Microsofts decision to incorporate Tablet PC features and functionality into the Windows Vista operating system is one that eWEEK Labs believes will help to convert Tablet PC skeptics.
We installed the operating system on two Tablet PCs—Lenovos ThinkPad X60 Tablet and Fujitsus LifeBook T4215—and found that Microsoft has delivered a much more practical and smoother tablet experience in Vista.
ThinkPad X60 Tablet
Weve always been fans of Lenovos ThinkPad notebooks, so it was no surprise that we were pleased by the Vista experience on the ThinkPad X60 Tablet.
Released in late 2006, the ThinkPad X60 Tablet is a convertible notebook with a starting weight of 3.8 pounds. With an eight-cell battery, the ThinkPad X60 Tablet can deliver more than 8 hours of battery life at a slightly increased weight of about 4.16 pounds.
In its basic configuration, the ThinkPad X60 Tablet comes with Intels 1.67GHz Core Duo L2400 LV processor, 1GB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive, Intels GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 945 and an integrated Intel Wi-Fi module capable of accessing 802.11 a, b and g networks. This configuration is priced at $1,823.
The ThinkPad X60 Tablet we tested had the same configuration except for a slightly larger (80GB) hard drive. Our $1,879 evaluation unit came with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 installed and had a 12.1-inch TFT XGA display.
Installing Vista on the ThinkPad X60 was almost problem-free. Before installation, we used Microsofts Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to determine what issues we might run into during the upgrade process. The Upgrade Advisor, which determined that the Windows Vista Business SKU was best for our hardware configuration, could not see the DVD drive in our docking station for some reason. Since we knew we had a DVD drive, we chose to go ahead with the installation.
The Vista installation took about an hour on the ThinkPad X60 Tablet and required that we uninstall Symantec Antivirus, which came installed directly from Lenovo.
Once Vista was installed, we found that we were missing only a few drivers. We had no problems using the ThinkPad TrackPoint or the digital stylus, which we used for taking notes with the Windows Journal app that comes with Vista.
We did, however, run into issues when it came to using Lenovos suite of ThinkVantage support tools. We had to download software from the Lenovo Web site and then install it before we could use any Lenovo tools. We also ran into a problem using the biometric fingerprint reader, but we found no Vista driver that could fix it. Lenovo officials said they are working on a fix.
When the ThinkPad X60 Tablet was first announced, we were concerned with Lenovos decision not to release it with a Core 2 Duo processor and instead go with the ultra low-voltage Core Duo processor. However, Vista ran fine on the unit. In fact, our evaluation system turned in a respectable 3 (out of 5) on the Windows Experience Index score.
The overall Windows Experience Index score is based on the lowest score in each of five categories: processor, memory, graphics, gaming graphics capability and hard drive. The ThinkPad X60 Tablets graphics adapter and memory came up short on the index, but business users should get more than enough performance when running Vista on the system.
Overall, we found the ThinkPad X60 Tablet to be a good Vista machine. The handwriting recognition is greatly improved, and pen flicks, which allow users to navigate the notebook using a flick of the pen, is an addition Tablet PC users are bound to use extensively.
IT managers considering the ThinkPad X60 Tablet for their user base should consider the multitouch/multiview display if they have outdoor users or those who might benefit from touch screen functionality. Vistas touch screen capabilities are what the ThinkPad X60 Tablets display is made for. We do, however, recommend the eight-cell battery (an additional $50) for all users.