So I've finally decided I'm going to have to include stuff that don't yet quite have groundings as far as consumer availability goes since there was a whole slew of gadgetry antics I wanted to mention but had to leave out for not fitting the criteria of actually being currently available with a price tag. But then what is tech talk if we can't flow futuristic as it were.

Having been a long user of the TX2 tablet (not the tablet in the pictures) there was always this nagging thought at the back of my mind that it did suck a little despite all it could do. But I always just made the justification that its budget like pricing (in relative terms) more then made up for it when pitted against the many other tablet PC options of similar capability but with a significantly heftier price tag. At the same time questions over its relatively bulky design mentally churned over having seen what they'd done with the HP 2710P at almost double the cost of the TX2 range. But even if you had the dough to drop on a premium priced 2710P over the TX2 all it really gave you aside from the blatantly eye pleasing design was a relatively long mains starved uptime (for the time of release onto the market) for boring office centric tasks rather then bagging you any hardcore digital multimedia crunching prowess/abilities.

I guess pretty much only guys or burly military personnel could make any real mental justification of perceiving the TX2 as a tablet that could be handled comfortably in hand/arm as far as its form factor and weight was concerned. I can't see this being the case for more generic office working dwellers or less tech lust driven consumers who would probably opt to stick with a clip board and paper or an A4 notepad instead for obvious reasons. When I say tech lust driven consumers I'm referring to the kind that can more easily over look major flaws and impracticalities in a technology for its specified use just for the sake of having it when there could be better options in time or better options within other avenues of careful investment of cash, efforts and backing. But even I'll admit that this tech lust side of me is always at constant odds with my more practical level headed tendencies which is hopefully kept in check for the most part. Hopefully it kind of balances out.

Ok so you could listen to music on the TX2 (what can't you listen to music on these days?), watch DVD's on it without dropping a frame and even play a few not too demanding games on it too. However the reality is that even the supplied one level demo of the Sims that came with it caused the TX2 to go into spasms of overdrive whilst belting out heat like a room heater for overall performance to be described as choppy at best. I guess that was the main problem with it, despite being touted as a multimedia tablet it seemed to struggled with multimedia like tasks. Even those that it could seemingly competently handle in terms of pure function and operation still caused the system fan to go into high revs which did little to dissipate the build up of unwanted system damaging (and potentially performance hindering at the appropriate threshold) levels of heat with any sustained simple multimedia like task. The TX2 tablet when plugged into the mains and connected to the internet (via Ethernet or Wi-Fi) just ran near scalding hot at all times. It evidently wasn't without its flaws.

But having said all that there wasn't anything else on the market that could deliver a tablet PC experience at a relatively affordable price for the general none corporate end consumer. For me personally it was able to provide the kinds of number crunching horsepower I needed to run audio applications in a custom Ableton setup at a price that I could afford since there weren't any other tablets offering dual core processing capability throwing  2.4GHz over the two cores for well under $1000. But again it still runs near scalding hot when doing so which does worry me a little. At the same time the only way I was able to do this was to ditch vista and drop down to an extremely stripped down version of XP64 and even that was not without its hiccups in the early stages of use.

I guess you need to ask yourself. Do you really need the tablet touch screen features in order to use it in a genuinely productive way beyond any potentially short lived novelty value for your intended purpose?

The current phase…

The HP general consumer tablet range of today? Well it looks like the HP TX range finally got an overhaul of sorts which saw its outward appearance getting a serious upgrade (being damn near beautiful by all comparison judging by the official press shots) for its innards to inversely get a power sipping Ultra Low Voltage rework taking it away from its multimedia selling point of the TX2 range in the form of the current TM2. It would certainly make for a vastly cooler running machine as well as allow for much longer uptimes without mains powered assistance. But at near $900 for a single core 1.3GHz you're getting nowhere near the kinds of raw clock cycle throwing power for any serious multimedia or digital audio workstation applications. But the inclusion of Windows 7 and multi-touch capability as a minimum could hardly be a bad thing.

The next phase…

I was sure I was going to move over to another brand with any potential upgrade. However now I'm not so sure with word kicking about the rumors mill of a core i3 and core i5 version of the HP TM2 on the horizon utilizing discrete ATi graphics over the dicey integrated of previous iteration things are starting to get just that little bit more interesting. Lets just hope they can deliver whilst keeping within the better qualities and reasons of what set their general consumer tablets apart. If you can't wait for the rumours to matterialize then hit the jump to the currently availible line up with prices here.