A Thought on Convertibles

ASUS VivoTab, One of Available 'Convertible Laptops'
No doubt, technology is becoming more and more advanced as it is getting more and more fascinating as time goes. The end of 2012 was the beginning of 'hybrid laptops' era, or also known as convertibles, or anything else you want to call a laptop with detachable display. These convertibles have been around since Windows 7, but only recently, they've become available to more audience, and their price is getting more and more reasonable.

Initially, I had nothing against it... except for the fact that most affordable ones are powered by Atom processors. But after owning one (Acer Iconia W510), I changed my mind. This low-end offering from Intel is improving. It's certainly not a gaming powerhouse, but it handles Office applications pretty well. Of course, you wouldn't think of playing Crysis 3 on a sub U$700 tablet, right? Moreover, their designs seem to be kind of futuristic, regardless of the materials it is made of.

Okay, that's enough opening speech; let's get back to the title. As what I've mentioned in the previous paragraph, I recently bought an Acer Iconia W510 tablet. It's a 32GB no-dock model. The dock costs around U$130, and I don't think I'll ever need one, since I'm already planning to buy a replacement laptop this mid-year. Since it's a second-hand item, I needed to factory reset it. And that's not an easy thing, for God's sake...

Unfortunately to save some space, I'm placing a break after this paragraph. Below is quite a serious whining and complaining. So, if you don't mind, go ahead and hit the break. You've been warned :p

Thanks for hitting the break. Anyway, since I didn't buy the docking, this PC doesn't have a USB port. I had to buy a separate OTG cable (they're ridiculously cheap) and hook it up with my USB Hub. Don't bother getting the 3.0 Hub since it's still 2.0. Besides, it's only recently that MicroUSB 3.0 has begun appearing in the market. Additionally, I also needed a USB Keyboard, USB Mouse, and an external DVD writer. It's impossible to connect all of them without a hub.

After getting those accessories, it turned out that problem hasn't ended yet. I've read from Acer Support Forum that in order to boot from CD / DVD (aside from accessing UEFI), I'm going to need either a powered external DVD, or a powered Hub. Luckily, my external DVD is powered by an outlet. So I'm literally ready to do this.

Next up, I need to change a few settings in the BIOS to enable the boot menu. It isn't that hard, since Acer has a guide here. What's hard is to actually get into the boot menu itself. Bless you people who have the keyboard dock. I really had a hard time entering the boot menu, since the power indicator on the Hub is off during the boot screen. Thus, the keyboard is off, and any key press won't be recognize. Fortunately, as soon as you're in the boot menu, you can rest easy. Just boot from the DVD, follow the guide, and you're done.

Booting from the DVD is not my point, though. My point is that most affordable tablet PCs out there are still too limited. We may have entered the era where the death of optical disks is imminent, but that's in modern countries. In many developed countries, optical disks are still needed. Heck, some of my university assignments require being burned to a CD. Requesting software too will require you to pay for the DVDs. Not having one here is simply a hassle. Not only that, PCs without USB ports are the same as soup without stock. It simply just won't work in my opinion.
VAIO Duo series are one of the best convertibles, with premium look, feel, display, and of course, a premium price.
So, to summarize, if you have a plan to purchase a convertible sometime this year, I suggest you give it a very, very thorough thinking. If there's a separate dock offering, I recommend you to also get the dock, because although you think you can get away with Windows 8's awkward touch keyboard, you won't be able to get away with it if you need to access the UEFI settings. Most users don't need to access it, but there'll be a time you need to, God forbids. Besides, a dock usually means an extra battery, giving your tablet more hours to stay on. Additionally, please be aware of the USB ports. OTG cables are cheap, but they're pretty inconvenient. Don't want to leave a cable hanging when you're watching movies on the go, do you?

Oh, and one more thing. This post is dedicated to tablet PCs with x86/x64 architecture, which run ACTUAL WINDOWS OS. I've never tried Windows RT, and I don't think I ever will since RTs are basically dumbed-down version of the OS (no offense here). You can't install desktop OS, and that's a deal breaker for me. For mobile ARM tablets, I'd rather buy an iPad, which is beautiful to hold and look at. Don't forget the application, too. As for a smartphone, I'm fine between BlackBerry 10, Android, or iOS, since all of them suit my needs.

Okay, I think that's enough complaining. Thanks for reading it up until now, guys; I really appreciate it. Well, that's all, I guess. I hope you guys can learn something from this post. Finally, thanks for reading and visiting. I hope to see you guys again, and have a good day! :D


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