Tablet PC FAQ General Index (New to Tablet PCs? Read Me!)

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by SimsHsia, Mar 9, 2008.

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    SimsHsia "I will do science to it" Senior Member

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    This guide is outdated and won't receive any further updates.
    However we put a new improved guide online:
    The Exhaustive Tablet PC FAQ. All you ever wanted to know about Tablet PC's

    Tablet PC FAQ General Index
    Version 1.07r14

    This thread is meant to be a reference for the community to quickly find answers to frequently asked questions for those new to Tablet PCs. Granted, there may be some material that is not listed here, for that there's the Search function of the forums.

    This thread is far from perfect, which is why we need you to help out with the formatting, content, and validity of information. If you have any new items to add or suggestions to make for this thread a better use for the community, please add your suggestions in this thread. Thanks!

    If you are planning or considering to buy a Tablet PC, before you start a thread in the What Tablet PC Should I Buy? forum, make sure that you copy, paste, and answer the questions found in the What Tablet PC Should I Buy FAQ in your new thread!

    New to Tablet PCs?

    What's an active digitizer, a passive digitizer? Does it relate to a touchscreen? What's this Tablet PC all about having pen and touch inputs?

    Active digitizer — Utilizes only the pen to be recognized by the digitizer. If a user were to use their finger on a Tablet PC with an active digitizer, the system would not respond to that particular input since it doesn't have a passive (touchscreen) digitizer. However, if the user did the same with the stylus pen, it reacts and responds to it. Usually one gets a better inking experience with an active digitizer. In addition, there are no vectoring issues when the user lies their hand on the screen to write -- unlike a Tablet PC with a passive digitizer -- as one would on a notepad or spiral notebook.

    There are three companies that manufacture active digitizers: Wacom, which is found in the majority of Tablet PCs, and the stylus pens are battery-less; FinePoint, used in legacy/discontinued Tablet PCs like the HP Compaq tc1000 and the Gateway CX200/M280 series, these stylus pens are usually battery-powered; and N-Trig, found commonly in Dell's Latitude XT and HP's TouchSmart tx2z series Tablet PC.

    Passive digitizer — Commonly referred to as a "touchscreen", the display can recognize the input of a finger(nail) or any other fine object. A passive digitizer (or touchscreen) does not have pressure sensitivity, it's either on or off. At times, retail and online stores sometimes mistakenly advertise this as the active digitizer, causing much confusion for all of us as to whether there is an active digitizer or it's really a passive (touchscreen) digitizer. Think of the passive digitizer as similar to that of a PDA -- or rather, to go with current trends: a smartphone (WM6) or the iPod Touch/iPhone -- where the user can use any object to interact with the screen and it responds to it. Perfect for navigating windows and menus with a finger(nail) without using the stylus pen.

    Dual digitizers — Several Tablet PCs combine both an active and passive digitizer into one so you essentially have the best of both worlds. The Tablet PC will switch between either digitizer through the use of manually setting it by pressing a hardware button (Sahara i440D) or by automatically sensing for the stylus pen within a 1" range vertically from the display to switch to the active digitizer, when the stylus pen is not sensed within that range it switches to the passive (touchscreen) digitizer. Other names and derivatives: MultiTouch (Lenovo), active+passive, active/passive, active and touch, active digitizer and passive (touchscreen) digitizer, active digitizer and touchscreen.

    Capacitive vs. Resistive Touchscreens
    On the subject of passive and dual digitizers, there are two forms of technology commonly used in Tablet PCs: resistive and capacitive touch.

    Resistive touch is commonly found in most Tablet PCs and requires enough pressure on the display to be registered. Common tips to use resistive touchscreens is to use the tip of a fingernail or object (that is not too sharp that could possibly damage the display) and apply just enough force and pressure on the display to make a "tap" noise.

