are not the "island" style that many prefer. It's all a matter of choice.

    5) There is no keyboard light, so no low light typing.

    6) They come standard with a 1 yr wtty; you pay about $200 to extend to 3 yrs, which should be a given.

    7) Just my opinion, and not necessarily a consideration for many, but I think the original thinkpad design, unchanged for 15 years, is without equal the ugliest and most outdated design in notebook computers, with nothing coming close except perhaps the utra-rugged Panasonic Toughbook series.

    I am a fan of the HP 2740p. It is on the "right" side of every issue mentioned above, but it has it's downsides compared to the Lenovo:

    1) It only fits a 1.8" HDD which limits choices, sizes and speeds of spinning drives. The standard is 2.5" for notebooks, and all the other tablets use it. If you get the Intel 160GB SSD (and I recommend that with either the Lenovo or the HP - both offer it), it is just as fast. But if you want to upgrade to a larger SSD later, there will always be fewer choices in 1.8" size, though that may well change as tablets grow and convertible tablet PCs shrink.

    2) It only gets 3 hrs on its base battery. You can buy a "slice" battery, which is 1/4" thick and covers the entire bottom of the computer, for about $75 on eBay - don't buy the HP version for $175 - it is a waste of money. The slice adds 3/4 lb, but nearly doubles battery life.

    3) There were early quality problems (as there were with X201s) but they seem to be worked out. Like the Lenovo X2XX series, the HP 27XX series has been around for over 3 years with little change to the design, so you can depend on it being quite durable and reliable.

    4) If you get any screen except the best "outdoor" version (there are two "outdoor" screens, get the more expensive one, only $50 more), it will not be on par with Lenovo's excellent screens. The best outdoor screen from Hp is made by Hydis, who used to make all of Lenovo's but now each Lenovo model has a different mfr, resolution, brightness, etc. Still, the Lenovo 300 nit multitouch and the HP "outdoor" are comparable, and both are excellent. If you don't want multi touch, the Lenovo "outdoor" screen is 400 nits (but not made with a multitouch digitizer), about the brightest and best screen you'll find on any laptop. Unless you must use it outdoors a lot, it is overkill.

    Otherwise, take all the caveats about the Lenovo, above, and remove them for the HP - eg, they come with 3 yr wtty, their minimum configuration is a Core i5 standard voltage, 2.5-3.06 Ghz cpu, has a keyboard light, smaller footprint, modern design, quiet, island style keyboard, etc.) It's hard to get an apples to apples comparison, and with Lenovo you get your best deal when they are running a huge coupon special or through their "Top Seller" resellers with pre-configured models. That said, I think the HPs on average cost a few hundred less, especially with comparable 3 yr wtty and SSDs, both of which cost much more on the Lenovos. Both will be under your $2,000, but not by much.

    You can't go wrong with either model. I chose the HP, but second guessed myself about 10 times over the past 6 mos!

    The Fujitsus are the most versatile and powerful machines out there, and the most durable as well. They weigh about 1 lb more but have a wonderful feature called a "modular bay" which can hold a dvd drive (comes standard - you need to use an external or get an expansion base on the Lenovo or HP), an extra battery or an extra Hard Drive. The modular bay is "hot swappable" so you can unplug/plug drives on the fly. With a Core i5 or i7 cpu and a 500GB-1TB HDD in the modular bay, you can have a 4.6lb tablet PC that is as powerful as just about any desktop replacement, other than having no discrete gpu, as none of the quality tablets do. The Fujitsus will win no style awards, but they are less "military" looking than the Lenovos, IMO. Their keyboards are the worst of the three: not lit and noisy, with mediocre feel, still, they are in a tough field: the Lenovo and HP are among the two best keyboards I've used on ANY laptop.

    Any computer can be purchased used or refurbished on eBay, but Fujitsu has it's own refurbish store on eBay and you can routinely buy current models (the T-730 is the match for the other two models we've discussed) for half price or less. (I own one, which I am about to send back to Fujitsu for a refund, not because there's anything wrong with it, just because I prefer the size, weight and feel of the HP. (I have it for sale for $1,050 (until Monday, 12/13 PM me if you're interested, but I am not "hawking" it here and, as you see, I rated it third out of 3. If you like the idea of the modular bay, don't mind the weight and don't need the best keyboard made for a laptop, you can get a very powerful machine for 1/2 price.

