This is part 3 of a 7 part article series. To start from the beginning, read “Emerging trends – Enhanced technologies make the tablet PC an excellent business companion". In recent years HP have built up a solid portfolio of portable PC’s and with the HP 2710p they have a strong offering for the business tablet market. With the flexibility to operate as a standard notepad or slate PC, the 2710p offers a great combination of comfort, performance and aesthetics and all at a very reasonable price ($1750). As with all tablet manufacturers in this range, HP have opted to leave out an optical drive which allows the HP 2710p to weigh in at an impressive 3.6lb. This makes the device a comfortable unit to carry, maneuver and operate on the move. To my mind the HP 2710p has the optimum combination of size and weight for a tablet PC. [See image 1] The 12.1” screen has vibrant colors and is clear to see both inside and outdoors. It also doesn’t get tainted by smears or finger marks as many tablets do. The swivel mechanism to rotate the screen works well and feels considerably more secure than many others, but I do think the hinge/screen could snap off if sufficient force is applied or the unit dropped. The keyboard is solid, with minimal flex but for a tablet PC that can be used in notepad mode it could do with a touchpad. [See image 2] The HP Compaq 2710p comes with Windows Vista which modernizes the look, security and ease of use of the tablet. It is also beneficial because the handwriting recognition software that comes with Vista is highly impressive when combined with this tablet PC. Such is the quality of the HP 2710p’s handwriting recognition that even the most untidy set of notes can be processed into legible text which in turn minimizes duplication of effort. [See image 3] The performance of the 2710p leaves a lot to be desired. The Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz processor with 1GB RAM is slow to boot as is application performance, making the upgrade to 2GB, even at an additional $200, worth considering. As with the Toshiba Portege M700, the graphics card is average at best with minimal 3D capability; this makes gaming a no-go. The HP 2710p does have longer battery life than many of its competitors and lasting over 4½hrs during normal use would suffice in many business sectors, however for all day power you will need an additional battery and docking station. [See image 4] The stylus feels great in the hand, sufficiently heavy yet easy to use. However the locking mechanism to ‘dock’ it into the side of the tablet is prone to ejection and I do not agree that the solution to ‘tether’ the stylus to the unit is practical. [See image 5] The HP 2710p is well suited to roles requiring under the arm portability. It is almost as good as the Motion F5 for ultra portability – and would be hugely advantageous for site work, classroom activities, presentations and healthcare management. [See image 6] Despite distinctly average performance ratings and only standard battery life, the HP2710p is a very nice tablet PC. Relatively rugged with a great set of features and functionality, the screen resolution is clear and bright, with broad viewing angles. Wi-Fi signal strength and range are superb and is the unit’s flexibility to work as a notebook or slate. This is also one of the cheapest tablets on the market, so if you can tolerate the less than rapid speed of application delivery this is a sound business investment. To go to the next article read “Motion F5: Super slick, reliable and ultraportable”.