TV09

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I was just wondering how common are tablet pcs and laptops in pharmacy school? I know that some of them require it and others don't, I was just wondering to what extent people are using theres and what for. Thanks
 

fathom

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I have a tablet pc and don't like using it as a notebook. Its all personal preference. I like regular notebooks with paper. That way I don't have to worry about a computer malfunction during class. With that said if you got a tablet pc you have the choice of using it as a regular computer and switching it into a notebook.
 

twester

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I'm looking at getting a tablet PC for next year and going as paperless as possible. I really hate how much paper I'm going through printing up class notes and writing up lecture objectives, not to mention all the binders I have to carry around with me.

On top of having all my notes in one place, I can get online during class to look something up or pull up a secondary document that I may not have in whatever binder I brought to class with me.

The only problem I can see is power. The one person in my class who uses a tablet has to sit by the sole outlet in the lecture hall. I'm not always able to get to class early enough to snag one of those seats and battery life is always less than promised.
 
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As an incoming student to Pacific - every student has to have a laptop - If you have to get one - might as well get a versatile one. Although, Pacific's program is built around laptops. All of our tests are taken online - in class. The tables in the lecture hall are outfitted with ethernet (if you need it) and power - one set per seat. I saw maybe 5 tablets when I went for my interview, so some people definitely utilize it as a handy device.

What brand are you looking at (I am interested too...)

~above~
 

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I am going to get a convertible notebook PC, one that can be a tablet and a standard laptop. I was looking at getting the gateway cx210. Anyone have any experience with these or know of another one that may be better?
 

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I am going to get a convertible notebook PC, one that can be a tablet and a standard laptop. I was looking at getting the gateway cx210. Anyone have any experience with these or know of another one that may be better?

This is an awesome thread. I have just started to research what type of laptop I should buy.... I am already overwhelmed. I am interested in anyone's opinion about this topic.
 

TV09

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As an incoming student to Pacific - every student has to have a laptop - If you have to get one - might as well get a versatile one. Although, Pacific's program is built around laptops. All of our tests are taken online - in class. The tables in the lecture hall are outfitted with ethernet (if you need it) and power - one set per seat. I saw maybe 5 tablets when I went for my interview, so some people definitely utilize it as a handy device.

What brand are you looking at (I am interested too...)

~above~


I was thinking about either a fujitsu or a toshiba, both convertibles. I want to stay away from gateway because of the many horror stories I have heard about them.I'm not settling though until I figure out how much it is definitely going to be needed for, such as exams, class ,etc.
 

rw24

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I have heard great things about Toshiba, but the price is a little high for me. I have a regular gateway notebook that I have had for 5 years and it has worked fine so far. I guess the biggest factor for me is going to be the price, thats why I am right now looking at the gateway. Does anyone know if any place is having any convertible notebooks discounted?
 

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I personally prefer the 17" widescreens, but that's primarily because I want the integrated 10-key. Otherwise it's just really big/bulky. If I were on rotations and needed a laptop I'd go small/lightweight, but I think most people to PDAs on rotations anyway. Good PDA thread in pharmacy forum.
 

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i think ill stick to my old laptop. its still good. what if your comp breaks down.. at least then youll have hardback copies of everything. its all personal preference.. though it would be hard with laptop and ochem... unless you have a tablet pc. anyone have one and would like to share pros and cons?
 

senzabee

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I was thinking about either a fujitsu or a toshiba, both convertibles.

At the pharmacy I work at, the pharmacists use tablet notebooks. I like it, it's pretty small, portable and easy to use but I'm not sure how small it is relative to others (I have a 5-year old 15" toshiba 7-pounder, so anything is small and light to me :D). Battery life seems okay, but we never use it to the extent that it runs low and mostly keep it plugged in. I can't say how good it is for surfing the internet, playing music/movies and stuff, but it's good for the simple business stuff. Toshibas are also good and reliable (hey, mines lasted me this long) but I agree that they are on the higher price end.
 

twester

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I personally prefer the 17" widescreens, but that's primarily because I want the integrated 10-key. Otherwise it's just really big/bulky. If I were on rotations and needed a laptop I'd go small/lightweight, but I think most people to PDAs on rotations anyway. Good PDA thread in pharmacy forum.

I have a Toshiba Satellite with a 17" widescreen as a desktop replacement and I've loved it. It's a pain to carry around, though, so it only occassionally gets taken anywhere.

