Acer or iPuke – Tablets Are Toys

iPhone, iPad, tablet, tablet tablet. I’m worn out listening to how wonderful the almighty “i”… is. I’ve had an iPhone, it wouldn’t place or receive calls reliably. I returned it.

I also have an iPad. It is slow and I can’t use it for my work applications so unless I just want to sit and slowly surf or listen to iMusic, it’s worthless. I know all about the hype that says “it’s so easy”, it just works, it does what “most” people want to do, blah, blah, blah. Yes, it’s absolutely wonderful if I want to make a complete lifestyle change and sit chortling with my pals at the club. For a handy to carry “computer” that allows me to do light work in airports or on the go, it’s an absolute bust. I understand it’s not designed to replace laptops but geesh, stop with the iCoolAde, it’s a toy.

Whew, I feel better now, but not completely redeemed. Why? Because I still think there should be a piece of kit that is as portable as an iPad but able to do real work. I need something that is better suited for mobile connectivity than my 10 pound, 17″ Gateway Laptop.

After a solid year of looking I have ordered what I hope is a great tablet. It’s an Acer W500 tablet. With any luck it will arrive here in two days. It comes with a docking station that serves as a keyboard. It has a couple of usb ports and even a card reader on the keyboard. It uses Windows7 so I’ll be able to enjoy flash, java, and all the regular programs that I need for work. I will be able to use Microsoft Word and Excel just like my desktop.

I’m hoping for the best. I’ve been looking for tweaks that I can apply to it. The only information I’ve seen so far advises me to remove all of the Acer supplied touch applications. We’ll find out what that’s all about. Now, WHERE’S THAT UPS TRUCK

Just like magic, the door bell rings, the dogs are barking and there it is.

Specifications

Acer Iconia Tablet W500-BZ467

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

AMD 1 Gig Dual-Core Processor A50M/L2 Cache 1MB * Display 10.1″/Multi-touch screen, supporting finger touch and image auto rotation*Wide viewing angle, supporting up to 80/80/80/80 degrees (up/down/left/right)*Display Type Wide XGA 1280 x 800*Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6250*HDD 32GB SSD**Memory 2GB DDR3*LAN 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet*802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN*Bluetooth 3.0+HS*Ports 2 x USB 2.0*1 x HDMI

Keyboard Full-Size Acer FineTip Keyboard

Acer FineTrack with two FineTrack buttons

2-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader for Secure Digital (SD) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC)

Dual 1.3MP Acer Crystal Eye Webcams (1280 x 1024)

Audio Ports

1 x Microphone jack; 1 x Headphone jack

Two Built-in Stereo Speakers

Battery

3-Cell Li-Polymer (3260 mAh)

Battery Life

Up to 6-hours for Internet Browsing

Up to 4-hours for HD Video Playback

Dimensions

Tablet: 10.83″ x 7.48″ x 0.63″

Dock: 10.83″ x 7.48″ x 0.43″ – 0.77″

Weight

Tablet Only: 2.14 lbs

Dock Only: 1.34 lbs

Unboxing is simple and something I can actually handle without much trouble. The tablet itself actually fits on the dock/keyboard rather intuitively. I had read earlier that it was extremely top heavy while in the dock and that information was correct. The problem this creates will become more obvious to me later. The power plug on the other hand is just goofey enough that I do it twice. I actually have to look at the instructions to find the power button.

It boots and I’m removing worthless bloat as fast as I can. BHAM!! McAfee is gone. I’m searching and finding the next victim. I’ve got the tablet in the dock/keyboard, sitting on an end table by the couch and I’m typing without too much trouble. The keyboard although smaller than my 17″ Gateway desktop replacement is rather nice to use but something is happening. I’m starting to use the touch screen. It doesn’t take too long before I’m using the touch screen and acessing the touch keyboard until, YIKES, the whole darn thing falls over backwards onto the floor. It’s now in two pieces. I pick it up, check it, and there doesn’t seem to be any damage. I put it back on the dock/keyboard and take note of just how top heavy and awkward the design really is.

After a couple of days I’m relatively comfortable using the touch screen. What I’ve discovered is that while the touch screen and tablet capabilities are great, the touch keyboard is a different bird entirely. It’s easily accessable and it’s OK for a one word response but too small and confining to write emails, or any response longer than about 1 or 2 words. It’s not that it can’t be done it’s just not pleasant. And here is where the problem with the docking station and hardware keyboard comes into play. When I purchased this unit I was looking for something that would fill in for a laptop during quick mobile situations. I thought the optional keyboard and docking station would be ideal, and it would have been if they had spent some time on the design.

Connecting the tablet to the keyboard doesn’t lock it in. It can separate at the drop of a hat. It is too tippy and fragile to use on your lap or any uneven or flexible surface. This is a real problem because your natural inclination to use the touch screen knocks the tablet over backwards and seperates the tablet from the dock.

The second big design error is that it doesn’t close. You can’t fold the screen onto the keyboard and carry it. This causes the setup to be very hard to carry because it must be in an open configuration. I can remove the tablet from the dock but then I’m left carrying two appliances and mobility has come to a screeching halt.

This is really bad news. The size of the tablet is great. The screen resolution and quality are excellent. Windows7 and the touch interface are actually very nice. Even the sound quality coming from the dual speakers is impressive. The one feature that would have set the W500 into a class by itself fails to pass the test. The keyboard was the one thing that drew me to it and this is the one thing works like it was designed by monkeys. The item is a failure. It’s nothing more than a tablet

I think this has finally convinced me that there is never going to be a single appliance that is a one size fits all for communication. Hardware is diverse for a reason. Want to read books and email, get a tablet. Want to place phone calls, get a phone? Want to work with Word, Excel or other office apps, get a decent laptop? Want to sit and open dozens of windows and multitask at the speed of light, get a powerful desktop with dual 24″ monitors.

