Input Devices Guide
The SISO Tablo, by Canadian company Hantech, is finally in our hands. It has garnered much fanfare thanks to its ability to turn almost any regular laptop into a tablet. Obviously, this opens up a range of new possibilities and tasks that you can perform with your laptop.
The SISO Tablo is really made up of just two components. One is the pen and the other, is what SISO dubs a "receiver station". The Tablo works by means of sonic waves. To setup the Tablo, all you need to do is to install the appropriate software provided on the CD and then attach the receiver station to the sides of your laptop. As you can see, setup is really easy.
When you use the pen, sonic waves are broadcast by it and reflected back towards the receiver unit - not unlike sonar technology. For those worried about scratches on your screen, fret not for the pen tip has been coated with a special tip that will not cause any scratches.
The SISO Tablo is compatible with Windows XP and Vista and supports a number of applications such as the entire Microsoft Office suite, Windows Live Messenger, Sticky Note and Paint.
By turning your notebook into a tablet with the Tablo, it increases the usefulness of the aforementioned applications. For example, with the Tablo, it can be easier to give directions over Outlook or MSN, since it's more natural to draw a map of the location rather than describe it in words.
On top of that, the Tabloboard and Ink Tool allows you to draw, highlight and scribble over your Microsoft Word documents or PowerPoint slides. This should be particularly useful during meetings and presentations
, since you can now interact with your slides rather than just merely read off them. This will be equally useful for lecturers and school teachers alike.
To add on, integration with Sticky Note makes it more convenient to take notes, while integration with Paint makes it possible for casual artists to doodle, sketch and draw freely. Clearly, the SISO Tablo adds an extra dimension to existing hardware and software.
The SISO Tablo is not without its flaws though. For one, it is limited to screens no larger than 15.4 inches, which means the typical desktop replacement laptops are likely out of the question. Also, don't expect the Tablo to turn your laptop into a dedicated tablet like a Wacom. It'll be good enough for casual users, but veteran artists should definitely stick with their Wacoms.
On the plus side, the SISO Tablo is nifty in that it transforms your laptop into something more useful with no more than a receiver station and a pen. And considering how much more value it can potentially add, we think that its asking price of S$199 is really reasonable.
Finally, although the SISO Tablo is currently supported on Windows XP and Vista, we hear that a Mac version is coming really soon. So MacBook users, hold your breath and you may soon have a Mac Tablet to call your own!