Price check: Tablet PCs

Microsoft’s Origami project turned out to be little more than that: a project. The end product appeared as underwhelming as it was overhyped. A cross between a Portable Media Center and a Tablet PC, what is now known to be the ultra-mobile category looks a slim one. And with prices supposed to be sub £700, we wondered where you’d get if you pushed that a couple of hundred quid and looked at full Tablet PCs.

The cheapest we found was Toshiba’s Portege M200 at £849 including delivery from HipGeek. They are refurbished – meaning they have been returned to the company, tested, fixed where necessary and sold again complete with warranty. It boasts a 1.7Ghz Centrino set up, 60GB drive, half a gig of RAM and a 12.1in SXGA screen.

Next up is the Acer TravelMate C313EXMI. Acer itself offered the best price but it was no longer available through the company. Techfever though sell it for £857.46 inc VAT. The spec is not miles away from the Toshiba, but the warranty is better and you get a 14.1in screen. However, the chip at the centre of the Centrino package is 1.5GHz rather than 1.7GHz.

Acer, however, is still stocking its TravelMate Tablet C312XMi , which bumps the chip speed up to 1.7GHz, for £935.95 inc VAT. You even get a Vodafone 3G card free.

The first HP we found was in the form of the HP TC4200 P-M 1.86GHz, available from Digi-UK for £1082.18. However, bear in mind that this may be sacrificing too much in the name of ultra-mobile: there’s no optical drive.

Fujitsu’s Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook T4010 is available for £1,175.00 and it does have an optical CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. £1,175.00 from Microwarehouse.

Toye Computers had the first IBM – now Lenovo – Tablet PC: the ThinkPad X41 P-M for £1243.73 including delivery. It’s light at 1.65kg, but you only get a 1.5GHz chip, 256MB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive.

If it’s got to be light, then the Fujitsu Siemens Stylistic ST5021 might be for you. A tablet in its truest form, at only 1.55kg it’s a featherweight. Technoworld sells it for £1,346.05 inc VAT.

For something with a bit more bite, HP’s TC4200 features a Pentium M chip clocked at 2.0GHz. MicroWarehouse sells it for £1,523.46 inc VAT.

The same company also sells the rugged Panasonic Toughbook T2. Drop-tested and toughened to resist scratching and spills, it’s still light at 1.2kg. It’s £1,917.60 inc VAT from MicroWarehouse.

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