My classmate is really happy with her Toshiba tablet/convertible, but as another poster observed the price is a little high. One good thing about Toshiba is that they often have 12 month same-as-cash financing if you get credit through them. But I think Gateway does the same thing and their tablet is about $400 less expensive. What horror stories are there about Gateways?
 

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I live with Computer Science majors and I asked them what i should buy for next year, all 3 of them said if i have the money the most reliable and indestructible laptop is an IBM thinkpad. I have used theirs before and they are awesome computers, they are regular notebooks but great computers. They have little sensors in their harddrives that can tell if the computer is falling and the harddrive will stop spinning so it doesn't bust on the fall. Little HP innovation that IBM uses. I am leaning toward a thinkpad right now but then again I don't need anything special so i think i will stay under 1200 bucks if possible, who knows.
 
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What brand of laptop is the best? Back a few years ago I kept hearing how Toshiba was the best. Is this still the case today?
 

TV09

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I just heard that gateway PCs were very unreliable. There was a gateway store near me that went bankrupt within a year of moving there. We are talking about tablet pcs so I dont know if the previous statement still applies.
 

fathom

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I just heard that gateway PCs were very unreliable. There was a gateway store near me that went bankrupt within a year of moving there. We are talking about tablet pcs so I dont know if the previous statement still applies.

I have a Gateway Tablet. I believe it is a M275 or something like that, but anyway they did discontinue my model. I haven't had any issues for 3 years.
 

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I wrote this review for another website a few months ago. Most of what I wrote still holds true, except for a few things that I have changed my opinion on, maybe I willpost about those later if I have time. Its pretty long, to sum it up, I think its a great overall machine, but there are a few things that I wish were different, mainly the tracking of the pen. Very good value compared to other tablets like it.




I have been using my cx210x for almost 2 months for school now. I am a pharmacy student, and use it for taking notes in all my classes.

I think academia is one of the few places where a tablet PC is more than just a rarely used novelty, I decided to get one because I am extremely unorganized, and end up with one big binder full of notes, handouts, slides, assignments from all my different classes. The tablet PC allows me to have it all in one spot.

Here are the stats of my rig: 2 ghz, 2 gb, dvd burner, 8 cell battery, dedicated 64 mb graphics card.

First I will explain how I use my computer: When I am taking notes, I use MS OneNote. This allows me to put everything in one place. In some of my classes, it is expected that you have the slides printed out before hand, so instead of printing them, I simply have the PDF open during the class. As I am taking notes by hand, I use the screen clipping function to cut out slides or images from slides that are useful or just too complicated to draw or write. By doing this my class notes are even more useful, since I don't have to search for the slide the professor was talking about as I was taking the notes, all of the relevant images are right in my notes. THis is also better than printing out all the slides and just taking notes on them because not all slides are all that important, so my notes are very neat and concise with no wasted space. And personally, I learn almost absolutely nothing from powerpoint lectures, where you just take notes on slides, so I write as much out by hand as I can. The tablet allows me to do this, but still insert a slide or image when I really need to. (On a side note, I think powerpoint absolutely terrible, it is more of a detriment than a tool, and I have yet to see a professor use it in a way that would be better than just using the chalk or whiteboard, and I’ve been going to school for 5 years. In my opinion, if you use powerpoint, you are not a good teacher. Period. But everybody uses it now, so I guess I have to find a way to make it work for me, which brings me back to my review….) For the classes I have that are not too note intensive, like non-science based classes, I simply open up the PDF of the slides or handout and the few notes I have I just write directly on the PDF.

Getting to the Hardware:

My notes are a mix of words, symbols, graphs and equations, so taking notes on a regular laptop wouldn't work. The stylus has a nice pen and paper feel, although its not perfect. The pen works well with the width set at about .3 mm to .5 mm. Using a bigger size than that and it feels like you are using a marker. The digitizer and the pen are good, but not great, but definitely adequate. For example, when you hover above the screen, the pointer is always vibrating like crazy, just moving back and forth like one pixel. If you write very slow, and use an extremely thin pen, you will notice that your letters are not made up of nice smooth lines, but little tiny zigzags that are so close together they look like smooth lines. On my computer, I have noticed that the digitizer seems to very a little bit across the screen. For example, if you were to start at the top of the screen, and write at the exact speed and exact pressure all the way to the bottom of the screen (and had perfect penmanship), you would expect a very uniform looking page. However, certain spots on the screen seem more sensitive, so they will look like you were pushing down harder, and certain spots of the screen, the writing gets thinner. Also, around the edges, like in the upper corner, the pointer doesn't seem to move smoothly with the pen. This makes hitting that little X with the pen difficult to impossible sometimes. Another litlle quirk i noticed, is that if you used the computer in landscape mode, with the batter bump furher away from you than the latch end, when you get to the last line, and are writing right by the magnetic latches, there is a lot of interference from the latches. If you tried to draw a straight line across the bottom of the screen, you couldn't. There would be two curves in the line by the two latches.

