Over the past couple of years, I have become very impressed with Tablet PCs– not only the hardware, but also Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. The tablets are smaller, very easy to use on airplanes and in hotel rooms and generally better suited for travelling than my office laptop and all of the required cables and accessories that I have to lug around with it.
The one problem is that I have been using a Fujitsu Stylistic tablet which has no keyboard. This tablet is fantastic for reading emails and viewing web pages, but it is hard to tap or write out long emails. I intend to keep and use the Fujitsu for web surfing and email checking around the house, but I needed something else to take on business trips.
So I bought an IBM ThinkPad X41 tablet PC. These tablets are new and much heralded by laptop and tablet enthusiasts, so I figured I would have to wait a bit to get mine.
Here’s the story so far. Once my tablet arrives, I’ll post photos and a detailed review.
I knew that IBM’s computer division had been purchased by Lenovo, a Chinese PC manufacturer, but I’ve read enough about the deal and the transition that I felt comfortable buying a Thinkpad- long considered one of the best lines of laptop computers.
I went to the Thinkpad web site and placed an order a couple of weeks ago. There aren’t many customization options, so I picked the X-41 with a 60 GB hard drive and an extra battery and submitted my order. The first minor problem was that, contrary to the message you get during checkout, I never received any email confirmation of my order. No big deal. I wrote Lenovo on 9/24/05 and inquired about my order. On 9/26/05 I received an email reply giving me my order number and telling me that my computer was on backorder with an estimated ship date of 3-4 weeks. That was about what I expected, so no problem. The tag line on the email, We are the new. We are the future. We are Lenovo. Think Lenovo!, was a little too “all your base are belong to us,” but no biggie. Make me a great computer and you can say anything you want in your email.
When I went back to the Thinkpad web site to track my order online, two odd things happened. First, the page wouldn’t display (at least in Firefox) for several refresh attempts and then, once it did, I was asked for my customer number in addition to my order number if I wanted to track my order status online. So I wrote another email a week ago asking for my customer number. On Friday, I received a response with my customer number. I can now check my order online. It says 2-4 weeks, with a link for “more information.” That link leads to a pop-up suggesting that you call Lenovo for further information. That’s not much in the way of order tracking. Lenovo should take a look at the way Dell does online tracking.
So far this has been a slightly bumpy road, but nothing I can’t handle. The story will be told both figuratively and here over the next few weeks.