Inspecting gadgets

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from HP Compaq's new tablet PC to a mobile phone that is...a mobile phone.

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By  Brid-Aine Conway Published  May 24, 2008

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from HP Compaq's new tablet PC to a mobile phone that is...a mobile phone.

HP Compaq 2710p

If you're still dithering over which tiny laptop to buy (after all, everyone has one, don't they?) then you could do worse than the HP Compaq's latest offering, the 2710p.

This is a tablet PC with a 12.1 inch screen and a weight of just 1.8kg. The low weight comes in handy for those who want to use it as a tablet and will therefore be balancing it on their arm for periods of time while taking notes or giving presentations.

Note taking is accomplished with a combination of the stylus pen and handwriting recognition software that comes pre-installed in Windows Vista (which we'll assume is the reason it has Vista).

HP has included a dedicated Ctrl-Alt-Del button, which will probably come in handy if Vista's problems continue as they have been.

The screen itself has a matte finish to avoid reflections and fingerprints, and is easily viewable from different angles - helpful for craning over it when giving a presentation.

For those who are more interested in the 2710p as a lightweight laptop, the keyboard has been kept usable, with only a shortened spacebar and smallish function buttons reminding the user of its compact size.

As is common with tablets and UMPCs, there is no optical drive, but two USB sockets, mini Firewire connector, headphone and microphone sockets, an SD card reader and an ExpressCard 54 slot should keep most users happy.

Connectivity is also well catered for, with 802.11a/b/g, antenna for WWAN, and Bluetooth and Ethernet all included.

However, there is nothing truly remarkable about this tablet PC. It has a couple of nice features - such as a pull-out keyboard light for night-time use and a rubber-like coating on the bottom to make it easy to hang on to - but it is also missing some - such as a touchpad as an alternative to a pointing stick for navigation.

It looks fine, but it isn't stunning and the inclusion of Vista, as well as a raft of other pre-installed apps, warrants the purchase of the 2Gbyte RAM version, a relatively costly endeavour for this market.

LG Venus (KF600)

Most people either want their phone to have a touchscreen or not, for those that can't make up their minds there's the LG Venus.

The gimmick - I mean, stand-out feature - with this mobile is the dual screens. The upper screen is a 2 inch non-touch display screen and the lower is a 1.5 inch touchscreen dubbed the "InteractPad" by LG.

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