I’m not sure why man has always wanted to invent the perfect multi-function tool, it must be something in our genes. The Swiss Army Knife is a great tool for emergencies but I wouldn’t want t skin a buffalo with it.

___________________________________________________

TheInquirer

TechRadar

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85 thoughts on “Acer or iPuke – Tablets Are Toys

  1. When I was doing a trade show in Las Vegas I had to transfer a file from my laptop to my friends I pad 2. There is only 1 way to do this. He had to take a photo of the screen with his i pad camera. This must be some kind of joke because in their quest to maintain absolute proprietary function they moved their product from a tool to a toy. This product is more of a gimmick than a working tool. Information accessabilty is what we should be concerned with……

    • @mike: Did you try Dropbox? That’s one of the easiest ways to transfer any file from a Windows/Linux/Mac computer to an iPad. I trnasfer Windows files all the time using Dropbox. You get a free account up to 5GB’s. There are a dozen other ways to accomplish it but that is the easiest. If it’s a proprietary Windows file then it doesn’t really make a difference and not an iPad issue but if it’s any kind of readable file like PDF, Word, Text etc, the iPad can read those files, of course dependent on the apps installed.

      • Several people have also told me about the dropbox which I have by the way. The only problem is the other person would have to have it. Then we would have to have an active internet connection which is not always available. When you are rushing around and trying to maintain a deadline the less things to get in the way of information transfer the better. We have all these expensive tools to make our lives easier and do our jobs faster. Do you see anything in this setup that apple has that does this? My wife has one that her company supplied to her for presentations but how can you do this effectively if there is no external moniter hook up. There seems to be a give and take with all the different units available. How to choose the right one.

        Mike

  2. Hi,

    Why don’t you try Asus Eee Slate EP121? Many reviewers were impressed by it and they say it is the best available Windows Tablet in 2011. It also has a variable pressure Digital Pen input.

  3. Recently my roommate, who has never owned a computer in his life, went out in search of the perfect “little computer” after using my Asus eee-pc 701 to transfer music on to his phone.

    My roommate is very smart but knows nothing about computers, however picks up on things quickly. It took him only 3 months of owning his HTC HD2 (his first smart phone) to figure out dual booting and installed android on his SD card.

    After using my little eee-pc for a few hours he started asking me questions about netbooks and they’re costs and so on and admitted that the reason he never bought a laptop is because he found them to be too big and bulky but loved the size of my little eee-pc. So we set out on a journey to find him the perfect “little computer”.

    We looked at several of the new Asus eee-pc’s, which he seemed to like, he even bought one from best buy, but just wasn’t quite happy with it. He had expressed interest several time in having a touch screen, but also wanted a keyboard. we continued to look around at the many different possibilities, and after a few days we found what could be the perfect “little computer”, the Dell Inspiron Duo.

    Now make no mistake, i am no fan of Dell, nor do i advocate buying Intel products! But Dell really did a good job on this one. Its a 10.1″ convertible touch screen netbook / tablet. It came with 2gb of DDR3, 320GB 7200RPM hard drive, a dual core 1.5ghz intel atom with hyperthread, and a 1366×768 display.

    On first use i wasn’t impressed with it, at all, seemed kind of slow and clunky, but after making the recovery discs, i formatted it and did a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate and drivers. It was only then that we really got a chance to see what this little gem was capable of. I was really impressed, the 7200RPM hard drive and 1366×768 screen was just what the doctor ordered. The screen flips instead of rotates when using it as a tablet which is a nice touch, it makes for stronger hinges, instead of one hinge in the center it has normal hinges like any laptop and it means whether in tablet or pc mode the lid opens and closes the same and looks the same.

    We had no problems streaming movies from any source, netflix, hulu, or from the file server we have set up locally, we also streamed movies stored on our local file server to it over the internet thanks to our 20mbps up 40mbps down DSL connection with no problem.

    The only drawbacks we found were the lack of ports, and its weight, its a little heavy and it has only 2 USB 2.0 ports, A VGA port and audio / microphone ports. If you want ethernet / card reader and more USB ports, you have to use a docking station. Otherwise this little netbook / tablet might possibly be the perfect little computer.

  4. Well I’m glad you tried it. I haven’t given up yet – still hoping that someone will come up with the almost ideal device. I loved my convertable Lenovo tablet – very light – very functional and the twist around from laptop to tablet pad was strong and easy to use. Only problem (other than short battery life) was you had to use the pen and the blasted things kept popping out of their slots and getting lost (expensive at $45 per pen). So why not a new one with a touch screen instead. Best of all worlds.

  5. Incredible how rude and nasty people can get with those that disagree with them. I may not agree with a lot of what some people have said but I certainly wouldn’t call them names or try to prove how wrong or “stupid” they are. Really sad.

  6. If I could put together a tablet with the parts I choose for my needs, then maybe I’ll consider it. Til then, my inner blingmaster says get an iPad. It fell for all the cool advertising but luckiy my wallet is too empty and my drawers and shelves still full of unused hardware and software.

    By the way, the fold up keyboard for the PalmPilot works really well with the 2nd gen Pilot and takes good notes. Hard to find a com port these days to tatch it up to my new, self-built “monster”. I’m not a techie but my monster works for me despite some occasional Win7 glitches.

