Reader Questions – Netbooks and HP Tablets


I get quite a few emails every week asking for advice on which laptop to purchase, what mobile phone to buy, help with picking a gear bag, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to offer advice or I don’t have enough knowledge on the subject to answer the question in the first place. As a result, I’m going to start a semi-regular feature where I will post a few of these emails and ask for your help in answering them. You’ll be helping me and your fellow readers. This week’s questions involve netbooks and HP tablets. Ready?

Ron D. asks about the HP Touch Smart TM2T Tablet:

Hi Julie,

I am considering the purchase of the new HP Touch Smart tm2t tablet computer. However, I’ve read mixed reviews of their previous tablet and although full reviews haven’t appeared yet on the tm2t, initial reactions have been mixed and “cautious”. I wanted to ask about your impression of the HP tablets in general and if you would recommend HP tablets from your perspective. I am most concerned that they are reliable.

Pastor Vincent S. asks about netbook alternatives:

I love the size of the netbooks, but are too underpowered. Do you have any recommendations based on the following?

Dual core processor for multi-tasking
4 battery life +
Preferably a 10″ screen?
Resolution of 1280×800 or higher.
Video: 720p HD capable, Nvidia ION etc.
HDMI out, with audio
Less than 4 lbs or less
Good speakers
remote built in
Touch Screen
Less than a $1000

There you go, two questions from your peers. Can you help give them some advice? Leave your comments below.

Posted in: Articles
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • 1hen2ducks January 30, 2010, 6:11 pm

    I have an HP Tablet/laptop 12 in TX2525 It’s a great laptop running Vista and other than Vista’s quirkiness, it’s given me no problems at all. I bought it because of it’s ability to run several different ereader types, ie; PRC, PDB, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, etc. It’s a good reader platform except for it’s weight, heat, and dreadful battery life. I now just leave it plugged in while reading.
    When HP comes out with a slate style windows tablet, sign me up for the first one.

  • BaldSpot January 30, 2010, 6:19 pm

    For netbooks, go to Amazon and check out customer reviews of Samsung and ASUS products. Very highly recommended.

  • Robert Grenader January 30, 2010, 7:46 pm

    Re Netbooks: What underpowered? I run Office 2007 on an HP Mini 1000 (with the OS it came with XP Home), send email with Outlook, have no problems with web sites.

  • matt January 30, 2010, 11:39 pm

    For a netbook alternative, check out the Alienware M11x. It hasn’t come out yet, but has a core 2 duo, discrete graphics (can be turned off for better battery life), 11 inch screen, and approximately 4.5 pound weight. it’s going to start at $800.

  • Dennis January 31, 2010, 8:00 am

    For a Tablet, I am running an Asus R1F with Vista. I think that I am one of the few people who actually like Vista and this machine is the reason why. The handwriting recognition is excellent. I now know how OneNote can be an effective program. The battery life is not great, but I am hoping to get a look at the Asus T101 netbook tablet. I think that it has the potential to really meet my needs even better.

  • Daniel Staal January 31, 2010, 11:15 am

    Re: Netbooks: Small, powerful, cheap, pick any _two._

    A standard netbook is plenty for most uses. (I have an Asus 1005HA, and have no problems with it.) If you really need processing power in that small a size, you’ll have to pay for it. Or get something bigger, which may be cheaper.

  • Beth January 31, 2010, 11:25 am

    I’ve had the ASUS EEE 1000HE (not HA!) PC since March. Did tons of research. The claimed 9+ hour battery life hasn’t been an exaggeration. 97% size keyboard, 10.1 screen. We upgraded memory from 1 to 2 gigs – took a couple of minutes. Fast little beastie. It syncs with my desk top using SyncBackSE in under a minute. One review of many –

    I did a ton of research but am no techie. At the time it caused quite a sensation; they might have a newer model now? Enjoy.

  • Jimbo January 31, 2010, 11:48 am

    RE: netbooks/tablet.

    I’ve been considering a netbook/tablet for some time now but haven’t been over impressed with what is available to date. I have recently got an iPhone which I like very much, so with the details of the iPad now released, I believe that the iPad will actually do what I want – I am looking forward to trying it out.

