Saturday, November 04, 2006

UMPY - A new Tablet is born

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I finally got down and bought the Asus R2H Ultra-Mobile PC from a retailer in Toronto. I checked hundreds of companies (OK, well, maybe tens of them) and even the ones who had it listed would not have it in stock for weeks. Until I found They had it listed, and told me they could get it in stock that day. Well, I was in Ottawa that day, but I knew that I would be having a couple hour stopover in Toronto on my way to Regina, Saskatchewan. So I told them to make sure they had one for me.

I got on the earlier plane between Ottawa and Toronto so that I could make sure to completely cross town in order to be able to get back in time for my 4:30pm flight. Normally this takes about 1 hour to 1:30... Fortunately last Wed, it only took 25 mins.

So I bought it ($1070 +tax) and started setting it up at the airport, and while I was on the plane.
The most frustrating experience was when you first turn on the R2H the touchscreen or pen does not work and there is the Tablet keyboard in the middle of the screen. You need to manipulate the joystick mouse around to drag the kyeyboard away from what you are trying to enter on the screen , and then manipulate the joystick mouse to use the tablet keyboard. Took about 15 minutes to set all the settings.

But this thing is cool. It is sleek. When I saw the blog about unboxing the R2H, I was intrigued, but I am telling you that the experience of taking it out of the box was quite neat. The box is a collectors item!

One of the first things I did was hook up my T-3 machine (Toshiba R10 Tablet) and synced my documents using the USB EasySync cable. I have been wanting something like this for quite a while to work with the times I want to grab more files than fits on a flash key my other computers. The software auto-popped up on each computer that I had connected, and it was simple to figure out how to sync the directories. I really like this tool.

When I plugged the USB mouse in, the R2H forgot all about the touchscreen. Actually there have been several times where I rebooted and the touchscreen no longer worked. At one point I went into the Control panel -> Device Manager to see what was there, and I had re-enable the touchscreen, but there came a time where it seemed the driver just disappeared completely. Re-installing the Touch drivers seemed to fix that.

I have been searching everywhere for a foldable Bluetooth keyboard for the R2H , but the only one I found in Regina ( I am here for another week...) was an HP Ipaq one. It only works with PocketPC's... Sigh... I am currently typing this with a USB connected keyboard I am borrowing from my client.

The R2H is fast...enough... and the screen is sharp. The sound is incredible. I right now have a Motorolla HT820 Bluetooth Headset attached, listening to Aelsin Debison... Really crisp music. No white noise... I also hooked up a slimline DVD-RW DL disk to it, and watched some movies last night. Really good video and sound. I thought we'd have some delay and choopiness, but it seems to be good enough. Not as good as T-3, but quite tolerable.

Only 3 other things that drive me really crazy with the R2H.
1) Battery life sucks. 2h15min... I am getting a portable pad to extend it
2) It gets really hot. Hard to hold when it has been on and plugged in for a while.
3) The tablet TIP keyboard on screen seems to have some serious redraw issues. I click Shift, and then a key, and it correctly capitalizes the character onto the screen, however, the shift button stays highlighted. It doesnt continue to capitalize, however the keys on the TIP keypad still have capitals, until I click on them and they revert to the lower case characters. But if I hit SHift again, it doesnt work. I have to hit it twice to get it back to Shift mode. I dont know whether this is a table bug, or an R2H bug.

1 really cool thing I found out is I bought the R2H at the exact right time. If I had bought it a few days earlier, I wouldn't be eligible for the free Vista Upgrade. But alas, I bought it on Nov.1st and I am eligible.

And the last really cool thing is my wife now has one too, so we are going to be able to figure all kinds of neat things we can do with our UMPY's...

Stay tuned as I throw some pics on here!