    Capacitive touch is found, currently, on a few Tablet PCs: the Dell Latitude XT series and the HP TouchSmart tx2z series. Capacitive touch has other uses other than found on a display; its more common use is found on touchpads. Common tips to use capacitive touchscreens is to use the base of the finger (distal phalanges) and apply just enough pressure on the display to assure that it is registered -- similar to the actions of using a touchpad or the iPhone/iPod Touch in terms of selecting items. Capacitive touch is also common grounds for what is known as multi-touch technology where multiple inputs can be recognized simultaneously. At the current time, there are very few applications that support multi-touch capabilities that are available for Tablet PCs; the next version of Windows 7 is expected to support such capabilities. In regards to the Dell Latitude XT, Dell has released N-Trig multitouch drivers and are available at the Dell Support website.
    For XT models: Vista x86 (32-bit), Vista x64 (64-bit), XP (32-bit only) and for XT2 models: Vista x86 (32-bit), Vista x64 (64-bit), XP (32-bit only).

    List of Tablet PCs with dual digitizers

    • With Wacom Penabled Active Digitizer + Touch
      • Fujitsu T4310 Dual Digitizer (Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch)
      • Fujitsu T4410 Dual Digitizer (Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch)
      • Fujitsu T5010 Dual Digitizer (Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch)
      • Lenovo ThinkPad X60t w/MultiTouch (Resistive Touch) ~ Discontinued
      • Lenovo ThinkPad X61t w/MultiTouch (Resistive Touch)
      • Lenovo ThinkPad X200t w/Touch (Resistive Touch)
      • Lenovo ThinkPad X200t w/Touch (Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch)
      • Gateway C-120X (Resistive Touch) ~ Discontinued
      • TabletKiosk Sahara i440D (Resistive Touch)
      • Toshiba Portege M700 with Touch (Resistive Touch)
      • HP Pavilion tx2000 (Resistive Touch) ~ Discontinued
      • HP Pavilion tx2500 (Resistive Touch)
    • With N-Trig Active Digitizer + Touch
      • Dell Latitude XT (Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch)
      • Dell Latitude XT2 (Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch)
      • HP TouchSmart tx2z (Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch)

    Compatible Wacom Stylus Pens

    Any Wacom Penabled compatible stylus pen listed below is compatible with a Tablet PC with a Wacom Penabled active digitizer. Please note that the styli/styluses listed below may not fit in your tablet's pen garage or pen slot. Also, a Tablet PC that has a different active digitizer, e.g. N-Trig or Finepoint, are *not* compatible with the stylus pens listed below.
    Note: The Wacom eStore updates product links continuously or remove products when they are not in-stock. You can see a full listing of available and in-stock pens from the Wacom eStore at this page.

    If you have a Wacom Tablet (or another brand tablet), then you may be wondering if your stylus may work. Shogmaster has a very useful post that has been quoted many times here!
    Here's another related discussion thread for compatible Wacom Penabled stylus pens for most Tablet PCs.

    Artists: Tablet PC's 256 pressure sensitivity levels vs. the Cintiq's 1024 pressure sensitivity levels

    Check out this YouTube video by Shogmaster comparing the Toshiba Satellite R25 with its Wacom Penabled active digitizer (UD series) versus the Wacom Cintiq 21UX pen display. (Discussion thread)

    Calibrating your Tablet PC display - Pen and Touch

    To do this, load up the Control Panel. To make it easier to find the utility, switch from Category view to Classic View, this option is found in the sidebar.

    If you installed the Wacom Enhanced Graphics Driver — You have two options, you can use the Wacom utility or the Windows Utility:
    1.) Find "Pen Tablet Properties", double click to open it, click the "Calibrate" tab, then click the "Calibrate" button.
    2.) Find "Tablet PC Settings", double click to open it, under the "General" tab, click the "Calibrate" button.