    Funny how so many people are now buying Macs to run Windows on. Must say something when they’re willing to spend more than they need on Apple hardware but running MS apps.

    You’ll never be happy with Apple stuff ’cause they’ll bring out a new color or shape every 6 months. And you’ll still have to download those “security” updates for the malware which doesn’t affect Macs. Just shows how bling sells.

    Anyway, I’ll shut up now ’cause I got to look at the new Apple ads and replace my drool bib.

    • I used to think Apple was “bling” too. I also thought it was overpriced…Until I bought my first Mac last year. My Macbook Pro didn’t come with awe inspiring hardware. Keep in mind, I have been building my own Windows computers for the better part of 10 years. I always use the best available peripherals, motherboards, memory, hard drives, video cards etc. I’m also anal about maintenance and speed.

      Long story short, my Macbook pro performs as well as my desktop. I was actually very surprised by that. The only time I saw some difference was when rendering large image files in Photoshop or Illustrator. But once I upgraded my memory the performance equalized. WHen I installed an SSD drive it blew my desktop away. I would have NEVER thought this to be possible given the specs of the Macbook. It goes to show that there’s a lot more to the hardware than a pretty cover.

      I installed Windows using Paralleles because I didn’t want to reboot for those times that I need Windows. I can have both running at the same time, cut/copy and paste between Windows apps and Mac apps and go back and forth seamlessly. I honestly didn’t expect to like it as muchas I do. I now can’t imagine going back to using Windows for work.

  7. Pure link bait. I bet you would like to sell 25 million “toys” or even have 1/100th of that # read your jibber jabber. u r a n00b

  8. I’m working as a software programmer since 1990. I’ve owned and programmed on many hard and soft ware. At home i have 4 windows computers, two ipads, 2 iphones, three ipod touch, a macbook air, an acer netbook

    The best ROI are in order: the macbook air (especially to run windows with vmware fusion), the iphones, the ipod, the acer, the pc’s,..and finally the ipads.

    I must metion that i’ve bought “pages” for the ipad: this is a word processor, what a piece of sh******t.

    Apple is snobbing “must have” applications like tiny_mce (you know that web/html/ajax editor, that fits in the standard safari edition, flash player from adobe…..and alot of other that i miss.

    No one can seriously claim that you can do serious professionnal job on a pad even that michael jackson that does it in the cloud.

    The good new is: ios5 that should be released in september will probably sort out some of these annoyances.

    …….the best will always be that competent, competing laptop called the macbook air first generation, the second generation has lost its backlit keyboard that is a must when you get older, day and night: they want professional to move from the mackbook air to the bulky macbook pro….

    Actually the true problem is : no device does everything, and no device will ever make it……., imagine creating a real professional song on an ipad: where’s the microphone inputs ? COMMON MICHAEL.

  9. There is plenty that i hate about the iPad, don’t get me started. but to write it off as a toy is beyond goofy. It browses the internet, which means dude, if you have a job that allows you to use web applications to do your WORK that it is a POWERFUL TOOL, SHeesh. And if you have not used the mapping on an iPad you have really missed out. It is awesome. Totally amazing. Is it worth the money. It has almost paid for itself for me in 6 months.

    If it had Flash and a freaking USB slot, THEN i could almost see nothing wrong with it.

  10. While I appreciate that tablets are not the end all be all of computing I have to agree with others in that they are not toys. My boyfriend’s mother has a desktop and wanted to buy something to go to Australia with, she does email, facebook and surfs the web. I told her instead of buying a laptop she’s never going to use again to buy an iPad or other tablet. She loves it. It does just what she needs it to do. You make mention of swiss army knives and buffalo but what if I want to slice sushi? I don’t go buy a machete … there are tools for every job.

  11. I see what you mean Steve. I did kind of blow off the importance of email to work.

    “You actually contradict your argument, the one about toys. The title of the article is tablets are toys. Your penultimate paragraph suggests that they are not. When you utilize a tablet for email, reading or niche applications found in many verticals it is not a toy any longer it’s a tool. There is a tool for every job as you end up noting. I am with you though, I still dream/search/desire that one device that is the end game in computing.”

  12. Your article is generalizing at best and seems to tell me you dislike any apply product. What you fail to realize is that there are ways to utilize the Ipad in ways that is not apparent to normal everyday folk who have no need of the techie side of such gadgets. I am visually impaired and am able to hold a tablet in my hand surf the net and zoom in to read information not only on the web but iBooks too. So the Ipad is a wonderful Visual Aid tool. Secondly as a computer technicial I use the Ipad as a remote assistance tool to help people with their computers either when I’m on their business premises or in another city, I can help a client remotely wherever I am without having to pull out a laptop. The Ipad may seem like a toy to some, but I’m some of us have found great uses for it and it has become invaluable as a tool in our trade or profession.

  13. Wow, serious Apple bashing going on in here. Well people, Apple has sold 25 million IPads to date and they’re laughing all the way to the bank.
    I’m writing this on my 1st generation IPad, as my desktop AND laptop sit idly wondering why I don’t use them nearly as much as I used to.
    Most of you folks claiming that this one authors ridiculous article has convinced you that “you’d never get a tablet” are kidding your selves. You are probably not POWER users, and would be amazed at how easily a good tablet would quickly replace your desktop and laptops for web surfing, emailing, etc.
    And as a bonus, I can probably power my iPad up, surf to this article, read it, reply to it and be done before most of you can even get your computers booted up to the welcome screen.
    So I will keep my “toy” and all the Apple bashers in the world won’t change my opinion on that!

