Being targeted at a narrow user audience, the category of Tablet PCs is not yet very popular among the multitude of portable computer varieties. You may want to buy such a tablet if you are not satisfied with the functionality of the standard notebook and need a means to input text by writing it, not only by typing it on the keyboard. The handwriting input is supported by means of a stylus and an appropriate screen.
All major notebook makers are offering models that can be transformed into a tablet but ASUS hadn’t explored this market niche until Computex 2006. The company had taken a time-out to give its engineers and designers enough time to learn from the competitors’ mistakes and develop a business user oriented product that would incorporate ASUS’ vast notebook-making experience.
The R1F model has an optimal size of the screen, 13.3 inches, fitting right between sub-notebooks and desknotes and blending mobility with ergonomics in a most appropriate way. Besides what every regular notebook can do, the R1F can turn its “head” around clockwise by 180 degrees and transform into a tablet PC with handwriting input and stylus-based navigation.
This transformer notebook also features a modular design and allows hot-swapping the optical drive for an additional battery, a hard disk drive, or a plug if you just want to reduce the computer’s weight.
We will first describe the notebook’s interior and exterior and then will test it in our traditional set of benchmarks. The ASUS R1F will be opposed by the Acer TravelMate 6463WLMi that has an identical CPU and a weak, even though discrete, graphics core (for details see our article called Acer TravelMate 6463WLMi Notebook: Performance and Security).