    Make sure that your pen tip hits the middle in each of the four targets, do not calibrate the stylus pen with the pen straight up, and you looking down the pen. Calibrate naturally by holding the stylus pen as you would with a notepad and pen. Once done, test your calibration by moving the Control Panel window around to different areas and attempt to minimize, maximize, and close the window. If the calibration result does not satisfy you, re-calibrate until satisfied.

    If you are using the stock, default drivers (e.g. you haven't done any driver updates) — Follow step 2.) in the section above.

    If you have a touchscreen (or you have a dual digitizer, and want to calibrate the touchscreen) — Find "Touch Screen Properties" or "Touch Screen Settings", double click to open it, and calibrate the touchscreen with a finger or any other object.

    When do manufacturers update their Tablet PCs?

    The exact date of when manufacturers refresh their lines are unknown until new models are publicly announced, thus, generally new Tablet PCs are released before or during the summer (in time for the new school year for students), before the end of the year, and after the new year. In most cases, they are around new processor and platform releases like the Intel Arrandale processors and the upcoming Calpella (Core i7) platform. However, the Tablet PC market is usually the last market to receive new technology upgrades, several months behind desktops and laptops.

    Intel Mobile Processor/Platform Future Roadmap: (Affects majority of consumer Tablet PC market)

    Core micro-architecture (2006) - Released, Current, Phasing Out January 2006
    Successor to Intel's NetBurst micro-architecture.
    Napa (Centrino Duo) platform (2006) - Released, Legacy January 2006 (mainstream), June 2006 (tablet)
    Third-generation Centrino platform. Intel GMA 950, DDR2-667 MHZ RAM support. Supported Yonah and Merom processors.
    Socket: M
    Yonah (Intel Core) processor (2006) - Released, Legacy January 2006 (mainstream), June 2006 (tablet)
    First mobile dual core processor based on the Core micro-architecture. 667 MHz FSB support, 2MB L2 cache, 1st-gen 65nm die process.
    Socket: M (Napa)
    Santa Rosa platform (2007) - Released, Mainstream, Phasing Out May 2007 (mainstream), July 2007 (tablet)
    Fourth-generation Centrino platform. Intel GMA X3100, Intel TurboMemory (Robson), Wireless-N support.
    Tablet PCs available: Fujitsu LifeBook T2010, T4220; Lenovo ThinkPad X61t; Asus R1E; Gateway C-140X/XL, C-141X/XL; Toshiba M700; HP 2710p
    Socket: P
    Merom (Intel Core 2) processor (2007) - Released, Legacy July 2007 (mainstream, tablet)
    Supported on Montevina, Santa Rosa, and Napa platforms, 2MB/4MB L2 cache, 2nd-gen 65nm die process.
    Socket: P (Santa Rosa, Montevina), M (Napa)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Penryn processor (2008) - Released, Current, Mainstream January 6th, 2008 (mainstream), February 2008 (tablet)
    Supported on Santa Rosa platform and Montevina platforms, 3MB/6MB L2 cache, first-gen 45nm die process.
    Tablet PCs available: Gateway C-141X/XL, C-142XL; Toshiba Portege M700; Fujitsu LifeBook T4220, T1010, T5010; HP EliteBook 2730p; Lenovo ThinkPad X200t
    Socket: P (Santa Rosa, Montevina)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Montevina (Centrino 2) platform (2008) - Released, Current, Mainstream July 15th, 2008 (mainstream) July 16th, 2008 (tablet)
    Fifth-generation Centrino platform. Support for 800 MHz and 1066 MHz DDR2/DDR3 RAM, Intel GMA X4500, Intel TurboMemory (Robson 2), WiMAX support.
    Tablet PCs available: Fujitsu LifeBook T1010, T5010; HP EliteBook 2730p; Lenovo ThinkPad X200t
    Socket: P
    Westmere (Core i5/i7) micro-architecture (2009) - Forthcoming, Q1 2010 for Mainstream
    Enhanced Core micro-architecture, successor to Core micro-architecture with Hyper-Threading. Mobile variant of the Nehalem micro-architecture (desktops) at a 32nm architecture.
    Socket: mPGA-989
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Calpella platform (2009) - Forthcoming, Jan 2010 for Mainstream
    Sixth-generation Centrino platform. QuickPath Interconnect (integrated memory controller), DDR3-1600 RAM support.
    Socket: mPGA-989
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Arrandale processor (2009) - Forthcoming, Jan 2010 for Mainstream
    First-gen 32nm die process dual core processor, supported on Calpella platform. Quad-core variant codenamed Clarksfield.
    Socket: mPGA-989
    Sandy Bridge micro-architecture (2010) - Under development
    Second-gen 32nm die process.
    Huron River platform (2010) - Under development
    Seventh-generation Centrino platform.
    Haswell micro-architecture (2012) - Under development
    First-gen 22nm die process.