    • I hate to be the barer of bad news, but your desktop and laptop are both machines, they dont wonder anything as they have no feelings…

  14. Let me start by saying that I’m not an Apple fan. I own a Sony Walkman MP3 instead of an iPod and until my husband needed a smart phone for school, had never considered purchasing an Apple anything. We picked the iPhone over the Blackberry when those were the only choices. I ended up with an iPad because I wanted to use the iPhone apps I already purchased.

    The lack of flash does bother me from time to time and the tablet clearly is a toy…. But I do not find it to be slow at all. I read magazines on it and illustrated manuals or books, but I prefer to do heavy reading on my Sony Reader which is easier on my eyes. I do a lot of online shopping on it, check emails, watch Netflix when away from my TV, check in on Facebook, etc.

    I also use recipe apps for cooking, access my Google spreadsheets and plan and follow my daily workouts with various fitness apps.

    While the tablets do have their limitations, I would never call mine slow or say it’s limited to emails and music.

  15. Everyone I see who uses a tablet is either listening to music, surfing the web or checking out pictures. It’s fine if one needs an expensive toy to do that, but I can’t understand why people spend that kind of money to do these activities when every other pre-existing machine does that too, and quite easily. I never got what the fuss was about and I am admittedly a tech freak. An iPhone can do all that, but so can a cheaper BB Pearl or a standard Samsung phone. I gathered people want to be seen with the latest and coolest gadgets, but not everything that comes out is all that handy – or worth it for that matter.

  16. Couldn’t agree more.

    I bought an Asus EEE with a separate keyboard / docking station as the spec read well.

    The two parts lock together easily and close properly, there’s good battery life, a good sensitive touch screen, fast response.

    Just one problem – it runs Android, and is not a computer- it’s not even a phone – it’s just a toy, the keyboard doesn’t even have a Del key.

    I bought the Office style pack (Word Processor, spreadsheet etc), and the printershare app. all useless – and they try to push you into cloud world.

    I sent it back to Amazon for a full refund

    If Asus reconfigure it with Win 7, I’d rush to buy it, but not till then.

  17. Great series of replies, kept me occupied for ages. Some sensible replies, some non-sensical replies, but on the whole an entertaining read. Personally I don’t have an i product, I’m happy with my 2 ton lappie and bog-standard 5 year old phone. Yes, it’s even got a camera !!! If you have more money than sense, then go ahead and throw money at Apple,show your friends how hip you are.

  18. Read the article — kudos! Read all the comments that appeared — just goes to reaffirm that individuality is alive and well. Only truly learned that there are as many ‘opinions’ as there are variations of equipment and that was the point of the article, was it not?

  19. I bought my first iPad about a year ago. My wife who is the furthest thing from a techie said “I WANT ONE” after playing around with it for just a few minutes. She has almost completely stopped using her laptop. Anything that she could accomplish on a laptop she’s managed to do on her iPad with almost no help from me. That in itself is amazing.

    I’m a web developer and use my iPad to write or edit code and upload to the server, I use iWork suite to create all sorts of document including presentations, I use 2 different apps for publishing blog posts, I use one of my iPads as the mouse and keyboard for my Windows desktop (Which has become our media PC since I migrated to Mac end of last year), I read all of my news, magazines and RSS feeds on my iPad, email is a breeze with multiple accounts, I listen to XM-Sirius or iPod app music while doing all these other things, I play FPS games like Brothers in Arms and Dead Space, race with Real Racing 2HD, play Tetris and NBA Jam and a few others. I follow and watch live baseball games with At Bat 2010/11, I can send video emails, free text messages, chat with Facebook/AIM/Google Talk/Skype contacts and I still do more. What more can I possibly ask for? I don’t miss flash whatsoever as I watch Netflix movies, ABC TV, Hulu, Crackle videos.

    Mostly I use the virtual keyboard but when I’m coding I use the Apple bluetooth wireless keyboard and I applied an anti glare/anti fingerprint screen protector. The iPad has had a huge impact on my and my wife’s live’s. I can only assume that those that knock it either never actually tried it or didn’t give it enough time and didn’t take the time to find the right apps to accomplish what they wanted to. I’m waiting for another iPad 2 which should arrive this week at which point I’m going to mount one of my others to the fridge for when my wife is baking or cooking.

    Silly haters 😛

    • I’m sure the iPad is suitable for some people but for me as a touch typist I detest touchscreen keyboards, it slows me down to two finger speed and to add a keyboard to the device would kind of defeat the portability objectives. Don’t assume just because you think its wonderful that everyone else is either talking crap or haven’t put enough effort into using the device properly – I put effort into using my desktop in the best way possible but smartphones and tablets are supposed to be easier and more intuitive to use, the only thing I can see them as good for is for those who aren’t comfortable with a desktop or laptop computer and want something (supposedly) simpler to use with added portability, although for me as a tablet hardly fits in a pocket then if I had to carry around something larger than a smartphone it would be a laptop (netbooks aren’t much better than tablets).

  20. I agree that tablets are basically a toy. Suggest you go out and buy an HP DM1. Lots of power with the dual core APU, a bit larger screen and a keyboard one can actually use.

  21. From reading the article and all the comments, I can see that my initial opinions about tablets were correct. In terms of actual work of any kind, tablets are very much a niche device. They are simply too limiting for general use as a replacement for a notebook or a desktop, and they always will be.

