Stories by Carla Thornton

  • Well-designed case, but ineffective touchpad

    The Toshiba Tecra M4-S515 is a nicely designed convertible notebook that's easy to use as a tablet PC. It has plenty of ports accessible in both tablet and laptop modes, but our test unit's touchpad didn't always work. To convert the M4-S515 into a tablet, you have to swivel the 14.1-inch screen clockwise and lay it flat against the keyboard. Along with the touch screen, the M4-S515 offers two keyboard pointing devices: an eraserhead and a touchpad. The eraserhead worked fine, but the touchpad did not. No matter how I tweaked the settings, the touchpad wouldn't reliably select text when I dragged my finger across it. Selection usually required several swipes, and sometimes it didn't work at all.

  • Double the pleasure and impressive

    Interested in a tablet PC but not sure that one would be right for you? A convertible notebook is one way to get your feet wet. Convertibles typically have a conventional notebook design but come with the Windows XP Professional Tablet PC Edition operating system and a swivel touch screen. Though the HP Compaq Tablet PC Tc1100 fills the need well, it takes the opposite tack: It's a conventional tablet that doubles as the occasional notebook.

  • For weary road warriors

    The Portégé 4010 is a friend to the weary traveller: it weighs little more than two kilograms, including a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive, so you'll hardly feel it while running down the concourse to your next flight.