    AMD Mobile Processor/Platform Future Roadmap: (Affects HP Pavilion tx1000/tx2000/tx2500 and tx2 series)

    Kite Refresh platform (2007) - Released, Legacy Feb. 2007
    Includes AMD Turion 64 X2 @65nm (Codename Tyler), TPM, 802.11a/b/g/n, DDR2-800MHz RAM support.
    Tablet PCs available: HP Pavilion tx1000 Entertainment Notebook series, tx2000 series
    Socket: S1g1 * Note: Socket S1g1 and S1g2 have similar names, but different pinouts. In brief: they are not pin compatible.

    Puma platform (2008) - Released, Current, Mainstream June 3rd, 2008
    Includes AMD Turion Ultra (Codename Giffin) on a 65nm die process, PCI-Express 2.0, Mobility Radeon HD 3000 Series.
    Tablet PCs available: HP Pavilion tx2500 series, tx2 series
    Socket: S1g2 * Note: Socket S1g1 and S1g2 have similar names, but different pinouts. In brief: they are not pin compatible.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    VISION Technology initiative
    Both the Tigris and Congo platforms are a part of AMD's 2009 VISION Technology platform initiative.

    Tigris platform (2009) - Released September 10th, 2009 (mainstream)
    Includes AMD Turion II Ultra and AMD Turion II (Codename Caspian) processors on a 45nm die process along with ATI Radeon HD 4200 graphics. This platform is AMD's mainstream notebook platform.
    Socket: S1

    Congo platform (2009) - Released September 10th, 2009 (mainstream)
    Includes AMD Neo X2 (Codename Huron) on a 65nm die process and ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics. This platform is AMD's 2nd generation ultra-portable notebook platform.
    Socket: ASB1​

    Danube/Eagle platform (2010) - Under development
    Planned for 2010 release. Codenamed "Champlain" 4-core processors, DDR3 memory native support.

    Sabine/Fusion platform (2011) - Under development
    Codenamed "Llano" APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) 4-core processor with integrated graphic core(s) on a 32nm die process.

    Tablet PCs with ExpressCard slots

    Most Tablet PCs available have the older PCMCIA (Type I/II) card slot, the Tablet PCs listed below have the newer ExpressCard Slot:

    • Asus R1F, R1E (ExpressCard/54)
    • Dell Latitude XT (ExpressCard/54)
    • HP Compaq 2710p (ExpressCard/54)
    • HP Pavilion tx1000 (Entertainment Notebook), tx2000 (ExpressCard/34), tx2500 (ExpressCard/34), tx2 (ExpressCard/34)
    • Lenovo Thinkpad X200t
    • Fujitsu-Siemens LifeBook T5010 (European models only)
    • HP Compaq 2730p EliteBook (ExpressCard/54)
    • Motion Computing J3400 (ExpressCard/34)

    Tablet PCs with dedicated graphics

    The majority of Tablet PCs come configured with Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100 graphics chipset, very few Tablet PCs that have dedicated graphics card (or chipset) are listed below:

