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Packard Bell EasyNote Butterfly Touch - Tablet & Touch Functionality

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

So far we've looked at the Butterfly Touch like any other laptop. But what are the advantages of its swivel screen and touch capabilities?

First of all, there are potential ergonomic benefits to a swivel screen. Just to give one common example: when watching a film on a plane, usually the clearance above the tables is not adequate to allow you to tilt your screen far enough back for optimum viewing. With a tablet laptop, however, you can just turn the base of the laptop around (positioning it backwards) and rotate the screen 180 degrees to form a 'V'. Like the iPad, it's also a good form factor for showing friends and colleagues snapshots, while an in-built sensor ensures you can view documents and web pages in portrait mode should you wish.

More importantly, unlike the Acer T230H multi-touch monitor and Acer Aspire 5738PG touchscreen laptop, the Butterfly Touch's tablet form factor actually makes good use of the touch capabilities. On a tablet laptop (i.e. a flat surface), playing touch-based games and even typing using Windows 7's on-screen keyboard is a pleasure rather than a chore.

This is all the more true thanks to the use of capacitive touch screen technology. It might not allow for stylus use, like with the MSI Wind Top AE2220 or EeeTop ET2203T, but its sensitivity and accuracy means you don't need one. Even with a finger it's easy to navigate Windows' various menus and handwriting recognition works just fine, though it's hardly necessary given the on-screen keyboard is so effective on this multi-touch display. Drawing with a finger in the pre-installed Photoshop Elements 8 is also a lot of fun.

Our only caveat is that the touch experience doesn't quite match up to the likes of the iPad and its effortless glass-fronted screen, but the PB's display is nonetheless pleasant to touch, offering a generally smooth surface. Of course its glossy finish does mean fingerprints become a problem, but that's a failing of most touch devices.

Like the Acer Aspire 5738PG, the Butterfly Touch also offers a TouchPortal interface - presented as a kind of virtual living room. However it's very childish and poorly presented (something we didn't emphasise adequately in our Aspire 5738PG review, where the laptop's awkward form factor made it more of a necessity), and requires a major redesign before we would consider it worthy of attention or hard drive space on a tablet. Luckily it's entirely superfluous on a device such as this, which works just fine without any half-baked touch interface to complicate matters.

dandare71

May 18, 2010, 5:15 pm

This is almost identical to the Acer 1825PT / 1825PTZ (unsurprisingly, since Acer own Packard Bell), and very similar to the Asus T101MT.





From what I can tell, the Asus is the most underpowered and the cheapest; the Acers are about £100 more than the Packard Bell but higher 'specced. Which would you recommend?

mjaffk

May 18, 2010, 5:31 pm

Um, what does 800Mhz mean in that table?..

sockatume

May 18, 2010, 6:35 pm

It's the front side bus (FSB) frequency. It's a technical detail that's not worth worrying about.

Malderon

May 18, 2010, 6:37 pm

This looks great, I bought a TX2 about a year ago and its a similar sort of thing, but this has the advantage of being cheaper, running cooler and having longer battery life. I have been very happy with the TX2 so I would say this is a winner.





The tablet function doesnt offer that much in real usability, but with a convertable you dont lose anything either. And you can play Crayon World Deluxe which is awesome, and I used it for drawing Economic diagrams in one note while in lectures as well which was the main reason for buying it.

TechVegan

May 18, 2010, 6:52 pm

@dandare71:


The Asus T101MT is a netbook, not a laptop at all. Thus it's a very different beast from the Butterfly Touch reviewed here. It has a weak Atom CPU, half the RAM, a less powerful battery, lower screen resolution, etc.





As to the Acers, if you're not planning to run anything that will severely tax the PB's Celeron there's no reason to pay £100 more, especially since you then miss out on the included copy of Adobe Elements 8 too.





@mjaffk:


Sorry, that's the FSB. Core CPU speed is 1.2GHz.

Andy0d2

May 18, 2010, 8:21 pm

This is in a different league to the T101MT. Very nearly went for this but stumped up for the HP tm2. Got a SU4100 dual core CULV with ati 4550 dedicated graphics (512MB), wacom touch screen/ pen and a bundled external drive with the same keyboard ( and sadly touchpad) as the envy 13. I feel like a stolen it at £700 considering I can modern warefare two on it. It's quite interesting playing that with a pen! I recommend anyone in the market checks one out as an alternative. The touchsmart software isn't bad either.

hankb6d

May 18, 2010, 8:47 pm

Apologies if this a dummies question but with these tablets can the screen orientation change?


I never played with these things or dabbled in windows on a tablet. It looks tempting if the screen can accomodate scrolling documents like web pages to compensate its size.

