New laptop

Posted on Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 4:05 pm in

I got a superb deal on a refurbished tablet PC from, the tx2513cl. I forget what exactly drew me to a tablet PC, but I as I thought about it I could only think about how awesome one would be. And after receiving mine, I can say that I was impressed. Handwriting and drawing are fun, and a touchscreen/pen adds some interesting dimensions to interacting with a computer.

The pros for my model can be easily found on HP’s sales pitch and other reviews explaining the lucrative features. What they didn’t tell me is that the touchpad is actually quite nice, especially remembering HP’s old touchpads. The old ones were totally smooth plastic, and had alot of the wrong kind of friction. This one has divets on it, making for a nice feel. The scrollbar actually works and is a separate bar of divets, making it easy to find and use. There is an obvious, working, dedicated button to disable the pad temporarily, although right now it doesn’t seem to be in the way. The keyboard is fine. The delete and function keys are small, but I have no problem pressing them. Unless you have humongous fingers there won’t be a problem.

There are some drawbacks. As many reviews told me, this computer does get hot, especially while plugged in, it will become alarmingly so. The fans run out of the corner, which seems like an odd design, but everywhere else is packed with features. This particular corner gets quite warm. I found that while it was unplugged, the computer was fairly pleasant though. Warm, yes, but not scarily, and not nearly as noisy.

It runs a bit smoother once you clean out all the crap that’s installed to begin with. HP QuickPlay is annoying and useless. Maybe I should nuke it too.

I had read that battery life was limited. I haven’t done any conclusive tests yet, but so far, so bad. It drops pretty quickly.

It feels flimsy. This doesn’t come as a surprise, though, considering it was a low-priced model refurbished and sold still lower. I don’t want to drop it, and don’t feel comfortable leaning on the space below the keyboard (a habit). It is an ultra portable, and so fairly light.

Mine didn’t come with the multitouch features that I probably wouldn’t use anyway. When you flip the screen into slate mode, it always puts it into the same orientation. It seems to require being recalibrated a lot and I think that recalibrating in one orientation, and then a different one, will mess it up in the previous one. I normally just use landscape to avoid trouble.

All things considered, I would recommend this computer to others (on a tight budget, granted). Now for my adventures with tablet functionality.

I was worried about scratching the screen, but the pen doesn’t scratch the screen, at least detectably. It’s plastic on plastic. What scratches the screen is if something hard lands on it and you grind that into the display with your pen, so from now on I’ll clean it thoroughly and frequently (unlike my old laptop, which gathered a positively enormous pile of dust once). The oil from my hand collects on the screen, and the pen disturbs it, creating the appearance of being scratched. Who knows, the oil might be beneficiary as a lubricant or something. The pen is great for art. Having your marks appear at the pen is a great boon. A regular tablet made some things convenient, but had me a bit vexed when it came to precise lines.

Recognition for handwriting is fairly reliable, although it will mistake a sloppy ‘r’ for a ‘v’ and an ‘l’ for a slash. I tried xThink’s calculator, but the recognition is too mediocre for me to put down my pocket calculator. Firefox has a cool plugin called Grab n’ Drag that it exceedingly useful. I have it on my desktop too. A plugin called basics will add some handy buttons to add new and summon closed tabs. Warning: the magic button to summon the on-screen writing pad does not appear around firefox text boxes. OneNote is interesting, but I’ve been having troubles with it. I think it’s more of a user error, but lassoing text is difficult and sometimes I’ll miss some letters or not put enough pressure on the pen button. I keep trying to put a text box in a text box too.

What’s fun is that the laptop, having weight and rubber feet, does not need an extra hand to hold it in place like paper. So I put it on a small mobile mouse and use the scrollwheel and automatic switching to text mode. The mouse is a simple one with a nice scrollwheel that claims its batteries will last another 448 days. We’ll see.

Since the computer runs vista and has a graphics card barely meeting the requirements, I tried Halo 2 for awhile. It lagged like crazy. This is no gaming laptop, and FPSs aren’t much fun when the computer doesn’t keep up with you.

I’m taking some Physics notes from my textbook down in OneNote. I’m curious as to whether the teacher will razz me about it, as I have heard happens. Maybe I should put my name in handwriting.

You might also be interested in

Add your comment

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.