    Hmmm....probably left out around 50 more things I know about all of these models, but my bottom line, where I put MY money, is 1) HP 2740, 2) Lenovo X-200 and 3) Fujitsu T-730 (or T-900, same as 730 but 13" screen, only tablet made that size.)

    One last VERY important point: HP allows you to use your computer for 30 days and return it for any reason or no reason for a 100% refund. Lenovo charges a 20% "restocking" fee. I'm not sure about Fujitsu - check their web site, they may give you 14 days. Personally, I would never buy a computer I cannot try, at least in a store. I was fortunate in getting "free" use of all three models, but without special cirucmstances, HP is the only one that gives you 30 days, standard.

    You can't go wrong with any of the three, and there really aren't any others worth considering.

    Good luck.
     
  2. ZaZ

    ZaZ Scribbler - Standard Member

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    It's not the clackety that makes ThinkPad keyboards legendary, but the key pitch, travel and firmness of the keyboard. Here, my X200t excels.


    While optical drive is nice, it's very rare that I've used one on my laptop of late, mainly to install the OS. It's been a while since I've seen a Fujitsu. I wouldn't say it outclassed a ThinkPad in terms of durability. My X200t is quite excellent in this regard, though every machine has its own story.
     
  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Zaz, I respect you from your posts, but you have a little Lenovo "fanboy" in you - please don't take offense ;). I know they are excellent and most reviewers' first choice, but they are far from perfect and Fujitsu and HP have pros and cons over them.

    As for the DVD drive, that is not why I think the Fujitsu modular bay is so great - it is because it can hot swap between a second 2.5" HDD/SDD, a second battery, or a DVD driver (included) if needed.

    Of course the Thinkpad keyboards are not praised for their noise! I just find it annoying (and sometimes I have to type in near silence) and I also, personally, find the key travel on it and the Fujitsu long for my taste - but it's just personal preference.

    There are 3 quality mfrs of tablet PCs in my view, and neither is a bad choice sight unseen, but they have different strengths/weaknesses and I think new buyers benefit from knowing them.

    Please tell me if/where you think my presentation is biased and I will change it if I agree. I did not ask for it to be stickied - another member did and Dr. Tigerlilly apparently agreed.

    Jeff[/QUOTE]
     
  4. ZaZ

    ZaZ Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I return to ThinkPads because I like them. They're well built, have good ergonomics and I always get good support. If that makes me a fanboy, so be it.

    It's not a zero sum game. Two people can making opposing choices and both can be good decisions based on their needs or desires. You prefer the flexibility the mulitbay brings while I prefer the smaller profile/weight and quiet an optical driveless machine with an SSD offers, and have little use for the optical drive. There's nothing wrong with either of those choices.

    I however was just pointing out where my viewpoint differed from yours. I think saying Fujitsus are better built based on such a small sample is misleading and not my experience. The keyboard on my X200t is excellent, but you're right, it's a personal preference.

    Just to add to the discussion, the last time I checked and it's been a while, Fujitsus return policy is CTO machines incur the restocking fee while pre-configured machines that are unopened do not, but don't take my word for it. Ask if you have any doubts.
     
  5. norvillerogers

    norvillerogers Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Judging by the number of threads started in this forum, the recent introduction of lightweight slates has not diminished potential buyers’ interest in ~12” convertibles. After reading a number of these requests for recommendations and struggling to explain the differences and advantages of each of the main business-level tablets, I was very impressed with lovelaptops’ post in another thread, and I asked DRTigerlilly if this response could be stickied.

    lovelaptops’ experience with all three of these tablets puts him in a unique position: it’s very unusual for a user to have used two of them, let alone all three. After trying each of them, he ended up choosing the HP. While he did justify his choice in the post, I thought lovelaptops’ presentation was quite balanced, especially in emphasizing that one really cannot go wrong with any of these tablets. The strongest choice for a buyer is a matter of both intended use as well as personal preference.