    They are an interesting toy, and if you have the money to spend for one of these toys, you’ll probably have a lot of fun with it. Also, like the musician who commented and others whose applications are actually well-served by the low power and limited capabilities of a tablet, they can be useful tools but in only a limited number of fields.

    As a general-purpose computing tool, they are worthless.

  22. Tablets have their niche. I use a viewsonic g-tablet which is far from ideal. Hardware is great (tegra 2 dual core processor). I am mostly limited by the speed of the wifi. Software is somewhat diy (www.xda-developers.com has done a much better job than the oem at writing an OS).
    I carry the tablet rather than the macbook pro to school every day. I can read all my textbooks on the tablet (saves lugging 50-60 pounds worth of books). Unless i am doing programming or writing a paper, the tablet is just right.

  23. Great review, to me an iPad is an overlarge smartphone – that doesn’t make phone calls! I have a desktop that is less than a year old with a widescreen monitor and a Nokia smartphone, I see no need for a device that does neither well, I agree, its a toy for those with more money than sense. All Apple products are overpriced and there are always better (and cheaper) alternatives to be had. I don’t like fingermarks on my touchscreen smartphone, the idea of a larger screen covered with them sucks to be honest and an ebook reader is far more suitable for those who like to read, glossy screens are more conducive to headaches than comfortable reading ;o)

  24. Never owned an Apple product before but I bought an Apple iPad and got rid of it a month later. Tried a couple of different other tablets and ended up ditching both in favour of going back to an iPad which I still own a year down the track. While I don’t own any other Apple products I’m amazed at the writers I HATE APPLE stance because that’s all it is. My other computers are a Toshiba laptop and custom made PC.

  25. Saying that there’ll never be something to replace the laptop is exactly how people felt when they wanted a reliable alternative to their desktop, we all know how that went right?

    • Well, Aniruddh, I guess we all do know how that went, but I think we have varying opinions and conclusions from the outcome. For the work I used to do (I’m retired), I needed as much computing power, memory, speed, and screen real-estate as possible. A laptop/notebook was never made that could adequately come close to replacing a good desktop expanded to it’s limits with at least two large-screen monitors. I did own a notebook that I used primarily for notetaking in meetings and to carry files with me when I needed to show my work progress in meetings.

      So, for my work, a notebook was a useful tool but not a desktop replacement. A tablet without a real keyboard wouldn’t even be a good substitute for a notebook.

  26. Perhaps I shouldn’t be commenting, since I’m long out of the “work world.” But I do use my computer(s) a LOT. I have a desktop and a 6-year-old laptop, and need something smaller and lighter for travel. I want to be able to use the internet, including e-mail, and do some light word processing. I am mostly interested in something quite useable and quite easy to carry. I recently bought a Toshiba netbook (they call it a mini-notebook) and so far I’m delighted. I did buy a soft case for it, which also delights me. We have a large family, and travel quite often. Heaven forbid that I should be “unconnected” for very long. The case holds my netbook and AC adapter & cord. Much better than my 2-ton laptop I’ve been lugging for six years. I guess it just depends on what you want of your “tool.” Obviously, my needs are much simpler than the work world. And by the way — I’m really tired of all the Apple stuff, too.

    • I so agree with Priscilla. A desktop (my 6 year old XP machine still fine for most of my needs) and a netbook is the way to go. My Toshiba NB300 netbook is lighter (and was way cheaper)than a MacBook Air and has a very usable keyboard, though it took me a little while to get used to the right hand shift-key which is a tad small. I upgraded the operating system to Win7 Home Premium as a bit of self-indulgence and have no problems. It works great with my home wireless network and at hotspots when I’m on the move. The iPad is fashion item not a computer.

  27. I understand Sho’s take on the whole i-whatever thing. Quite frankly, the tablet and iPhone were not designed with his needs in mind. I know many people that will not own tablets and they are also dissatisfied with “Smart Phones”.

    However, I can give a different insight on what I use my devices for and give a different opinion on tablet and “Smart Phone” usage. I started with a blackberry, being mobile from office to office as an IT Manager. Email was my main communication from clients. This still remains the case. What has changed is the need to carry and print documents such as estimates, invoices and quotes.

    The hardware I carry with me is my iPhone 4 32GB and my Archos 7o Internet Tablet 7” Android OS. With these with me at all times, I can answer email, check software updates, print invoices, estimates ect. All on my clients network and printers.

    This has proven invaluable to me and a great cost cutter for my business. My clients like instant billing eliminating any surprises at month end.

    Don

  28. Don Morgan
    Thank god someone has finally had the guts – and common sense – to say this! I don’t own a tablet and doubt I ever will. I’m a bad enough typist that the very thought of typing on a glass screen gives me chills. I need real keys to touch that will keep my fingers in the right places.
    I DO own an ASUS 1201 12.1 inch net book. I already know I like it 10 times as well as I would a tablet. For one thing it has a 250 GB hard drive, not 32 GB. I can actually use it as a computer on trips and download stuff I’ve put on it when I get home.
    But like everything else, it seems. it has one big achilles heel. it’s slow! I thought 1.6 Ghz sounded reasonably fast, but my 2.6 desktop must be 5 times as fast! If someone comes out with a 3 pound netbook with at least a 12 inch screen AND a real processor I’m in. Till then I’ll make do with this thing but I’m not happy about it. But It HAS to be better than any tablet!

  29. How nice to read a tech report telling us we have different hardware for different jobs for a reason, instead of the usual ‘you’ll soon be doing all your work, calls, shopping and having sex through your wristwatch’ crap.