    - (14.1" WXGA) Gateway C-143XL: ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 ~ Discontinued
    - (14.1" WXGA) Gateway C-142XL: ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 ~ Discontinued
    - (14.1" WXGA) Gateway C-141XL: ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 ~ Discontinued
    - (10.6" WXGA) LG C1: nVidia GeForce Go 7300 ~ Discontinued
    - (10.6" WXGA) LG P100: nVidia GeForce Go 8400M
    - (14.1" WXGA) Gateway C-140X(CTO)/XL: ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 HD ~ Discontinued
    - (14.1" WXGA) Gateway C210X: ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 ~ Discontinued
    - (14.1" WXGA) Gateway C200X: ATI Mobility Radeon X600 ~ Discontinued
    - (14.1" WXGA) Toshiba Tecra M7: nVida Quadro NVS110M ~ Discontinued
    - (14.1" SXGA+) Toshiba Tecra M4: nVidia GeForce Go 6200TE/6600TE ~ Discontinued

    Integrated (other than Intel GMA):
    - (12.1" WXGA) Dell Latitude XT: ATI Mobility Radeon X1250 (Based on the X700)
    - (12.1" WXGA) HP tx1000 (Entertainment Notebook) (Discontinued), tx2000: nVidia GeForce Go 6150, tx2500: ATI HD 3200
    - (12.1" WXGA) HP TouchSmart tx2z: ATI HD 3200
    - (12.1" XGA/SXGA+) Toshiba Portege M200: nVidia GeForce FX Go5200 (Discontinued)

    Can I upgrade my graphics card?

    On the subject of dedicated graphics, generally no, for a Tablet PC one is unable to upgrade their graphics card. Upgrading an internal graphics card, commonly known as an Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP), is impossible to do as it is soldered directly on to the motherboard. To note, these include the Intel integrated graphics and such IGPs like the nVidia GeForce Go 6150 and ATi Mobility Radeon X1250.

    However, upgrading a dedicated graphics card is almost impossible provided that the system in question has a MXM (Mobile PCI EXpress Module) slot. This is generally the case for less than 1% conventional notebooks/laptops available in the market. Tablet PCs, on the other hand, are even more difficult to upgrade as manufacturers usually solder dedicated graphics card to the motherboard. Keep in mind, that in most cases performing such an upgrade may void your warranty -- especially for Tablet PCs. Certain Dell notebooks with MXM slots and dedicated graphics card (not IGPs like the ATi MR X1250) do not void the warranty, however.

    Case: Gateway C-140/141/142/143 Series
    The C-140X CTO, C-140XL, C-141XL, and C-142XL have the ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 HD dedicated graphics card. In turn, as shown in the component image of the motherboard for both the series, the ATI M-71S graphics chipset/controller is clearly soldered into the motherboard (above the half-circle cut in the motherboard and to the left ~ green chip with silver center) and not held within a MXM slot. For any further clarification (for any skeptics), go to the Gateway Support site, select Notebooks, select the C-140 series, then choose either the C-140XL or C-141XL, select Components, then under the Motherboard category click "4006213R - Systemboard with 128 MB Graphics 965PM Chipset and 1394 (FRU)", then click Main View.

    For reference and example, this nVidia dedicated graphics card for the Gateway M680 notebook is held by an MXM slot thus allowing an upgrade. For any further clarification (for any skeptics), go to the Gateway Support site, select Notebooks, select the M600 Series, choose the M680, select Components, then look under "Video Card".

    Comparing the C-140 series and the M600 series, one can tell whether the graphics card is upgradeable if there is a Video Card category with component(s) listed compared to a system that does not have an upgradeable graphics card (soldered) which generally has graphics listed under the Motherboard category.

    Upgrading Mobile Graphics Cards - NBR
    List of MXM-capable Laptops

    Tablet PC Displays

    This is not a largely comprehensive list of all available Tablet PCs. Most Tablet PCs here are directed at the consumer market (sans a few).

