Q: I read a recent article in BLACK ENTERPRISE on Tablet PCs and would like some more information about this new technology. What are they and are they ideal for traveling?
–D. Tisma, Guttenberg, N.J.
A: Tablet PCs function much the way laptops or portable computers do, with one exception: they also allow you to take notes for, say, meetings as you would on a writing tablet. So if you prefer to write rather than type, you can do so using the Tablet PC’s pen-based system and handwriting recognition feature (which is similar to that found in handheld PCs such as the Compaq iPaq, for example). You can import the information to Word documents and Outlook as well.
Tablet PCs also come ready for wireless computing, so you can take your tablet to your local Starbucks (or any designated hot spot) and connect to the Internet. I wouldn’t necessarily call Tablet PCs “super thin” or “super light” notebooks, because although they are light and thin, you do give up some of the features found in your portable PC. The Fujitsu Stylistic, for example, features a fast Pentium III-M (for mobile) processor and weighs a tad over 3 lbs. This makes it ideal for traveling. But you must forgo built-in drives (CD, DVD, floppy, etc.), which would, of course, add to the weight of the tablet. The Toshiba PortÃ©gÃ©, however, features a DVD-ROM and 24x/8x CD/DVD, which pushes its weight to just over 4 lbs. Overall, tablet PCs are good devices for traveling, provided you don’t need to access additional drives.