    At some distant future date I suppose it will be possible to have a virtual screen, keyboard etc. and components small enough to fit in a wristwatch comparable in power to todays desktops. And ipads etc are an evelutionary step in that direction. But please, it isn’t here yet- and won’t be for a while. who would buy a laptop if a ‘pad’ of some description could do it all?

  30. I bought one (iPad) as well with a 14 day return period. I returned it within a week. It was a seriously expensive Kindle, a pain to use for email replies, the screen was a mess because of the finger marks etc etc. When I returned it to Best Buy I noticed a refurb DM3 HP at a price point I could not resist. I have been buying computers since the mid 80’s and this is the absolute best value I have ever had. It is as close to the swiss army knife as I need to get. I can plug it into a large screen if I need to, I can log into my home system from anywhere and everything just works in a normal fashion.
    I have to agree the iPad is a neat gadget but not pratical for any real work.

  31. I bought a Dell Inspiron Duo, which I thought would be the solution to this very problem. The screen rotates vertically and flips over so you can close the top over the keyboard and voila, it’s a touch screen tablet. However, the touch screen is impossible with Windows programs as the space you need to touch is about 1/10th the size of my finger. Second, the “stretch” function to zoom the screen doesn’t work very well at all. These problems may resolve themselves when Windows 8, a touch-screen optimized app, is released.

    As a computer it’s also pretty worthless. The screen is so tiny, about eight inches, that I need a magnifying glass to read anything.

    I used it for about 3 hours and that was enough. I returned it. Of course, first I had to go through Dell’s notoriously antagonistic phone menu and tech personnel. Bad deal all around.

  32. Android tablet support Flash, Jave. They have office applications. You can remote into your pc via Team Viewer for free. You can even use a bluetooth keyboard w/ them

    Hands down, Android is where it’s at. Anything iPhail is a bust.

  33. I certainly wish I somehow wound up on the design team for some of this new crap. While some designs are quite crafty, they always seem to severely neglect at least one aspect in each design. Throwing extra emphasis on one portion of a design doesn’t justify the lack of attention to another.

    • @Sean Reeves: We can just leave the last word off the second sentence, right guys?

      I fell victim to the same fallacy as Ron. Shame on me for not proofreading my comment.

  34. Good article. Received an ipad for father’s day. Few interesting apps but really not using it much. Maybe in a few years. Last year’s Android models can be had for $100. Expect rapid price drops as these are really just commodities for light use. Not yet a mature product. Course that could change with one game changer…. However, Best Buy is removing PC’s and adding tablet floor space. Hmmm

  35. Check out the Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101.
    Solves the problem of not being able to close the lid, campared to the Acer W500

  36. Just played with an iPad2 that I received yesterday. After loading synching it with all the stuff I had on my iPhone, carrying around for a couple of hours, trying to do “real” work on it, I’m sending it back.

    It doesn’t do anything for me work-wise that my iPhone doesn’t do as a portable device. But my iPhone sits right next to my laptop 95% of the time.

    My expectations from the iPhone were to help when I’m out and about, to respond to e-mail emergencies, to text folks, and to do minimal work – very minimal.

    My expectations of the iPad were greater, but it can’t do more.

    I’m a laptop guy. That’s the extent of my I-ness…

    David

  37. I use my iPad as a laptop replacement, both in full-time seminary classes and in work as a journalist. I can tell you not from theory but in practice that it can be done, with a plan and proper tools. Embrace the cloud, and use it as your hard drive and file management system with GMail, Dropbox, Google Docs and a handful of other applets that make it possible to do serious writing on the screen. Put the keyboard in landscape mode, turn on the key clicks – it helps – and if you’ve got excellent typing skills on keyboard, you’ll still be able to type well on screen. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It can be done, and the prize is a *computer* that weighs under 2 pounds and turns on and off in a flash when you open or close the cover.

    Talking about the iPad 2 here, for the record.

    not an Apple fanboy and, surprise, I’m not going to flame you. But I do think you gave the iPad short shrift, didn’t take the time or give it the mental effort of working around what you consider its deficiencies. As a journalist, I know how easy it is to work a funny idea into a great lede, but the facts suffer from this approach.

        • The truth is the truth and using any external server to store personal documents on makes that person an idiot as far as I’m concerned.

          Its no wonder that scammers are quing up in their droves to fleece and idiot populous, not to mention hackers who like nothing better than to collect your personal details so that they can sell them on for profit.

          If you don’t like someone being called an idiot and cant handle strait talk, then, I suggest you go and take up a different pastime like knitting or something. Go back to your dumbed down reality TV and your lousy soap operas…oh and don’t forget to go to your local college and get a QNVQ in Political Correctness.

          • That should read:

            “to fleece an idiot populous” and not “and”

            I really should proof read my comments before posting. Just goes to show, I am not perfect but at least I know what I’m talking about.

      • I completely agree, anyone who relies on the cloud for anything they are bothered about, or using as their sole backup method, needs their head examined. I only use it as a second backup for non-personal documents and music files. Upload speeds (even with cable broadband) are far too slow to consider storing large files online. There are so many things that could go wrong with cloud storage – hacking, provider going bust, just to give a couple of examples.

        • I agree with Robin (see my post) – and the cloud is, I believe, here to stay. I use my desktop strictly for syncing, and that too will likely go the way of the dodo once I replace my router. I back up to a 1/2T Passport external and I now have 20g in the cloud – if/when my desktop dies I won’t suffer. The only thing keeping me from being 100% idevice is Apple’s insistence against external storage compatability which, as mentioned, isn’t likely to remain an issue with cloud storage.