    The Lenovo and HP are more similar to each other than they are to the Fujitsus, and I think this is the reason why people’s choices between the two often appear to be matters of opinion. Admittedly, some individual preferences informed lovelaptops' decision, and when they come up in his post, I feel it is easy for the reader to see them as such and judge accordingly. (Not that I personally agree with all of them. For instance, I think the Lenovo, while stylized, looks quite good. On the other hand, I just really can’t bring myself to care that much about laptop keyboard quality.) ZaZ, your points in this area are fair – though please keep in mind that while this post is now stickied, it was originally in another context. It is certainly not intended to be (nor do I think it reads as) an untempered endorsement of the HP 2740p.

    The one area that I think could use slightly more fleshing out is a discussion of the Fujitsu tablets, and I’ll add a line or two about them here. Regarding quality control, my information comes from laptopauthority, where only around 0.5% of Fujitsus ordered are defective. The proportions of Lenovos and HPs are around 2-3% and 4-5% respectively. I thought lovelaptops’ brief treatment in the original context was fair: the added thickness and weight of the T730 or T900 is simply probably not worth it for many users. However, and while this is my own opinion, I would also encourage a potential buyer to look at the T900 rather than the T730. The increase in screen area does not substantially increase the size of the machine. As an owner of a T900 who also has played with a demo model of the TH700, I can tell you that the additional screen space makes a world of difference for me in both slate and laptop mode.

    Finally, I would like to emphasize that while I believe that these models from HP, Lenovo, and Fujitsu are the best tablets currently available, none of them are perfect. Each suffers from the same problems that currently plague all new Windows convertibles. These problems include high price, poor resolution, digitizer idiosyncrasies (for instance, every month or so, someone starts a new thread asking “why doesn’t my digitizer work near the screen’s edges?”), a raised bezel the recent Wacom dual-digitizer tablets, as well as imperfect support from both the OS and individual applications. Overall, there are relatively few models to pick between. For example, why should I have to choose between a light tablet and one with a 13.3” screen?

    We are here contributing to this forum because we all believe the additional benefits of (any one of) these tablets makes up for these drawbacks, and I think lovelaptops’ experience will make the choice easier for first-time buyers.
     
  6. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Fujitsu provides 15 days, unconditional refund, no restocking fee.
     
  7. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Nice post, Norville. Thanks for explaining how my post got to be a sticky. If I was writing one for that purpose, I definitely would have been more thorough. I was flattered that you asked to have it stickied, flattered that Dr. Tigerlilly agreed, but a bit sheepish at the idea that the content is a complete overview. I would rather people search all my posts, as I have gone both deeper and broader in other posts.

    And Norville is so right: none of the tablet PC products is fairly priced new, compared to comparable notebook PCs and the value added of the tablet, but it is presently a small market and therefore a sellers' market. As tablets converge, and there are more Windows 7 tablets like the HP Slate, pricing will be more fair. The dramatic depreciation of used/refurbished tablet PCs tell the value story well.

    Thanks too for the defect rate data Norville. All 3 are acceptably low, but Fujitsu clearly is the highest quality.

    For all of those shopping for a tablet PC, my advice is to "soak up" this entire forum, not just this thread. Also, ask specific advice and don't move on that of just one person, especially if they have an apparent bias. Know that among the main three mfrs, there are distinct pros and cons. If you can, try one out, at least in a store, before you buy or, better, buy an HP or Fujitsu, both of whom offer "free trials" (Fujitsu - 15 days; HP 30 days; Lenovo charges a heavy "restocking fee" but several of the Lenovo resellers ("Topsellers") offer at least 7 day, some more, unconditional returns.

    Finally, if you are not in a rush, I think the next year will bring many, many new choices and much lower prices. It always pays to wait to buy a computer, but never more than a tablet computer now. If you must have it now, buy used or refurbished (but with a factory ext wtty) or, if you don't mind 50% depreciation, like an American car in one year, at least until recently, buy new.

    OH, and ask, ask, ask away. This is the best computer forum I have ever used. Such knowlegeable and generous people.

    Happy New Year

    Jeff
     
  8. ZaZ

    ZaZ Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'm curious how you came to that conclusion?
     
  9. Taikero

    Taikero Pen Pal - Newbie

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    This I wonder about. At lenovo.com/spp, the x201t is currently around $930 base, 1,100 loaded (excepting the screen upgrade to either multitouch/outdoor) with the sale price plus 15% coupon code. Additionally, they emailed registered users with 10-50% coupons. Mine was 20%, bringing the mostly maxxed x201t to $970. Only thing I didn't upgrade were the RAM and HDD, because it is much more economical to upgrade those yourself, of course, but I tossed in things like the sleeve, webcam, etc. that aren't really 'necessary'.

