Friday, February 05, 2010

Experiences: My first convertible, Asus T91MT



Ok, I was going to type the title of this post as “Experiences: My first tablet”. But then realized that, I in-fact have a tablet: Mobilis, even before I got myself a Netbook (MiLeap). That is partly because I don't like laptops: primarily because of their form factors and secondarily because of the price factor (they were too expensive back then, well still are!).

This made me first buy the Mobilis. However that experience was not exactly pleasing. I am still trying to figure out how best to use this device!

Then I got HCL-MiLeap-L. Which was a terrific machine. But when Windows 7 was released, I really missed the touch feature. So I installed Ubuntu 9.10 on this kid and gave it to my parents as a backup machine for Skype call in event of power failure (the primary desktop running Windows 7).

In the mean time I got an office laptop (Dell XPS). Though pretty good performance (well good for doing some serious work!), it has two major problems: Weight and Heat. Either of these makes the device not so mobile. Also even if Windows 7 is there on this machine, there is no touch screen. To be fair, I was looking for a very portable, light weights, not to expensive machine that I owned ;)

I have been searching for this kind of a device for couple of months, and finally zeroed in onto Asus T91mt (or its successor T101mt). But eventually decided not to wait for the successor and ordered one from techbuy.com.au (who, I guess is fairly good online retailers/ re-seller, that is my experience). Prime reason for that being that there is no public set release date for T101mt, and there is no concrete info on if this will sport an SSD or an HDD. I really did not want to get an HDD based device. For MiLeap too I wanted an SSD based model, but they were simply out of stock when I ordered one.

IM000004

I don’t intend to write a technical review of this product here, but just my experience of using this, in short it has been fantastic as of now.

So what do I use this device for: every thing except for serious programming. My “every thing” doesn’t include playing games or watching high-definition videos.

IM000006The best way I like to use this device is in tablet mode specifically to read news and stuff. Touch typing is accurate and handwriting recognition is terrific (of Windows 7), it also correct spelling mistakes on the fly ;) Multi-touch (two point) is also pretty accurate and works flawlessly for me.

The keyboard design is pretty good (if I compare this to MiLeap, which was quite cramped).

Heat generation is “very low”. I have a feeling that it is better than my Mobilis, which at some point got so hot that I could not hold it.

There are no fans! So it is very quite, and I am quite happy about this.

The bundled software (Windows 7 with the touch pack) and Asus touch suite are pretty good. Though I found Asus touch suite to be bit buggy and unstable some times, hope they fix it.

imageAs far as the windows experience index goes it is 1.9, the lowest one going to the processor. (Note: I upgraded the memory to 2GB, though the default 1GB is usable, I simply always have too many apps open when it comes to a desktop operating system ;)…).

Finally, this need not be mentioned, but MeTA Studio works pretty well on this device. And drawing molecules with fingers is pretty intuitive (but buggy, so expect a fix, now since I know what happens!) ;) In any case, MeTA Studio is not multi-touch capable (yet).


Update: After constantly using it for few days I have made the following changes-

- Removed all Asus applications except Hotkey, I don't see they are really useful and I find Microsoft touch pack to be much more stable and usable than Asus applications. Also the Asus applications simply make the machine too slow.

- And installed them again! after realizing that merely changing power settings to 'high power' makes it faster.

- Removed the super hybrid engine too and put the power options to High performance. With this T91 performs way much smoother even in the tablet mode. The heat is not much of an issue still. Though battery life could be, have to see how it goes.

- Installed Google chrome. But it does not support some cool finger gestures like kinetic or hold and scroll. IE is still integrated well with the touch gestures. (moved to firefox, much better integration with windows 7)

- With this (expensive ?) purchase, I plan to buy no further gadgets for next 2 years, at least ;)

Update2

One of the commentors requested me to check pressure sensitivity with Open Canvas. As far as I can see, yes there is pressure sensitivity.



Update3

I have been using One Note (2007) on my T91MT for quite a while now, specifically to quickly write design documents and record memos. And I find it to be quite usable and very productive.

10 comments:

Kaustubh A. Joshi said...

