Tactical Advice

Fujitsu LifeBook T4215 Tablet PC

You don't have to wait for 'Star Trek'-quality voice recognition.
This story appears in the March 2007 issue of BizTech Magazine.

Some typists may look down their noses at hand-writers, and by association, at tablet PCs. But digitized handwriting can help non-typists, who otherwise would have to wait generations for “Star Trek”-quality voice recognition, join the computer-user fold. And now that notebook computers are everywhere, the next level is a tablet. 

End-User Advantages

Built around the Intel Centrino Duo platform, the Fujitsu LifeBook T4215 series tablet PC has a swivel that lets the user lock the display flat for writing.

The T4215 available in three models, identical except for 40-, 60- or 100- gigabyte hard drives and 1.66-, 1.8- or 2-gigahertz Intel chips.

The tablet PC measures 11.5 by 9.3 by 1.4 inches with a 12.1-inch display and weighs 4.4 pounds It comes with a fingerprint reader, 802.11 wireless, a 24X CD/8X DVD combo drive, headphones, external microphone and USB, Secure Digital card, infrared, RJ-11, RJ-45, memory stick and external monitor interfaces. 

On boot-up, whether running on battery or AC power, the quiet hum of the LifeBook compares favorably with the buzzing, humming and grinding emitted by other notebooks.

The defining application for tablets is Microsoft Windows XP, Tablet PC 2005 Edition.

One important aspect of handwriting capability is how well a tablet can convert that handwriting is converted into text. This is a difficult task that the T4215 handles well — once a user who normally types remembers how to write correctly. My first test sentence, “this is a test of the handwriting,” when converted to text, produced: “this is a cutest-test of the handwriting.” That’s pretty close for a first try.

Although the three-button touch pad is easy to manipulate, using the stylus in the left hand while typing with the right allows for jumping around on a text document, which is much faster than using the touch pad or mouse. A rocker switch on the stylus, positioned for either thumb or finger manipulation, handles mouse button tasks.     

Microsoft Windows Journal provides different colors and thickness of lines produced by the stylus. The eraser function eradicated all evidence of the user’s lack of artistic ability. 

Why It Works for IT

For users who prefer writing to typing, this is an ideal tool.

They will need to practice writing with the stylus; until then, they can type. At a recent conference, one user typed notes into Word while using the tablet to score how many times presenters overused business terms such as “best of breed” and “outside the box.” 

Its most important potential use: When faced with a user incapable of understanding without pictures, don’t waste time searching for the proper icon in Visio; simply flip the display around and draw your user a picture. 

Disadvantages 

The 12.1-inch screen might be too small for users who insist on having the biggest equipment or need  a larger screen because of the applications they need to view.

The tablet’s stylus is specific. If you’re one of those who always keeps extra keys handy because you know you’ll lose them eventually, do yourself a favor and order an extra stylus when you specify your preferred model.

CDW price: $1,859.99

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