An inspiring Inspiron Duo to ink... really
I got last year a Dell Inspiron Duo to teach classes as a quick -an cheap- replacement of an older Tablet PC I had that started to fail in the video chip, very badly.
I really though this will be another convertible Tablet PC like the XT or XT2.
Well I found myself betrayed.
The surprise: it was decided by somebody that does not know the need and versatility of Tablets PC in which you can actually write and ink on, that the screen will be CAPACITIVE!
Hello!, this is not an iPxx, will never be! It's supposed to be a Windows Tablet PC!
Big mistake Dell, BIG MISTAKE!
First: all menus and buttons in Windows are alreade small, font size. And with a small form factor this becomes even worse. So, how in the heavens will you be able to active those tiny buttons with your finger?! Even if they are kids' fingers.
You have to press between three to six times before you have a hit, and will probably be another button or widget that you activate.
Second: as I mentioned, the screen was capacitive. I should have an N-trig or Wacom hybrid multitouch screen!
Being capacitive you cannot make effective use of Windows, no matter what.
So I had to go and explore around to see if a capacitive stylus will help. NONE did.
There were only two options:
1. DAGi stylus. It turned out to be a big FIASCO! It used a spring, but the spring first broke. You could screw it out, which I did and replaced with a replacement tip, which ended being another FIASCO! This time the disk got loose from the spring wire tip. No hard plastic glue or epoxy will be able to put it back. So, if somebody tells you about DAGi, just say NO.
2. Jot Pro from Adonit. This turned out to be a pleasure of capacitive stylus. Wonderful. Better construction than DAGi's. If the disk comes out, just take it and pressure a little bit against the bearing ball, and snap! That's it. It had a cover, and the barrel has a magnet, which allows to put the Jot Pro on top of the Duo and never falls out your desk. It is more expensive than the DAGi but worth it. It is a masterpiece of minimalistic stylus. And it works.
However even with the Jot Pro, the results of inking were still not to the specs of inking on a Tablet PC. It works for big character but not with small, for example the combination Duo-JotPro does not still works well with equation writing or detailed lettering.
Here are two pictures of my Duo with the JotPro.
Fig. 1. My Dell Inspiron Duo with the Adonit JotPro stylus. The Duo is running LessonPad, a free whiteboard for teaching.
Fig.2 One has to write big to make the JotPro to work on the Duo. And lettering is not fancy.
The programs LessonPad and Sankore turned out to be among the best of freely available whiteboards for Tablet PC. The other I used, Classroom Presenter, was a lot worse with this combination: Duo plus the best capacitive styles.
Solution and suggestion for Dell:
Replace the Duo's screen with a hybrid touchscreen (N-trig or Wacom) and supply it with a digitizer pen. And keep the screen with a glassy surface, do not use a non-glare type or you will get scratches all over (read my comments on the Dell Latitude XT3).
You do that and you end up having a winning product. The swivel screen was a wonderful innovation. But make it with a Capacitive screen (following the iPxx hoopla) was a BIG mistake.
If you do that, call us and tell us my Duo's screen will be replaced by a pilot screen or I will get one for free and I will take it to my classroom for a hard road test. A test like this is worth much more than the $600-800 the new Duo may cost!
We are waiting Dell...