Monday, November 13, 2006

Review of Xview Tablet PC

My friends at Xview Technologies gave me a few days with their newest tablet PC offering. The unit is manufactured by Asus, but is souped up by Xview with options that aren't available from the source. They gave me the unit fresh from the box, which includes a very stylish bag and stylishly slim carrying slip. Very nice.

What I'm looking for

I'm looking for a high-performace notebook that supports pen input. The unit must support audio editing (for my podcasts), video editing, and web development projects. This unit supports 1G of RAM, and with Xview's upgrades goes to 2GHz+ Core Duo processor and 100G drive at 7200 RPM. Nice. It also sports slim a DVD unit with burner that is slot loading instead of tray loading. I loved this feature.

Perfect Feel

The unit sports a 13.3" screen that is clear, bright and supports a 1280x800 resolution. The weight and size are great, and I REALLY appreciate the easy flow of the pen. I've used a Wacom tablet attached to my PC and often there is a delay between when I stroke the tablet and when the stroke appears on the screen. Not so with these tablet PCs. They feel much like writing with a good gel pen. Taking notes in meetings was no problem. Carrying the thing with me around the office was like grabbing my record book. That's what I'm looking for. The unit is attractive with lovely blue LEDs and friendly buttons. Basically, this unit sold me on tablet PCs.

Rough around the edges

There are a few ergonomic issues that still need to be worked out. There are a series of buttons on the frame of the LCD that are available when you're working in tablet mode. One of these swaps between Portrait and Landscape mode. For some reason, this button didn't always work. Furthremore, if you are in Portrait mode and the unit goes to sleep, you'll find the screen in Landscape mode, but the pen will still believe it's in Portrait, so the cursor isn't aligned with the pen. Pressing the button works, but this is a problem if the unit sleeps between note taking tasks in a fast-moving meeting. The pen was a nice size and weight for writing, even offering an eraser with action that felt like you were using a pencil. On the downside, the pen got scratched up quite a bit from inserting it into it's slot on the system. This detracted from the newness that we try to preserve when we get a new toy.

Touchpad or Presspad?

The touchpad was also slow to respond for some reason. It's as if my finger had to be firmly pressed on the pad for a split second before it would be registered. This was VERY frustrating as many of my gestures had to be repeated.

Rough spots are a drag

The main thing that made me decide not to buy was some mysterious places on the screen that would cause the pen to drag when I was drawing. Holding the screen up to the light didn't show any roughness in the reflection, but there was a definite increase in friction in these areas, and it was consistent, so it wasn't a rough spot on the pen tip.

Needs more Software

The unit comes with minimal software. Most notably absent is Microsoft's One Note, which is available at an additional charge. The Journal software that is included is nice, but limited.


I would have been very happy with the Xview tablet, especially with the upgrades and service that Xview is know for. It is the perfect size and weight, and the screen is gorgeous. It had the specs I needed to do just about anything I wanted. There were some flaws in manufacture and some irritating behaviors that were either flaws in this particular system, or should be fixed in future revs. I welcome Xview's comments here.

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