So what do I use this device for: every thing expect serious programming. My “every thing” doesn’t include playing games or watching high-definition videos.

I know you dont play or would watch videos. but if not programming what all comes under "every thing"

you said you are not writing technical post, but even this went a bit technical for this poor mind. What is SSD? I make out HDD.

Lastly, I am now curious to know how many electronic gadgets you own by now?

Ganesh said...

every thing is: Browse the net, Skype, check mails, take notes & occasionally listen to music.

SSD stands for solid state device.

The number of electronic gadgets I own is a highly classified information ;)

melitabel said...

I am very curious about handwriting, because I would want to use it to take extensive notes during meetings. From what I have heard, people find it very tiring to have to keep their palm off the screen. However, a few have said they can rest their palm on the frame quite easily.

Do you take extensive notes? If so, what has been your experience of how you have to place your hand? Right now, this is what stops me from buying this machine.

Ganesh said...

melitabel,

I find it comfortable to take notes on it. I usually use Journal to take notes and you can enable palm rejection when using Journal, so the writing is smooth.

If you are using the tablet input panel to write into say Word, you might have slight difficulty initially. But for me after using it continuously for couple of days, I feel comfortable.

hope this helps,
cheers

eshieldsga said...

Very helpful, thanks. I use OneNote, so it won't have palm rejection. I still can't decide, but I want one so badly. I know more will come out this year.

Pzero said...

I want one of these really bad.. but i cant find any information on how well it works for drawing.. im a artist and i need a small tablet like this perfect for the go. But I also need to know how the pressure sensitivity works on it. If you could.. please get Open Canvas and Sai. Which both are very light weight art programs. Just need to try the demo ver. of these programs and draw and tell me how it works. I really would appreciate this help. As i cant find any info.. have been searching for weeks now >.<

Ganesh said...

Pezero

i think the pressure sensitivity works well. see the updated post.

Pzero said...

Ohh thanks a lot.. now I must get one of these. .can save me so much.. and you have helped me out so much. This is really great to know ^^

Thanks again PZero

Nerdful Things said...

I own this T91MT (from NewEgg), great netbook for basic web surfing and watching some videos. Great battery life even without power saving settings. I wouldn't call it multitouch though as it only recognizes maximum of 2 finger points at once, I call that DUALTOUCH! I was expecting more than a dualtouch touchscreen :(

It won't even play youtube or HULU videos (unless you download them first) that I so hoped for either (even tried on LAN connection incase WIFI was to blame, but nope). Forget trying to use Google Earth! I could only upgrade the ram as high as 2GB and you cannot give more RAM to the internal video card.

In the promo videos from Asus showing this unit and touch screen applications running nice and smooth is a farce. When you flick images, they are not smoooth, scrolling pages or button sets, they will not follow the speed of your fingers, sometimes you are not sure if your click was even registered as the PC is busy catching up. Their videos are a bit decieving (actually very decieiving considering I believed their fake videos).

It plays most downloaded movie files I have (as long as you find most recent video card drivers from Intel, Asus doesn't even give you these), great for all my 720p DivX vids (1080 may not play).

Great for FLAC and MP3 playback.

Tried Windows XP and Vista on it, Windows 7 runs best.

I have tried some emulators of old 8bit & 16bit games (I am a fan of old games). NES & SNES works perfect. Sega Genesis and Master System roms play fine. GBA most games ran well. Majority of MAME games would play (use GlovePie and your WiiMote). A few n64 games ran ok. DosBox with games like DOOM, Blood, etc work well too. I wouldn't expect to get more gaming from this unit, lucky if PC games made before 2000 will play smoothly.

You can install Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition on Windows 7 and I even found a download to install Microsoft's Surface applications (Google "Touch Pack Drop 4").

http://www.GigahertzInc.com

Ganesh said...

Agree with 'Nerdful Things', more than 2 touch points would have been very useful :)
Though I was aware that it supports only 2 touch points. I guess, most of the "multi-touch" for windows 7 are only having two touch points. Problem is there are hardly any applications that use multi-touch feature.
With the release of VS2010 hope things change .. I too am exploring programming on Windows after a very long time :)