Notes can be written right on monitor
Laptops, more commonly called notebook PCs these days, are well known for their portable, light weight computing power. Tablet PCs, while not as well known, are beginning to make their mark.
There are essentially two types of tablet PCs on the market today. The most common version, sometimes referred to as a convertible tablet, looks very much like a standard notebook, but with a screen that swivels and collapses to form a flat surface. Other tablets are exactly that, a tablet where one side is the screen and one side is the bottom of the unit, just like on a standard notebook.
The key to what makes a tablet is the fact that the screen is touch sensitive, the fact that it accepts input via a special pen called a stylus and also that the screen automatically adjusts to the way you hold the unit — vertically or horizontally. A tablet is essentially the same as a notebook, except that you may also use it just like a pad of paper, writing onto the screen as one of the methods of input.
Tablets are beginning to show up in all kinds of applications. Insurance adjusters, health care providers, lawyers, anyone who has a need to work efficiently in a very portable manner, may benefit from a laptop.
Through the handwriting recognition software that is standard with a tablet, a user may take notes right on their computer screen in nearly the same way they would on a traditional paper notepad. The difference is that the input is saved right into the software you are using, saving you the step of transcribing your notes into your PC after the fact.
This operates the same regardless of which type of tablet you may be using. Most users seem to prefer the convertible tablet that can operate as a notebook. With a swivel of the screen and a fold back down on top of the keyboard, it will look and act more like a standard tablet or paper notepad.
Another intriguing feature of tablets is how they respond to the way they are held. When you hold a tablet, you have a choice to hold it in a vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape) position. A sensor built into the tablet will sense the orientation of unit and adjust the screen accordingly.
When using a tablet for Internet browsing or presentations, this is a very handy feature. It allows you to dynamically rotate the unit to maintain the most optimal screen viewing based on what you are doing at that moment.
Another feature common among tablets are their smaller size and lighter weight. In part to encourage the use of this technology, manufacturers had to make tablets smaller and lighter than their notebook cousins, or there would be little incentive to move in this direction.
No one wants to carry around a bulky, heavy computer. Because of this, tablets typically have 12-inch LCD screens, rather than the larger 14- to 15-inch screens typically found on mainstream notebooks.
This helps keep the weight down, but more importantly, helps extend battery life, which is critical for a truly portable application of this technology. Depending on the manufacturer, you may also have an internal CD/DVD drive, or have to use an external drive or something called a media base.
A media base is essentially a unit that snaps on to the bottom of the tablet, to provide for the CD/DVD drive, as well as additional connectors that you may want to have for connecting an external monitor, keyboard or mouse, among other things. Those of you who have used very small, lightweight notebooks may be familiar with this type of device, as they have been used to help slim down size and weight for these PCs as well.
If you're considering a new portable computer over the next year, consider looking into a tablet PC. Depending on how you intend to use your computer, it may be a good choice to consider.