    14.1" (Large)
    • SXGA+
      • Toshiba Tecra M4 (Discontinued)
    • WXGA+
      • Toshiba Tecra M7 (Discontinued)
    • WXGA
      • Gateway C200X (Discontinued), C210X (Discontinued), C-140X/XL (Discontinued), C-141X/XL (Discontinued), C-142XL (Discontinued), C-143X/XL

    • WXGA
      • Asus R1F (Discontinued), R1E
      • Axiotron ModBook (Mac OSX)
      • Fujitsu LifeBook T1010
      • Fujitsu LifeBook T5010

    12.1" (Mainstream)
    • SXGA+
      • Convertible
        • Fujitsu LifeBook T4215 (Discontinued), T4220
        • Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (Discontinued), X61t
        • Toshiba Portege M205 (Discontinued), M400 (Discontinued)
      • Slate
        • Motion Computing LE1700
    • WXGA
      • Convertible
        • Dell Latitude XT (CCFL/LED Backlit) (Discontinued), XT2 (LED Backlit)
        • Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (LED Backlit) (Discontinued), T2020 (LED Backlit)
        • Fujitsu LifeBook T4310 (LED Backlit)
        • Fujitsu LifeBook T4410 (LED Backlit)
        • HP Pavilion tx1000 (Entertainment Notebook) (Discontinued), tx2000 (Discontinued), tx2500
        • HP TouchSmart tx2
        • HP Compaq 2710p (LED Backlit) (Discontinued), 2730p (LED Backlit)
        • Lenovo ThinkPad X200t
        • Toshiba Portege M700 (LED Backlit) (Discontinued), M750 (LED Backlit)
        • Toshiba Portege R400 (LED Backlit) (Discontinued)
        • Toshiba Satellite R20/R25 (Discontinued)
      • Slate
        • Electrovaya Scribbler 4000
        • Fujitsu Stylistic ST6012
        • Motion Computing J3400
    • XGA
      • Convertible
        • Fujitsu LifeBook T4210 (Discontinued), T4215 (Discontinued), T4220 (Discontinued)
        • Fujitsu LifeBook B6230 Notebook
        • HP Compaq tc4200 (Discontinued), tc4400 (Discontinued)
        • Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (Discontinued), X61t (Discontinued)
        • Toshiba Portege M200 (Discontinued), M400 (Discontinued)
      • Slate
        • Fujitsu Stylistic ST5112 (Discontinued)
        • Motion Computing LE1600 (Discontinued), LE1700
        • TabletKiosk Sahara i440


    • XGA
      • Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111
      • Compaq tc1000 (Discontinued)
      • Motion Computing C5, F5
      • HP Compaq tc1100 (Discontinued)

    8.9" (Small)

    • WXGA
      • Fujitsu LifeBook P1510 (Discontinued), P1610 (Discontinued), P1620 (Discontinued), P1630


    • Fujitsu Lifebook U810 (Discontinued), U820 (5.6" WSVGA)
    • LG C1 (10.6" WXGA) (Discontinued)
    • LG P100 (10.6" WXGA)
    • OQO model 01 (5" WVGA) (Discontinued), model 02 (5" WVGA) (never released)

    Tablet PC Availability

    There are a few manufacturers who do not sell their Tablet PCs available outside of certain countries, this only affects those that are bought directly from the manufacturer and not third party resellers:

    Gateway C-Series (C-120X, C-140X/XL, C141X/XL, C142XL) - Available only within the U.S.
    LG C1 - Not available in the U.S., available in Canada, parts of Europe and Asia.
    LG P100 - Available in Asia, Europe.

    Tablet PC Resellers

    Other than buying direct through the manufacturer, there are online and retail stores that sell Tablet PCs.


    Retail Store
    • MicroCenter
    • Fry's Electronic Store
    • Office Depot
    • Best Buy
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
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