          • Well, well, well, what can I say? I am not normally a rude person in real life but nethertheless, I call a spade a spade and that is the way it is. Take the following little gem from your post:

            “and the cloud is, I believe, here to stay.”

            It really makes me want to throw up when I hear people talking like that. Least of all because they don’t have the faintest idea of what they are talking about. They are bandwagon jumpers who have jumped on the latest buzzword because they think it makes them look all ‘techie’ and down-with-the-kids.

            The so-called cloud has never gone away because it has always been there in one form or another and is nothing more than a new term to describe something that has been around for years. Here to stay? Oh please!

            Is it any wonder that I loose my patience with you people and get angry.

          • To D!no

            “‘The cloud’ in this context is an emergence of the evolution of modern computing, and its implications as a storage solution are relatively newfound.”

            Can anybody spell bullshit? Sorry but you are talking complete and utter twaddle. Yahoo has been doing it for years…just ask anyone with any true knowledge of what cloud computing actually is…and there is only one context so don’t try and worm your way out of it by using meaningless twaddle.

            Better still, why don’t you teach us, O’masterful and knowledgable techie guru, about the evolution of modern computing and its implications for storage? Oh and while you’re at it…go and learn the security implications involved for such storage ‘in the cloud’ hahahaha!

            You my friend need to go and learn what the term means before you start throwing it around like it is going out of fashion.

            Oh by the way, when it comes to feeding ego, one need not look any further than your original post. Oh how you loved to let everyone know how you were an important musician/rock star…at least in your own deluded mind.

            Oh how you just loved to expand on the virtues of the iphone/tablet as an excuse to tell everyone that your you could use it to communicate to your fans. You have fans? Should I get down and worship now or shall I wait until after you have expanded on the virtues of the evolution of modern computing? I rather suspect I will be waiting for a long time!

        • Its nothing more than you deserve, and taking the security implications of what you said into consideration, the word idiot is used in its propper context.

          I just hope for all our sakes that you don’t work in IT. Dare I even say IT Security? Heaven Forbid!

          • The cloud is a way for advertisers to get even more advertising shoved in your face. Windows 7 and Live garbage is as bad as all the iCrapola Apple is having the Chinese make for them. Manufacturers have gone from producing new improved versions of things to make life better to making crap to sell to “idiots.”

          • I’m not on a bandwagon – I AM the band. Neil’s rudeness (and insistence upon its nonexistence) goes hand in hand with his mindset. Unable (or unwilling) to provide any knowledge or experience on the subject, he feeds his needy ego by discrediting others’ experience/knowledge. “The cloud” in this context is an emergence of the evolution of modern computing, and its implications as a storage solution are relatively newfound. I’m not a techie, so I asked friends and relatives who are professionals in the field and gained some valuable insight and information.

          • @ Neil: I agree with you about the cloud. I’m an IT tech and this whole Cloud thing is a serious issue when it comes to security. People dont understand that they will have zero privacy in the future, as if we have much now:)But my point is instead of slamming people who may not know what they are talking about, you could have simply stated the facts of why cloud computing is bad. I think people would listen much more intently when facts are given instead of being called an idiot for their lack of knowledge. Educate them. The more people are educated, the more that we can resist the crap that big companies like M$ try to force on us. Just my opinion. Would be a much better world if we could all make an effort to get along.

  38. I suspect that this article is absolutely spot-on: for a techie. I’m an artist. Many thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds worth of recording and processing equipment, instruments I only need for one song, word processing, and even a telepromter have been replaced by a few hundred dollars and a couple pounds of iPad. Another couple hundred gives me a compatible remote, a voice recorder, and a document processor in my pocket. I have $5 games that rival my $60 console titles – some ARE the console titles! The teleprompt function has expanded my playlist to UNLIMITED rather than a handful of sets. I can take photos and manipulate them for my CD covers and posters. Shoot and edit videos for my YouTube channel. Email and Facebook to advertise my unexpected show while I’m in town on vacation. Manage my finances. Handwrite or draw ideas with precision. Show off pictures of my kids. Send a song idea to my manager in North Carolina. Wake up on time for my interview – which I can podcast to my fans. Upload the song I just recorded to iTunes. Download a bass line from my pal in Colorado. Oh yeah – and make a call. At my desk at work, at the park, at McDonalds, on an airplane. As a musician, iPad and iPhone are an incredibly affordable, portable and practical solution for my needs.

    • By the way, I must apologise to Robin. You take the idiot of the year award, hands down. No one elese gets a look in.

      Maybe you can post the good news to all your fans…Im sure that your mum and dad will be very proud of you for winning the golden idiot award!

      As for your other fans…I’m sure that your family and friends will be very proud of you too!

  39. I have a Viewsonic tablet. I use it in my job, holding a ton of maintenance documentation. I don’t need a keyboard, so the on screen is fine. A laptop of any variety does not work in the situation, even the netbooks. Takes too long to boot up, or even wake up from sleep mode. I open it, access the document that I need, then close it. I’ll do this many many times per day. I’ve had laptops, netpads, Palm products of different types, and nothing works as good as a tablet. It’s graphic when the document or I need it to be. Simple as that. I love it.

  40. This is one of the best articles I have came across on pcpitstop in a long time, shogan has hit the nail right on target, finally somebody had the balls to tell it like it is.