  • BleedinEdge January 31, 2010, 1:00 pm

    I have used both IBM/Lenovo’s Thinkpad X61 tablet and the HP Tx2. The Thinkpad is far superior except for the fact that the hinge is poorly designed (held on by two jewelers screws that become loose after a couple of months).

    My current tablet is the HP Tx2. I’m running Vista 64 and upgraded to a faster 7200rpm drive. It has proven to be fast and reliable, but there are several things that irk me:
    The audio jacks are in the front next to the touch pad so your thumb hits them.
    The case material does not provide confidence that you have a good grip when carrying it.
    An inserted SD card sticks out and is easily banged into.
    The wireless configuration software is not as good as that on the Thinkpad.
    The Tx2 supports touch. After playing with it for 5 minutes I turned it off. It’s a worthless gimmick that just gets in the way.
    Several of the buttons (such as audio control) only work via software and are slow to respond or do not respond at all if the system is busy.
    The screen rotation does not function as it is configured.

    I’m sure that if I had never used the Thinkpad that these items would not bother me so much. But I would strongly suggest looking at a Thinkpad first.

  • Tania V. January 31, 2010, 1:07 pm

    I found a very useful reference to the quality of netbooks at
    Apparently they are coming from analysis of actual customer reviews. Pretty cool stuff. This company sells their analysis to businesses, but they have a demo where anybody can check specific product reputation free of any charges or subscriptions. Here is the link:

  • Noah Senzel January 31, 2010, 1:30 pm

    @Jimbo: The iPad only has a 1Ghz processor, as opposed to 1.6Ghz on a netbook.

    Re: Netbook: If you’re willing to go with 12 inches and a 1366×768 display, the EEE PC 1201N has a dual core Atom 330 1.6Ghz processor, 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 4GB), NVidia ION Graphics, a 250GB HDD with 500GB online additional storage, up to 5 hours battery life on a 6 cell battery, an HDMI port, and runs Windows Home Premium. No touch screen, but less than $500.

  • Noah Senzel January 31, 2010, 1:31 pm
  • Sam January 31, 2010, 2:41 pm


    It’s probably helpful to know that NVIDIA ION is a marketing name for the GeForce 9400M when used with an Atom; for high def video, an Intel Mobile GS45 (also known as 4500GM) is probably sufficient, though the ATI Radeon and Nvidia chips will blow it away in 3D.

    I don’t think there is anything which fills all your requirements available, even ignoring your price cap. I’ll assume touch as a requirement, since that vastly limits the market.

    The closest to meeting your requirements are probably the HP tm2 and tx2 (discontinued). You can also find the excellent EliteBook 2730p refurbished in their business outlet for under $1000 (stylus input, not touchscreen, business focused features rather than entertainment notebook).

    Lenovo ThinkPad X200 Tablet is probably too expensive but is otherwise excellent and a pretty good match to your requirements. Hmm… looking in the Lenovo outlet, you can find new units for under $1000. You’ll probably have to confirm exactly what you’re getting though, Lenovo has made some updates without changing the name since the X200t was introduced in Sep 2008; while an active digitizer (stylus) was included in every model, touch (and now multi-touch) is an option.

    You can find Dell Latitude XT2s in the Dell Outlet for around $1000.

    Fujitsu has a bunch of convertible notebooks starting a bit above $1000, their outlet lists a lot of refurbished units on ebay which tyipcally go for well under $1000. 12.1″: T4310, T4410, T2020; 13.3″: T1010, T5010; 8.9″: P1630 (resisitive digitizer not well suited for touch, more for stylus; I personally have the previous model, a P1620).

    Looks like you can find the Toshiba Portege M750 with touchscreen for under $1000 refurbished. The M750 has a resistive touchscreen as an option, all models have an active digitizer.

  • Michael February 1, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Although I really like the concept of a netbook, practicality stopped me from purchasing one. The keyboards on each and every one were simply too small for my hands. I went with a 13″ laptop and found the battery life was quite sufficient for my needs, it was portable enough to take in a briefcase to meetings, and the graphics power was sufficient for what I use it for, presentations, light graphics works, etc. I my case, I purchased a Mac, although there are other laptops in this category that would probably do just as well.
    Bottom line: define your needs, define your budget, do some research, then go for it. Now, THAT’s profound advice! 😉

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