Andy0d2

May 19, 2010, 12:03 am

Yes to both of your questions hank

Vivid

May 19, 2010, 1:58 am

@Andy. I took delivery of my TM2 last week and I think it's a fantastic machine. I had been planning on buying a Lenovo X201T but the HP is £800 cheaper and has a better graphics card.





It takes a little bit of frigging about to get the digitiser to be pressure sensitive and still get the multi-touch to work but once you do you've got a great laptop, a digital sketchbook and an occasional gaming machine. Once again I'm going to big up Sketch Book Pro as an excellent drawing tool, especially for a tablet.

Nicholas Pires

May 20, 2010, 3:02 pm

I bought the Acer 1825PTZ in Singapore last week and brought it back with me. Excellent device it has to be said. Got it bundled with an external slimline dvd-rw and wireless mouse which is handy. My question is though seeing at the screen is capacitive and not resistive like the older 1820PTZ is there a special stylus that can be used with this if I intend on using Photoshop or SketchBook Pro??

Vivid

May 20, 2010, 5:41 pm

@Nicholas - It looks like the Acer doesn't use a digitiser at all, is this correct? If so you'd have to use a conductive stylus like this ( http://tenonedesign.com/stylus... ) or you could make one with a little bit of conductive foam and some wire. These won't be pressure sensitive but at least they'll be more precise than using a finger.

TechVegan

May 20, 2010, 7:12 pm

@Nicholas:


As Vivid said, styli made for use with capacitive screens are available.





@Vivid:


That's correct, unlike the HP TM2 there's no digitizer in these models (i.e. no pressure sensitivity). It's the only reason I haven't already bought one, but of course this is only a consideration for digital artists/designers.

Nicholas Pires

May 20, 2010, 8:11 pm

I had the option of getting the TM2 when I was in Singapore the guy was trying to flog them to me with an extra battery but the price difference I didn't think it was worth it. I am an artist/designer had I known about the lack of a digitizer I might have reconsidered but I did manage to haggle the price down more then buy an extra 2gb stick of ddr3 ram to bring it up to 4gb. Even with that it still came to under the £599 they are asking for the 1825PTZ in the UK. I came across the Pogo and Dagi stylus (which is supposed to be better) but was hoping there'd be something which maybe sensed the pressure in the pen but for capacitive screens maybe that's asking for too much! Quick look for the 1820PTZ that's got a resistive screen :S

Vivid

May 20, 2010, 8:14 pm

@Ardjuna


Go on, buy a TM2; you know that you want to. Though the rumoured i3/i5 version might be worth waiting for.

TechVegan

May 20, 2010, 9:11 pm

@Nicholas Pires:


You could always try selling the souped-up Acer to buy a TM2... UK specs have gone up considerably recently.





@Vivid:


I DO want to.


And that IS what I'm waiting for :)


- well, that and a miraculous source of adequate money :P

Nicholas Pires

May 20, 2010, 11:50 pm

I think I'll keep my Acer! I did have this little dilemma when I was looking at the TM2 but when I compared it to the Acer or this Packard Bell it doesn't look as nice (IMO) it is a lot bigger and heavier 1.75kg vs 2.2kg + extra battery weight and the fact you'd need 2 batteries to get the same endurance as what the Acer has with it's normal 6 cell put me off.





I guess I can live without the pressure sensitivity if I can get a decent stylus for the tablet as in photoshop most of the time you'd be adjusting the size of your brush and drawing rather than worrying about how hard your pressing.





The Acer/PB even seems to have a better res screen (1366x768 vs 1280x800). On another point though does the Acer/PB take standard 2.5" laptop hard drives as when I opened mine up to put the extra ram in I noticed the hdd but I swear it looked smaller than a 2.5" drive. I couldn't find any extra info online to say what kind of drive it takes. The next best bet machine is probably to hope Acer make Core i3, i5 variants of the 1825. If they did though it'd most likely be in the TimelineX range and that'd bump up the price and make it similar cost to the TM2.





So for what it is the I think the Acer/PB is a pretty good balance for performance to the weight etc when you look at other convertibles in this area.

Andy0d2

May 21, 2010, 2:48 am

For those in the UK we have what has to be the best value model of the tm2 the 1010ea. It even comes with a matching DVD drive (with lightscribe) and a very nice sleeve.

Jag

May 22, 2010, 12:21 am

Any ideas where I can buy one of these in the UK? Google keeps coming up empty... :(

TechVegan

May 24, 2010, 1:38 pm

@Andy:


What are you comparing it against? As far as I'm aware the US offers a better spec for a lower price, and the DVD drive and sleeve are also included.





@Jag:


Try the supplier listed above, Comet.

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