Tablet T200 - ICT for Education (Oct '04)

Like many vendors, rockdirect have taken the step of creating a convertible Tablet PC, rather than a slate design. This allows buyers to have most of the benefits of a tablet, albeit in a slightly heavier machine, without losing the benefits of a fully featured laptop.

rockdirect’s convertible Tablet is thinner and lighter than Acer’s although heavier than the slate designs from RM and HP. It lacks an optical drive, but has a full-sized keyboard and a 14.1` inch screen. It also comes with Windows XP Home installed as the operating system, rather than Tablet Edition. This is a bold move - the Rock has a touch-sensitive screen, and can be operated using any pointer rather than the special electromagnetic pens found on other tablets. Rock supply ritePen software instead of the normal Input Panel in Tablet PC. This allows users to write anywhere on the screen, and recognition is as good as that found in Tablet PC, However, applications written specifically for the Tablet OS may not work with ritePen. Rock suggest that by avoiding the cost of a Tablet PCD operating system licence, they’re able to give better value to customers in the rest of the specification.

The rockdirect is a Centrino laptop, with a 1.5GHz Pentium-M processor and 256MB of memory. The hard disk drive has a 30GB capacity. As well as the ritePen software, Rock also bundle Ability Office and Panda AntiVirus. We’d have liked a handwriting journal application, but this isn’t a great loss. Connectivity is good with four USB slots and a card reader, as well as the normal modem/Ethernet/VGA. A webcam is also integrated into the lid.

It may be more of a laptop than a Tablet, but the Rock offers very good value for money at this price.

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