Pen Calibration:

I think the pen calibration actually kinda sucks. It is supposed to compensate for the tilt of the pen, but you have to play with it a long time before you figure out what its trying to do. You are supposed to click on the four corners of the screen, but to get the pen accurate, I had to tilt it in a way that was not ergonomic. After a series of trial and error, I finally got a great calibration. Maybe its my digitizer or pen or something, I don't know. Overall, I had hoped the pointer would track the pen better than it does.

Gaming

Compared to the average notebook, you could even consider it a "gaming notebook." Its not one of those that are as fast as the fastest desktop oviously, but I use it for playing Civ 4 a lot (and i mean a lot), with the graphics maxed. The game runs very fast on here. If there are any civ players reading this, you know how that game bogs down toward then end. On my 2.4 hz P4 w/256 mb graphics, the turns toward the end of the game took like 3 to 5 minutes each, just waiting for the computer to make its turn. On this machine, even in the modern era, when you are moving like a hundred units a turn, the game still runs fast, and there is very little "waiting for the computer" to make its turn. The only other game I play is UT2004, which runs maxed out on here. I have played GTA San Andreas and Half-life 2 breifly on here. They ran very well, and I was able to have the graphics slightly higer than on my 2.4 ghz 1 gb ram desktop.

The Design.

Because this is a computer that tries to be everything: a desktop replacement and a portable tablet pc at the same time; it is somewhat heavy. I have just the 8 cell battery, which has the "Battery Bump" toward the back of the machine. Some times I love this bump, and sometimes I think it gets in the way. In general, its actually a great thing. One underappreciated aspect of it is how it actually save on heat and battery life. By keeping the laptop propped up a little at an angle, the heat dissipates SIGNIFICANTLY faster than other laptops. This is really a factor when it is on a desk, in a classroom. Because of this, the fan almost never comes on, and because of that, the battery lasts longer, and it doens't make a noise at all. THe huge oversize battery also allows me to go to all of my classes w/o having to take my power supply. This totally makes up for the extra weight, not having to deal with lugging that around. IF you put it on power saving mode, it goes well over three hours. Since I never have more than three classes in a row, I never need to bring my plug along. The only bad thing about the battery (becides the weight), is that it digs into your thighs after a while if you are using it on your lap. The hinge is sturdier than one would expect. The screen is not any more wobbly than if it had two hinges. The magnetic latches work great, and i think that it is great that they use the the same latches when the cover is down and when it is turned around in tablet mode. I am not crazy about widescreens in general, and on this computer I don’t think it makes much sense. One would think it would be great, since you would use it in portrait mode, so it more resembled a real tablet. However, you can’t do this well because of the battery bump, if you did you would be writing at a slant. It feels best taking notes with the battery bump away from you, so the tablet is slanting down toward you. This does help a lot with the viewing angle, which isn’t that great. After some of my longer lectures, my back feels a little sore from being hunched over the computer looking down at a 90 degree angle. The Viewing angle is another reason why its hard to use it in portrait mode as a tablet. When it is in portrait mode and sitting on a desk, you simply cannot see the top of the screen because it is so far away from you and the viewing angle isn’t great. In this respect, it is a good thing this is widescreen, because if the screen had more vertical pixels, the same thing would happen while using it in landscape mode, you wouldn’t be able to see the part of the screen furthest away from you unless you were sitting in a very uncomfortable position, hovering directly over the screen.

Overall, I think this may be one of the best options for a student. As I have said, I can’t think of any better use for a tablet than using it for school. It does a lot more than I expected. I never dreamed I would be able to give up my desktop and use this as a desktop replacement. It’s a great desktop replacement, a great laptop, and a good tablet.

