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Okay, if you were ordering 10 tablet pcs for HS science teachers and students to use, would you go with Lenovo X200s or Dell XT2s?


Tags: dell, lenovo, tablets

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Hey Jim,
We've had the first generation XT model and they've performed well, although a bit on the slow side to boot up, and when antivirus is scanning. Imaging them is also a bit slower but I guess that's due to the 5400 rpm drives we chose to get. Actually our biggest headache with them has been the n-trig drivers and the pseudo-dock media bay. The machines seem to have less issues without the dock. The n-trig issue is some kind of conflict with our software build. Perhaps a conflict with iTunes. I use one every day, and don't have any problems, but there are some users who seem to get pretty frustrated. I think we have the 6 cell primary battery and I have not been impressed with it's longevity. Nor have I been impressed with the "Multi-touch" capability... it's nowhere near as usable as multi-touch on an iPhone. The single touch works fine, and is accurate, but honestly I see little application for it. I'm not sure how much different the XT2 is than the XT.

On the lenovo side we just decided to try out the x200 for 09-10. We're getting them with 4 gigs of RAM and 7200 rpm hard drives so I'm looking forward to a faster performing machine. We're also getting them with the 8 cell primary battery (adds an extra inch along the back), but again, I'm looking forward to more battery life.

By the way, on both machines, there seems to be an issue with PowerPoint inking -- if you're in presentation mode of powerpoint and ink on a slide you get random horizontal lines when dotting your i's and crossing your t's. It reneders the inking function unusable on the XT2. On the Lenovo the issue is also present but not to nearly the same degree. Dell says Microsoft Office engineers are working on the issue.

On the positive side for Dell the next day on site service has been excellent. A huge change for the better from shipping machines for depot service.

dm me if u want more details

Demetri, thanks for the super-detailed reply.

I've had a set of the top end Toshiba tablets a few years ago (M200s?), and they really didn't hold up well (despite being pretty expensive). At that time, we bought one of the smaller/lighter Thinkpads models with the 12 inch screen, and it was really liked. It was surprisingly slow, but the form factor was so much more solid than the Toshiba that it felt like a machine that could last for 3-4 years of real use.

Typically, I only buy Dell Latitudes, but the XT2s are quite expensive and I'm never seen one. I like their service, but...

The X200T Lenovo seems to share a lot of strengths with the earlier one I bought, but it doesn't have a trackpad and that might send some of my users over the edge. However, when I was specing a possible one last night (definitely with 7200 rpm drives, three gigs, etc.) I noticed that they had a multi-touch screen option as well for something like 130 more. Did you consider or test it? They also had next-day, on-site warranty for three years, like Dell.

I do think the XT has the best form factor of any tablet I've seen. It's nice and thin, built solidly, latchless, and has a solid feeling as you swivel and go down into tablet mode. We have an XT2 eval unit at the moment, and it is the same size and shape. I think the upgrades are all on the inside.

Regarding the multi-touch, I just don't see any applications on Windows to take advantage of it, and the built-in utility (I think it's part of the n-trig control panel) is laughable when compared to using multi-touch on an iPhone, which works well and is very useful for stretching & shrinking webpages or photos on that small screen. [On my tablet, the multi-touch was laggy, jerky, jumpy, and finnicky.]

Regarding the lack of trackpad on the X200T, I'm sure I'll hear about it, but on the other hand I also hear from users who want to know how to turn off their trackpad b/c they don't like how their palm makes the cursor jump around when typing in Word. I think my response is going to be "use the stylus." We are doing the next-day on-site service from Lenovo, upgraded to a four year warranty with accidental damage protection, and will pursue self-maintainer status.

The stylus on the XT does not have an eraser on the top (it is a side button instead) and a bit less easy to use in my opinion. Also, the stylus has internal electronics and does not take well to being dropped or chewed on. Our toshiba styluses will take a lot more abuse and keep on working.

For carrying cases, we are again going with the InfoCase Classmate TL-12.

Sounded like you had a nice week of sailing over the break!
We did have a great week of sailing. We have another week scheduled for the end of June, and I'm really looking forward to it. I participated in a day-long meeting yesterday, and used an image from the trip on the 5 LCD screens of the conference room we used. It was fun.

One of us should start a thread about using 46-50 inch LCD screens in conference or classrooms instead of projectors...

So, at this point, do you have a favorite between the XT2 and the X200 T, or are you waiting to see how the Lenovos fare? (Also, how many X200 Ts are you rolling out?)

We'll be rolling out about 100 of the X200Ts. We got better pricing on it than the XT2s with the specs we wanted to make it faster and longer battery life. Oh, and I opted to include an inexpensive 3rd party external USB optical drive instead of the Lenovo docking optical drive (saving a bit more $).

I like big projection screens and wonder if a 50inch LCD would be big enough in a classroom, and whether it would be more cost effective.
I was at a day long presentation in a large room on Saturday. They had four large LCDs on three of the walls, casting the same image. It was intersting that we could be around tables but still able to see and read slides. They were bright and sharp, without having to try and darken the room. Interesting.

Thanks for all the info about Lenovo and Dell tablets.

Thanks to the power of the internet, a colleague from Cal Poly State just informed me of the solution for this issue of random horizontal lines when inking on PowerPoint slides in presentation mode...

if you set the resolution of your PowerPoint to 1024x768 (under the Slide Show tab on the PowerPoint ribbon), the issue is fixed.



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