tm2 vs laptop+netbook tablet

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by bugmenot, Aug 3, 2010.

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  1. bugmenot

    bugmenot Pen Pal - Newbie

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    So I'm going away to school for Systems Design Engineering in September, and I was originally planning on getting an Acer TimelineX 4820tg or another laptop with a GPU in the $700-1000 range but then I started looking at tablets, which would allow me to use my laptop for taking notes in science/math courses. Although I will be too busy with homework for hardcore gaming, I would still like a GPU for mild gaming and possibly 3D design software. I discovered the HP Touchsmart TM2t which seemed perfect for my needs, especially with the recent i3/i5 update.

    Unfortunately, I live in Canada and the only TM2 for sale here is an i3 with integrated graphics. :mad: Despite my best efforts to give U.S. HP money, they refuse to sell me a laptop, even if I have it shipped to the U.S. for pickup later. I could go through USUnlocked.com or even an American relative, but all this hassle has me wondering if it wouldn't be better to get a regular laptop to use for general use/gaming, and a small, cheap netbook-like convertible tablet to take to class, preferably in the $200-400 price range.

    Is the TM2 a better option because it has a GPU and a tablet all-in-one? Is a pen tablet even useful for 3D intensive apps or would I end up just using a mouse/kb for anything other than note-taking? Of course, not giving HP money would be a plus after how terribly they've treated me as a customer.

    What is your opinion on this? Am I better off getting an all-in-one tm2 or a general laptop with a cheap tablet for class? Are there any Windows-based, Wacom penabled tablets in my price range?
     
  2. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I think your idea of getting two computers - one for gaming and more powerful general purpose use and an inexpensive tablet primarily for note-taking - is an inspired idea. The problem with the TM2, even the US versions, is that the screen has truly awful viewing angles; in order to see while taking notes, you will need to rig something to tilt the computer's back up towards you, and I don't know of a stable way to do that. It may seem like the best of both worlds as a full featured tablet plus light gaming machine via it's lower midrange gpu, but in reality it's more like the worst of both worlds since it's a jack of all trades, master of none. It also lacks power, even with the most potent LV Core i5 cpu.

    Since there are now so many very powerful notebooks for $700 and up (the Acer you mention promises to be a good one, as is it's 7740G, some Samsungs, etc - beyond the scope here to recommend specifics, but there are quite a few in that price range.

    There are two options for the note-taking tablet: a new, netbook based one, such as are made by Asus, or a used Toshiba or Fujitsu via eBay. There are no end of offerings on the latter for as little as $400. They are likely to afford you better inking and other tablet functions, but used is used and most of the good values are 3+ years old. Check out the threads for these two manufacturers and you will learn the better "classics" to go after. As for a new, netbook-based tablet, the only one I know of is the Asus, and previous versions have been trouble prone (see the Asus thread), however the newest is based on it's famed EEE series of netbooks, so if they got the pen interface right, you will be ok. Note that for optimal tablet performance, you really want to run Windows 7, which the Asus can though you have to purchase it separately (cheap, for a student).

    I know your idea of purchasing the best computer with discrete gpu your $7-$800 can buy + a second, lower priced unit solely for note-taking is a great one. (Having two computers is also a hedge against one breaking down and still being in business.) I wish I could better recommend specific brands, but for that I think you should fill out two "what shoudl I buy" templates: one for the notebook with discrete gpu at your price range, and one for a netbook based or inexpensive used tablet.

    Finally, if you can wait a bit for the tablet, there are a slew of them coming out, largely Android based, later in the Fall. They will generally cost $400-$700 and be light and offer lightening fast performance and crisp screens. They will probably sell best as second, special purpose "portable" computers for needs similar to yours.

    Good luck!
     
  3. bugmenot

    bugmenot Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for replying! I'm leaning towards a used full-featured tablet because I need the power for at least running One Note/Office and possibly doing 3D design. But do you really use a tablet for such applications? If someone with experience in autoCAD/photoshop or using a tablet for design projects could provide some insight that would be great. Is there really a need for the tablet to be coupled with a decent amount of horsepower?

    The poor screen on the tm2 is almost a bonus to me, because with a 24'' LCD 1080p display in my dorm, I will only use the screen when I am on the go and so screen quality is not my top priority. However, is it really that bad that you can't comfortably take notes on it?

    Another thing is: I really don't need a 335m GPU like in the Acer. Sure it would be nice to run some newer games, but with all my homework, I'm sure I can find enough older classics (that would run on the tm2's 5450) to fill what little spare time I will have. Does this mean I'd be better off with a general purpose machine like the tm2 if I don't necessarily need all the horsepower of the Acer?
     
  4. Synergi

    Synergi Scribbler - Standard Member

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    The TM2 is a well rounded machine. It has Wacom for your note taking and honestly, if it doesn't have wacom, its not worth getting IMO.

    The TM2 also has crap viewing angles, if it doesn't bother you then its probably a good choice. I'm thinking of moving up to the 2740p myself, the screen is just really bugging me now that I've had it a while.

    You might want to take a look at Motion Computing J3500 or the older J3400. Good screen, i7 options, long battery. Keyboard is a dock and you can carry it as a slate when you need it. Its a more pricey though.

    Motions older C2D LE1700 can be had on ebay for less. These all have wacom. There is even the LS800 8.9'' has wacom, is a slate with bluetooth and you can have it on ebay for 250 or less. I'd probably get a cheap slate for notes and just get a decent notebook for everything else.
     
  5. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    My work solution is exactly what you describe, only the tablet I need has not been made yet.:D I use a 13.3" Acer 3820TG for work (I5-450M/HD5650). It handles all of my tasks with ease and performs like a mini moblie work station. It is small enough to take on the road if I need to but most times it stays home and my 11.6" Acer 1410T is my traveling companion.

    I am waiting for the new HP W7 slate with Wacom penn. It will replace the 1410T, which acts primarily as a mobile document reader and editor (mostly PDF). This will be a nearly perfect business solution.

    My daughter is anxiously awaiting my 1410T's becomming her hand-me-down.:eek:

    Bronsky:cool:
     
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