The biggest positives that stick out are:
-Battery life is great
-Ultimate all-in-one machine, no need to compromise speed for tablet function
-Can organize virtually all school work into concise, neat looking documents
-Better than average wi-fi antenna
-Its hot, but its noticeably cooler than previous laptops I have used
-Battery options, you could have 6 , 8, 14, or even 18 cells by using the modular bay
-You can turn the LED lights off (this is actually very useful, for one thing, the little LED’s, especially the power button, generate heat, and it also saves power I suppose)
- IT just looks futuristic and you feel like a big shot using it


This that need to be worked out for future version:
-The microphone could be much better. Audio recording of lectures is very easy w/one note, but the microphone just isn’t good enough to record lectures well
-Make the pen and pointer track better. I really wish it were more exact. I want the pointer to be directly below the pen tip, exactly, no matter what.
-On the screen, there is more than 1 inch all the way around of plastic, that could be screen space. I think some of this has to do with the glass. Unlike other laptops this screen needs a little more support, since there is a whole lot going on (a hard glass screen, not a soft screen). I want the screen to look like those newer apples where the actual lcd screen is like a quarter of an inch from the edge of the monitor.
 
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the majority of students at my school have Dells and Macbooks.


I also have a Dell. Hasn't done anything weird every since I got it.
 

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I got an E1705 Dell notebook for Christmas, but I'm worried it will be too big for pharmacy school. I was going to trade it for one smaller, but my boyfriend bought it for me so I didn't have the heart. I definately cannot afford one, so it'll have to do.
 

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I just bought a HP dv2000t, the price was right and for what I will use it for it is a supercomputer.
 

foroneaudience

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I have had very bad luck with my Dell. My freshman year my hard drive crashed and I lost everything, and my screen only turns on only after a combination of turning it off and on.

My boyfriend's brother had a Dell dual processor and less than 6 months into having it, both hard drives crashed, then after getting two new ones, one crashed again and then after replacing that one, the other one crashed. After calling customer support for the 100th time, the service rep actually told him not to buy a Dell again. :eek:

Needless to say, I'm sold on the idea of never owning a Dell again! I really want a Macbook. A couple of my friends have them and love them! They've never had any problems, and they're so small!
 

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everyone I know has also had horrible luck with Dells.

It is going to be for pharmacy school so why try to save money and stick to the low end computers when they may fail you halfway through school?

I have an IBM X41 Thinkpad Tablet PC and it is the best computer I have ever owned. It is so reliable, have not had a single problem with it. It is also very lightweight and the tablet is very easy to write on.

All of my computer savvy friends (i.e. the ones who work at Microsoft) all recommend IBM Thinkpads.

I have also heard Toshiba tablet PCs are good, but I know they were having a lot of problems with their tablet PCs getting so hot that they could not be held in your lap! I know the IBM tablets also tend to be better with battery life than Toshiba tablets. Perhaps this has changed from when I bought my Thinkpad a year ago, but I would personally still go with Thinkpad.
 

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If you buy from Dell, buy from the small business division. You get better support, and I daresay, a better product most of the time.

IBM/Lenovo is still pretty good for a durable product.
 

ycamrahp

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What about operating system?

Do you prefer Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, or other OS?

I heard that windows vista has a number of problems, especially the Home Premium Windows Vista.

I have seen a number of laptops these days that are on sale, and I figure out most of them have Windows Vista Home Premium!!!

Wouldn’t be better if the focus is on the OS rather the laptops?

I think the best choice is to buy Mac notebooks b/c it has less problem compared to XP or Vista?

What do you think?
 

VeraShield

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What about operating system?

Do you prefer Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, or other OS?

I heard that windows vista has a number of problems, especially the Home Premium Windows Vista.

I have seen a number of laptops these days that are on sale, and I figure out most of them have Windows Vista Home Premium!!!

Wouldn’t be better if the focus is on the OS rather the laptops?

I think the best choice is to buy Mac notebooks b/c it has less problem compared to XP or Vista?

What do you think?
I think people exaggerate Vista's "problems." Most of the major complaints deals more with third-party support. It does have some quirks, but nothing unusual from migrating to any other OS.

OSX certainly requires less maintenance than windows, and you can still dual-boot with windows if you need something in windows (or run parallels, or other vm) [at the cost of buying a windows license].
 
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