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My $1,500 Tablet
March 1, 2011 - 10:00pm

My latest computer purchase is a Lenovo X201T Tablet. Around $1,500 - with 4 gigs of RAM and some other goodies.

Am I the last person on earth to purchase a Windows 7 tablet computer? In all the talk about tablets, we never hear much about the Windows 7 version.

The NYTimes "Tablets, Compared" feature lists the Apple iPad ($500-$830), Motorola Xoom (Android, $800), HP Slate (Windows 7, $800), Dell Streak (Android, $550), BlackBerry PlayBook (BlackBerry 0S, $500 maybe), Samsung Galaxy (Android, $600), and the Toshiba Tablet (Android, price ?).

Only one Windows 7 OS, all way cheaper than what I paid.

So am I crazy? You decide. My requirements for my tablet laptop were:

1) Needs to work with our lecture / presentation capture systems (ECHO 360 and TechSmith Relay).

2) Needs to work well and reliably in a lecture recording environment.

3) Needs to have a stylus.

4) Needs to be able to run PowerPoints and Excel, with stylus writing enabled on these apps.

5) Needs to serve double duty to QA Blackboard courses.

When it came down to it, I did not want something less than a full computer. This tablet computer is primarily a tool to allow writing and annotation during lecture recordings, but I also wanted to be able to use it as a backup machine, a QA machine, and a machine to administer and interact with a bunch of applications. I wanted a computer that I could do synchronous video conferencing with (Adobe Connect), and test the performance of different media formats. I wanted to be able to load the client apps for TechSmith Relay and the ECHO 360 personal capture software. In short, I wanted a real computer.

The iPad might be great, and I'm sure the Android based machines are impressive (and the PlayBook might be cool), but at least right now none of these tablets seem like real work machines. My iPad helps me organize my life, is a convenient e-mail and Web consumption device, but is not a platform to accomplish real (e-learning and teaching) work. The apps are great for consumption (Netflix, TED, NYTimes…etc. etc.) - but I can't see why an app is better than a full OS, a full application, and a keyboard.

So tell me why I was nuts to spend the $1,500 bucks on my Lenovo X201T Windows 7 Tablet.


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