I’m cross-platform in my smartphone use and… later today… I will be cross-platform in my notebook use too.
I do a good deal of writing using voice recognition, in fact the ability to use Jott and Vlingo to respond to individual emails by voice was a big reason I began using a Blackberry. I find it fast and convenient. In addition, I struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and on bad days the pain in my hands and wrists can become a big problem. Using voice recognition to write a first draft of something and then manually clean it up saves a lot of wear and tear on already aching/painful joints.
As much as MacSpeech 1.5 is an improvement over the original version, thanks to the decision to begin using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking’s voice recognition engine, it still falls far behind Dragon’s Version 10 Windows software. This has been a particularly rough few weeks, and I have been relying more on speech recognition than usual; MacSpeech just wasn’t cutting it.
That got me looking for a small, light, portable Windows machine that would, primarily, be used for writing and for responding to email by voice. So began my search. Little did I know it would bring me back to the current version of one of my favorite Tablet PCs.
My Fujitsu ST5030 does a good job at voice recognition thanks to the dual array microphones. With a 1.2 single core processor it certainly isn’t the fastest machine around, but it does get the job done. It is however, like carrying any other light notebook. It would work fine, but I wanted to see what other options were out there.
I tried using a Sony UX280P microPC. With its 1.3 single core processor, it wasn’t much faster than the Fujitu but it also got the job done. The 4.5″ screen however, is soooooo small that working on it was going to be an issue. Add to that the fact that it is pretty thick and the keyboard is horrific… the Sony was not going to be the right choice for this purpose.
So my search continued.
I emailed Jenn Lee from Pocketables (It is an awesome site dedicated to pocketable computers and PMPs) and asked what recommendations she might have. She was (no surprise) terrific. She quickly got back to me with two recommendations – the Viliv S5 and the UMID mbook M1. I had looked at both and had almost bought the Viliv. The only thing holding me back was the lack of a built-in microphone. That would be a bit of an inconvenience.
Then I had an idea.
I had purchased a number of computers from the Fujitsu WebStore on eBay. The units were mostly refurbs, but every one of them has been pristine. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check there. I did and this is what I saw…
A Fujitsu P1630 with
1.2GHz DualCore processor
160GB 5400 RPM drive
3 and 6 cell battery
It is a powerful little computer that should run Dragon beautifully. The biggest downside is its price. A computer with these specs will cost over $2600 new. That’s where Fuji’s eBay shop comes in. When all was said and done and the bidding was over the P1630 sold for… $900.
$2600 new vs $900 for a refurb… not a bad deal.
Yes, it was more than I had planned to spend, but for the extra dollars I got a small, no-compromise convertible TabletPC
The P1630 arrives later today or tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to setting it up. In the meantime, I can’t recommend checking out Fujitsu’s eBay store strongly enough. If you are willing to go refurb you can get a lot of computer for your dollar.