Ask someone about Tablet PC and they’ll either not know about it, or more likely, not entertain the idea of using a notebook to physically write notes onto the screen. It’s a concept that initially sounds unappealing but once you’re accustomed to it, it can really help you get an idea across quickly.



The Dialogue Flybook V33i 3g Lux Pro is the second incarnation of what can only be described as the most stylish tablet on the market.

It’s a small and compact device weighing in at 1.3kg, largely due to the use of a 9-inch digitised screen, which means you can carry it around without it being a burden.

Being the second version of the device, it’s a vast improvement over the original, as the chassis is stronger, the design refined and the general usability improved.

The screen can be folded round 180-degress to cover the keyboard to be written onto directly with the supplied pen. As with all Tablet PCs you’ll find a range of Microsoft handwriting tools, which allows you to write directly on the screen then convert it to text and either save it disk or even email it directly to colleagues.

The other means of navigation, naturally, is the keyboard, which is small and compact – some would say cramped - which means you end up typing with the tips of your fingers. It’s possible to type for long periods but you wouldn’t want this to be your sole computer.

However, for emails and writing short documents, it’s more than usable. Perhaps the most unique feature of the V33i is the placement of the mouse buttons. Placed above the keyboard, rather than below it, the pointing device and two sets of mouse buttons – a pair on either side of the mainboard – you’ll need to rethink the way you type and navigate the screen.

If email is a regular part of your day-to-day then you’ll like the inclusion of WAN (Wide Area Network) in the form of a HSDPA adapter. This is SIM card solution that allows you to receive and send email when out and about. It may not be fast enough to use as your sole connection but as an aid to mobile workers, it’s certainly a nice touch.

Powered by an Intel 1.1GHz Pentium M 733 ULV processor, this is an older technology than the latest Core Duo but as it runs at a fraction of the voltage, is ideal for such form factors. The result is a casing that never gets hot, which is certainly an advantage. Not that you’ll really be allowed to, as with a battery life of a little over 2 hours we found ourselves seeking out a mains socket more often than we’d like from such an ultraportable device.

Verdict

The Dialogue Flybook V33i 3g Lux Pro is certainly a vast improvement over the first version but it still has a long way to go if it’s to be the tool of choice for the busy traveller.



The battery life needs be dealt with and unless you can get accustomed to the placement of the mouse buttons, you’re in for a frustrating time.

At the asking price this isn’t a machine we can recommend.