Tablet with pen input for college student

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Tinymacrocosm, May 8, 2014.

  1. Tinymacrocosm

    Tinymacrocosm Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I currently own an HP Touchsmart tm2t that i've generally been fairly happy with. It is a bit aging though and i'd probably be just fine with it if it wasnt for the poor battery life and the god-awful TN screen with the most narrow viewing angles i've ever seen.

    Im about to enter my last year of college and im taking quite a few math courses. I've always liked the pen input functionality of my HP since it allows me to get away without any notebooks, even in math classes, where laptops tend to not be very useful.

    I've been having a very, VERY hard time finding a direct upgrade to the HP Touchsmart tm2t. I'd like it to be hinged, it needs to have pen input (Wacom preferred), lighter, thinner, faster would be great, and an IPS screen is a must. Despite the fact that i'd be okay with my Touchsmart with an IPS screen, i'm probably going to have to shell out 1000+ for such a laptop.

    1. What is your budget?

    $1000 would be great. If theres an amazing option for $2000, i could be convinced to get if it looks like something that can last me 5+ years. My Touchsmart is running on 4 years.

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?

    Yes. I can confidently open and repair my own laptops in case of issues.

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?

    Must be a notebook convertible. Already have a Nexus 7 (2013) and i love it.

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?

    10 to 13-inches is a good size for writing and not too heavy. Bigger can be okay too.

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]?

    USA. I would also like to take advantage of any student discounts.

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?

    No strong preferences for brands.

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?

    The more the better. 5 Hours would be minimum (even if it meant a low CPU powered state). 8+ hours would be amazing.

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)

    Notetaking with a pen. There will also be some software development as my classes are Comp. Sci. courses as well.

    9. Do you have an OS preference? For example, do you own an iPhone and a Mac, or are you a Windows fan? Do you own an Android device and use Google services frequently?

    Windows. Fallen in love with OneNote and most of my software development is using MS technologies.

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)

    Office. I do use Photoshop as well, but mostly as a mess-around hobby than for professional use.

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.

    A tiny amount of very light gaming may be done on it; think Plants vs Zombies, XCom on low settings. Mostly 2D games or turnbased games.

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system?

    Never considered this. Sounds cool, but hardly a priority. Already have an HTPC/File server.

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?

    None. Screen must be IPS, PLS, or VA for better viewing angles.

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?

    Very rarely if ever.

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom or N-trig?

    Yes. Must have pressure sensitivity. I do prefer Wacom.

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?

    I will likely replace the hard drive with an SSD (if it does not already have one). 4GB or more of memory should be just fine.

    2. What sort of inputs do you require, if any? Would you like full-sized USB and SD card slots? Are microUSB and microSD ok? Do you require HDMI inputs?

    At least 2 USB would be great since i always carry around a USB mouse. Its not a bluetooth mouse so it needs the USB receiver. VGA or HDMI out is also necessary, though not both.

    My own quick research seems like im largely limited to Fujitsu. Theres the T904 which looks sweet, but crazy expensive. Then theres the T734 which im not sure what exactly is the difference between it and the T904 though its quite a bit cheaper. Im hoping there may be other options that you guys know that may be a better fit.
     
  2. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    For your list -

    Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (I would spring for the 8GB RAM - 256GB SSD Model) with Type Cover
    Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
    Fujitsu Lifebook - T904 (or the older T902), T734 or the Q704

    The T734 has a better CPU but less resolution than the T904....

    Older Options:

    Lenovo ThinkPad X230T
    Microsoft Surface Pro 1 with Power Cover
    Fujitsu Lifebook T902 or T730 or Q702
     
  3. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    I really like the Yoga. The T904 looks great but is frightfully expensive. If you have a Nexus, I like the step up to a 12.5" with a smaller tablet so, I would not go with a Surface (although it's a great device), the Q584 or TP10. The T734 is kinda big. I'm also surprised at how thick the Q704 is with its keyboard. The Yoga is nice and thin. It's a bit dense but feels solid. The display is clear and the Wacom pen inks very well. The I5 at the MS store can be bought for a thousand dollars.

