Sunday, 6 March 2011

Using a Windows 7 Slate/Tablet - woohooo!

About a year ago I agonised over whether to get a Windows touch screen device or the iPad. In the end the iPad won, and I love it.

However, I have just been handed the allegedly "best Windows 7 tablet" to test for a while (thanks!) - it is the variously branded Pegatron-made tablet most notably branded as the ExoPC. I could write my own review of it as a tablet, but there's a great review here at Tech Radar instead.

In a nutshell it's got an 11.6" 1366x768 multi-touch capacitive screen, mini-HDMI, 2GB RAM, a 32GB SSD, Atom 450 procesor, SD card slot, a couple of USB ports (yayyyy), a combined 3.5mm headset jack (booooo)and something like 4 hours battery life. Amazingly it is only about 1mm thicker than my iPad but it feels much bigger. So in essence a remarkably thin touch screen netbook without keyboard and with HD res screen.

I've only just got it, so will add to this as I go along (e.g. photos), but I am very keen to push it as a mobile music device. I've installed Ableton Live 8.2.1 and Virtual DJ thus far, along with a bunch of VSTis and VST fx. I installed ASIO4ALL but there may be a Realtek HD Asio driver somewhere. I can report thus far that all seem to work just fine, albeit tiny!

Hardware wise I plugged in my Behringer UMA25S and that worked straight away for MIDI and audio duties with no noticeable latency playing VSTis in Ableton. I have also tried my USB guitar cable and that works fine, but there's noticeable latency. Need to spend some time on that. Will be testing Hercules DJ console, UC33e, Korg Nanopad and my incredible Saitek P8000 (that needs a blog post all of its own one day.)

So far my few hours with it have been enjoyable, with a few Windows 7 frustrations due to the tiny on screen buttons coupled with my big hands. I do have a stylus somewhere so may try that. Interestingly the touch screen, although capacitive, supports 256 levels of pressure! How, exactly, I don't know.

The acid test, after a few weeks with it, will be "would I spend my own money on one?"

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