Tablet PC... again

<p>I realize there have been several threads about this already, but none of them really seem to answer my question:</p>

<p>What, in the "introductory Engineering courses", do you "need" a tablet for? What are the actual tasks you'll be doing, and can you really not perform them with a laptop?</p>

If it's something important, should I be considering a tablet, even at colleges that don't require them?

<p>Not in engineering, but everyone I know says no. Spend a few bucks buying an external tablet for your regular laptop so that you can complete the assignments for said intro classes -- for which you WILL need to submit your homework online, drawn on a tablet. But upperclassmen bemoan spending the money when they only used it for a year and could've easily and cheaply bought an external tablet.</p>

<p>you'll need to sign a few documents and draw some sketches that you submit. Buy a cheap laptop and cheap usb tablet and you're good to go.</p>

<p>With the money you save, buy two external monitors, a full sized keyboard and mouse, and either a docking station for your laptop or build an inexpensive desktop computer. Use dropbox and onenote to sync your files and notes and poof you're 10x more productive and spent 50% less money than people with true tablet pcs.</p>

<p>Hokagesama has the right idea. I wish I had went that route. Now I'm stuck with this crappy Fujitsu that I can't even take to class because the battery won't last more than 30 minutes. You can buy a laptop better than the one I have (Fujitsu Lifebook T900) for around $700-800. The external tablet might cost you $80 at the most. With the $1600 you save not buying the crappy tablet, do what hokagesama said.... Buy at least one external monitor and mouse/keyboard set. You aren't going to want to stare at your laptop screen and use a touch pad mouse when you are back in your dorm. </p>

<p>You will prob. still save around $800-900 going this route, so you could actually get a better computer if you wanted. In my own personal opinion, Mac computers are the best. You could get one of the 11 or 13 inch Macbook Air computers for around $1,000 and then plug into a 22-27" external monitor back in your dorm. Would be a good system especially with the portability of the Air. </p>

<p>Just something to think about.</p>

<p>Does the engineering software package you get from the university support Macs, or only PCs?</p>

<p>GET A LENOVO...I have one and its pretty awesome, 12.5 inch screen and only about $300 more than the non-tablet version. It has a blazing fast i7 processor, a solid build and 3.5 - 4 hours of battery life. I use it all the time and am very happy with it. But anyway I don't get why people complain so much spending a little more money for a good computer, when that cost is just a fraction of tuition and all the other costs of college...and like many people have said if you don't want a tablet just get an external tablet its not really a big deal.</p>

<p>VT has software for pc and mac</p>

<p>-for general software you get: a security suit and MS office
-for engineering software you get: Inventor, LabVIEW, matlab etc. (Engineering</a> Bundle for Freshmen | IT Acquisitions | Virginia Tech)</p>

<p>I can't speak for the second-semester engineering classes, but in ENGE 1024, the tablet is only needed for drawing diagrams. For some assignments, you have to draw "free-hand" sketches, i.e. you're not allowed to use drawing tools like the straight line, which is stupid. Otherwise, the tablet function is not used that much. Some students like the tablet for taking notes, but pencil and paper is good enough.</p>

<p>Do not buy a Fujitsu, they're ridiculously overpriced and has some serious issues. Lenovos are decent, but still expensive, and I'm not a fan of its touchpad. Get a cheap-ish laptop (or a Mac, with a Windows dual-boot on it so you can use the engineering software) along with the Bamboo USB tablet, which is what I did. You will save 500+ dollars for a much more reliable laptop. The only problem is that if for some reason you have an issue with your laptop, you cannot send it to SWAT for repairs, but this hasn't happened with me yet.</p>

<p>Okay, thanks everyone. Note to Self: --NO TABLETS--</p>

<p>Also, the website specifies 250GB Hard Drive (320 for Eng Majors), in addition to a 1TB external hard drive. How much space do you actually need? I'm considering the MB Air, but the entry-level model only has 64GB SSD. How much space will I need for school-related software + files, of anyone has any experience?</p>

<p>Hard to say how much storage you need. The school wants you to buy their hard drive, which is silly. You should be backing your important data up digitally (via Dropbox and a small external) and physical media (DVD/CD/BD) if you're worried about it.</p>

<p>If you play games, you'll need more storage. But if you're considering a mac of any form, it looks like you're not a gamer so you're probably good. </p>

<p>Installing the required software could take 10+GB, OSX probably takes a few GB, and if you're dual booting Windows, there's 5+GB right there not including the rest of the Windows software.</p>

<p>Don't get a tablet. Worst decision ever, they are so stupid and overpriced. Get the tablet usb and a mac, and download windows os on your mac and you're set.</p>