    I know you're looking for a convertible but the new Surface 8" looks like it might be an incredible note-taker.
     
  4. Tinymacrocosm

    Tinymacrocosm Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for showing me other options. Just to clarify, are you guys talking about the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga, or the Lenovo Yoga 2? The Yoga 2 seems to be slightly bigger with an i5 compared to the Thinkpad.

    EDIT: Nevermind. The Yoga 2 looked amazing.... until i saw that it had no pen support.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  5. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    The T902 might be worth a look too. You can pick up a refurbed unit in the Fuji outlet for ~ $1K. Would never buy anything from Lenovo that didn't say ThinkPad on the cover. ThinkPad service in the US is still handled by IBM out of Atlanta.
     
  6. V50

    V50 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The Yoga is a ThinkPad.
    But you should check all the quality problems and ghosting issues, first.
    (touchpad not properly working; some housings don't lay properly flat e.g. on table, they wiggle; display has ghosting)
    Since last month, they use new panels, but i can't find any reviews about the ghosting topic and the new panel.
    And i only read bad news about nearly every haswell tablet, and if there is one without hardware or quality issues, then its the surface.
    But the surface is glued together and can not be repaired, also the MS support is incredibly bad.

    (i'm looking for a tablet since a few weeks, considering similar requirements as you
    till now i havent found the perfect one, but the yoga is/was my favorite...if there weren't all these problems.)
     
  7. Tinymacrocosm

    Tinymacrocosm Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yeah, after more and more research im kinda warming up to the idea of a T904 despite the fact that it'll likely be around $1,800. It seems a little overpriced for its features compared to others but its also a laptop that can likely last me 6 years if not a little longer. While the T902 is pretty nice too, the reduced bulk and weight of the 904 are really nice.

    I was concerned about the reports of a whiny fan, but apparently, a recently release 904 BIOS update has alleviated that. That pretty much means that the T904, for me, have only two big downsides: Less than IPS quality viewing angles (though much better than TN) and a high price tag. The price, i can bite the bullet as justify it as a long term purchase. The viewangle is a bit of a downer, but it would also mean no other compromises elsewhere.

    Im a little concerned about the Yoga's flip mechanisms compare to the Fujitsu or even HP's central hinge. Reviews of the Yoga definitely show it to be a decent laptop, but i'd also almost prefer the longer battery life of a ULV than that a full blown Core i5/7.

    Microsoft is suppose to have an announcement on May 20th. Some people are speculating a 13 inch Surface Pro 3 or something. The lack of a keyboard is a bit problematic for me since programming uses the keyboard a lot including frequently unused symbol and keyboard shortcuts. Once im done with college i will likely not be doing too much hand written notetaking.

    But i'll wait for the announcement since i've all summer to decide on a laptop for next semester. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
     
  8. V50

    V50 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The MS announcment is probably about the "surface mini".
    There are many rumors about an 8" version of the surface with ARM cpu and Windows RT.
    Also MS gave some hints considering the mini version.
    The surface pro 3 shall be announced (or maybe) released in fall 2014, maybe as 12,9" device with i7 and iris pro.
    It's almost sure that the mini version will be released before the sp3.
     
  9. 1454

    1454 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Samsung Ativ tab 7 is what I bought, for mostly the same reasons as you. The surface was/is just too small imo for daily use. I looked at the viao flips, but they seemed to have more quality issues than I wanted to deal with. The Samsung seemed to mostly have issues with the poorly designed keyboard dock locking into place, and ghosting. Both of which I experience, but I only paid 600 used, so I'm pretty happy. It also runs Matlab and Mathcad. Haven't tried any of the design software yet. I recommend it if you can look past the two things I mentioned.

    Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
     
  10. aznguyen316

    aznguyen316 Pen Pal - Newbie

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