    These things are truly toys, and for those that like to prance around showing looky what I got, I hip with this newest gadget, aren’t I cool, I have tried one of these one of my neighbors bought, I had to hold back my facial expression, I really wanted to bust out laughing but didn’t want to embarrass my friend.

    You yuppies can have this thing, what a waste, and now I hear a rumor that the next windows which is 8 is suppose to ram the it’s welcome screen with only a touch screen, are they kidding me, without a choice to switch to what we have been using for years, I hope whatever this is, is just a rumar, great article shogan.

    • @fred: Totally agree with you Fred. Sadly, though, the Windows 8 design is not a rumour and I don’t know if you will have the option to turn the piece of crap off.

      Needless to say, that I won’t be buying it, Microshite can shove their Win 8 where the sun don’t shine along with all the other anoying crap they produce.

      • I believe that the Windows 8 desktop can be turned off. The current PC World has some details, and that is one of the details included.

  41. My new Kindle e-ink wifi is just the ticket for my needs. I had no aspirations of finding a gadget that does everything anyone can imagine. What I can do is sit on the sofa with my feet propped up and read. Or take it to the pool and read when the g-kids are swimming.

  42. you should try the Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101. key board locks on and folds like notebook and adds 8 hours of battery life! check out the specs.

  43. I,for one, that’s iOne, don’t want a gadget that does everything well. I’m a man (thats iMan), or more correctly a man who likes gadgets (i’Magadgetman), so i need (iNeed) and indeed want (iWant) a gadget for everything not one that does everything. If i were a woman i could multitask but I’m a man so i need gadgets, preferably with a flashing blue light. Maybe I’m wrong (i’Mwrongmaybe) but i doubt it (iDoubtit)

  44. I have always loved the convenience of my Acer ZG5. It runs XP, and is a little outdated, but does everything I really need it to, including Skype. After looking at tablets at the local big box store, I decided to stick with my little Acer. I suspect this new little gadget is an updated solution for folks like me that like a tactile keyboard….but mine doesn’t tip over.

  45. @Swami Drahcir ·

    Small, portable/useful machines already exist – they’re called netbooks, have a proper keyboard, and you don’t immediately have to rush out and buy a case to protect the vulnerably screen.

    OK, most don’t have touchscreens. That OK, I wouldn’t have one that did – I don’t want a screen I have to look at for a long period covered in sodding fingermaks, nor spen half my life polishing them off. I can live with that on my mobe (htc Desire S), but that’s all.

    My dinky Acer will do all that my desktop will do, and not a great deal slower – OK, Photoshop would be unusable but so what, the last thing I want to do on it is tweak pics – I have a machine that does that perfectly well.

    And, the really great bonus? I don’t have to go to the pub and sit with the iPad/iPhone wankers pointlessly comparing apps – I can actually get some work done.

    Or drink, email and fart about on Twitter, safe in the knowledge that if I go to the Gents, the iAnything thieves will pass it by because it’s not “cool”. It’s not, but it’s damn useful though, and that’s what matters. I can’t be doing with electronic iBling.

  46. I’ve got a great idea, attach that keyboard to the tablet with a hinge that closes to protect the screen and keeps the screen from falling over. What, somebody already did? It’s called a laptop PC. Now let’s fix that touch screen that keeps getting oily fingerprints and peanut butter on it. A small wireless device with a couple buttons should work…let’s call it a mouse.

  47. Great review as well as an entertaining read. Now I know I don’t want or need a tablet. And I do have a very small Swiss Army Knife on my car keys key chain that comes in handy a lot.

  48. I have been involved in computing for a VERY long time, and have watched the evolution of the technology with great interest. Occasionally, it wanders into the ridiculous (remember Radio Shack’s “Cat” which required the user to use the parallel port to use the specialized scanner device?).
    In our never-ending quest to find a “one-size fits all” solution to everything in life, we discover over and over that it isn’t possible. We are too diverse in our wants and needs as people.

  49. the moral of the story is that a “power user” will never be satisfied until it is possible to build your own tablet like you can build your own desktop. Also, I think you forgot to mention how flash really runs on these tablets. There is a lot of misinformation that leads people to believe they will be getting the flash “experience” they get on a regular computer. Flash still runs pretty wonky on tablets. I think you are fighting the iKool-Aid so much that you have decided to glorify lesser tablets just because they are not made by Apple. This is anti-apple fanboyism. LAME

  50. Someone doesn’t like Apple! The review made me puke! Sorry, but millions disagree with you, including me. The I-Pad is fantastic for what it is designed to do and it is NOT slow for surfing. Seriously, an Acer tablet over an I-Pad?? Yeah, right!!!

    Oh, where’s the button for those of us who DON”T “like” the review….LOL

  51. The solution to the 10 lb. gateway laptop is get some dumbbell weights and workout with the weights, then the laptop will feel like a feather in weight. That is what I had to do, now my Gateway laptop is very light and easy to carry. This will solve all your problems as it did mine. Then you would not have to buy midget size toys that don’t work.

  52. You actually contradict your argument, the one about toys. The title of the article is tablets are toys. Your penultimate paragraph suggests that they are not. When you utilize a tablet for email, reading or niche applications found in many verticals it is not a toy any longer it’s a tool. There is a tool for every job as you end up noting. I am with you though, I still dream/search/desire that one device that is the end game in computing.

  53. Great article, Shogan. I keep waiting for the “Swiss Army Knife” of technology, but your article is discouraging, at best. I still make phone calls on my 8 year old Nokia “peanut” and compute on my Acer laptop. Maybe that is the best way to go.

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