Additional thoughts on the Motion J3400 and Dell XT2 tablet PCs

I’ve had the Motion J3400 and Dell XT2 for a few weeks now and thought I would update my opinion on these tablets.

Motion J3400 configuration:
Windows Vista Business
1.4 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor

Dell XT2 configuration:
Windows XP Tablet Edition –SP3
1.6 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor

Despite the slower processor the Motion J3400 is definitely quicker than the XT2. It is also a little more user friendly with Vista installed, making the speed that much more obvious.

The screen on the XT2 is just ‘ok’. The resolution is fine, but it looks a little washed out. I love the multi-touch functionality. It makes web surfing a great experience.

The J3400’s screen is nicer to look at than the XT2, but the wide screen display is a little strange. It’s nice for reading a document in portrait mode, but makes things look weird in portrait mode.

Late last week someone asked me about the viewability of these tablets in sunlight. I’m not a vampire, but pharmacists as a general rule don’t spend much time working outdoors. Well, this morning I took the tablets out in to the hospital parking lot and did a little daylight experiment (photos below).

Both tablets were readable in direct sunlight, but I think the J3400 may have a slight advantage over the XT2 secondary to better viewing angles in sunlight. Either tablet would be preferable to my laptop which is nearly impossible to read while in direct sunlight; I’ve tried several time.

If I needed a tablet PC with a great outdoor screen I would have to give the Lenovo X200 serious consideration. Or wait for Pixel Qi to get their new LCD screen to market.

The J3400 wins hands down. The XT2 is a little flimsy. I’m not particularly hard on my equipment, but I feel like I’m going to break the Dell every time I rotate the screen to slate mode. On the other hand, the J3400 is solid.

Operating System:
I like Vista on the tablet better than XP tablet edition. It’s simply a better experience. Windows 7 should be an improvement to Vista and XP. I’m looking forward to taking it for a test drive on both these tablets.

Form factor:
I’ve never been a big fan of slate style tablet PCs. The convertibles make more sense to me. I understand that tablets are beneficial secondary to their pen driven interface, but sometimes a keyboard is necessary. And when that time comes I want quick access to one.

The keyboard on the Dell XT2 is actually quite good. Even though the keys are small I haven’t had any trouble typing with them. In fact, I’ve been using the Dell to write my blogs over the past week or so.

The J3400 has a detachable keyboard that latches on the back of the tablet when not in use. It’s a neat design, but it’s not comfortable to type on and I wouldn’t want to use it unless absolutely necessary. The keyboard adds bulk to the tablet and I permanently removed it after only a few days.

Pharmacist preference:
The old saying that everyone is different couldn’t be truer. I have pharmacists that prefer the J3400 and those that prefer the XT2. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but the female pharmacists appear to prefer the slate (J3400) over the convertible (XT2) while the male pharmacists prefer the convertible. When I asked the male pharmacists about their preference they responded with a fondness for the keyboard. The same question to the female pharmacists generated the response that they don’t use the keyboard. I find that very interesting.

My preference:
Even with all the faults associated with the Dell XT2, I find myself pulled in its direction. The reason is simple, I like having the keyboard. Go figure. I also find myself using the multi-touch screen more than I thought I would.

If Motion would create a convertible model of the J3400 I would be willing to rethink my position. Until then I’ll continue to use the Dell XT2 as my day-to-day tablet PC.

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