    I guess for comparison's sake, I'm wondering what the real out-of-pocket cost is for the HP 2740p right now. I've been looking at these tablets for about two months, and the Lenovo has been hovering around 1.1k with the i7 640LM and most addons, excepting a screen upgrade (the outdoor screen has been unavailable all this time anyway).

    I'm disregarding RAM/HDD upgrades, as I suspect it is more economical to remain with the base configuration in either case and upgrade yourself, especially considering the DDR3 prices have tanked over the last month, and are expected to continue to do so well into Q2 2011; moreover, SSD prices are expected to decline similarly as Intel moves toward 25nm NAND manufacturing.

    The way I look at it presently, is the x201t is only a couple hundred more than the lowest prices on the TM2T, but the quality is far superior. In either case, you'd want to get your own SSD; perhaps only the x201t would require you to purchase your own RAM, but the way prices are currently, that'd be almost negligible if you shop around. Furthermore, the x201t 2GB base config only uses one DIMM, so you could get another 2GB for almost nothing if you don't want to shop around for 8GB.
     
  10. kunato

    kunato Pen Pal - Newbie

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    well,....I don't know about others but I feel pretty sold for FUJITSU!

    I've looked at HP and Lenovo, but here is why I chose Fujitsu (although I have not ordered it yet). Although both HP and Lenovo share some of below features, I still think Fujitsu outperforms them.

    Why I didn't pick HP:
    - it looks cheap. HT-2 chasis is made of plastic!...I held it in my hands and though, what would happen if I bump with it somewhere?

    Why I didn't pick Lenovo:
    - they don't offer i7 vPro processors....I'm sorry but in my view the most important investment in a PC is the processor....since new software demands ever-increasing processor power, even for basic browsing (it's not only the browser, but also the webdesign of a website that can require powerful processor).
    - in my view they try to mislead the customers by saying they give you $600-700 off from your customized model...so instead of $3,100 you would pay "only" $2,400....guess what, fully loaded Fujitsu is less than 2,400 (without 3 yr warranty). I consider Lenovo's move a marketing trick....mark something up to a ridiculous price, then offer a "discount".

    What Lenovo has that Fujitsu doesn't have:
    - Apparently Lenovo offers integrated Broadband that is independent from cell carrier. Fujitsu offers integrated Broadband from AT&T


    Fujitsu:
    1. has the longest tradition in developing pen-sensitive tablet PCs! Period! I know one user who still has 1997 model, and it's functioning. Screen touch features are flawless.
    2. appears to design durable and reliable PCs
    3. offers best and most advanced processors (i7 vPro 640M)....honestly, I'd prefer to pay $100 more knowing that I won't have to replace my PC after 2 years, just because new software just got too resource-intensive.
    4. offers SSD drives with FDE support! This is in my view far better than Windows 7, software-based, full disc encryption (Bit...whatever they call it). SSD makes programs run smoother, it is lighter and it is also cooler which saves battery energy and lifetime.
    5. It is spill resistant (and HOW I learned that lesson from SONY Z-series)!
    6. It is expensive,....but I get what I pay for.
    7. I really couldn't care about the keyboard...I don't understand why so many complain about it. SONY Z-series has pretty audible keystrokes and it never bothered me or anyone else.
    8. It offers 64-bit OS version for free (which is far more efficient than 32-bit, which I am surprised is still offered).
    9. It offers me the option to get rid of CD/DVD burner that does nothing else but add on the weight, power consumption and....hello!!!!...CD/DVDs are OUT! I'm surprised to see Laptops with CD/DVD at all these days.
    10. The material Fujitsu uses is more sturdy that that used by others such as HP (seriously,...making a Laptop out of plastic???).

    The only thing I cannot decide on is whether to but 12" or 13" inch model. Just few weeks ago, a 10" model was released. It makes my choice a bit tougher. I like compactness of 10" but at the cost of lower end processor.

    I am also not sure how components are assembled on the motherboard. Does anyone know? Can you exchange the processor in Fujitsu tablet PC?
     
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