Another disappointment is the screen. This is always a problem on Tablet PCs, where the protective layer reduces brightness and colour fidelity. As a result colours and black levels are really quite poor, as are viewing angles. There’s also a glossy finish and this combined with comparatively low brightness can cause a real problem in bright environments. This is likely to be the biggest issue users will encounter, since any kind of sunlight on the screen can make using the tx2050ea very difficult indeed.
Both the brightness and vibrancy, or lack thereof, obviously have an effect on general image quality, too. Video is watchable but lacks any real detail or subtlety, while pictures are similarly dull and uninspiring. It must be added, though, that the integrated speakers are remarkably decent for their size, though a pair headphones or speakers will always be preferable.
Indeed, despite the weaknesses of the screen, using the tx2050ea is still a positive experience. Even if you don’t use the Tablet PC functionality to its full, it’s a nice notebook to use, with a decent keyboard and a great textured touch pad that’s sunken slightly into the chassis.
In addition, it can’t be stressed enough how great being able to switch the screen around for watching video is in confined spaces. Where once you might have had to carry a Portable Media Player, the tx2050ea can fill in, adaptable enough to be used in even the most cramped Economy class compartment.
Connectivity is, for the large part, pretty solid. On the left edge you’ll find the 34mm ExpressCard slot, 5-in-1 memory card reader and DC-in, with the rest of the space taken up by the optical drive. Meanwhile, on the front, there’s a sliding on/off switch, infrared receiver, dual headphone outputs and microphone input, along with a wireless on/off switch, too.
Moving to the right edge you’ll find USB, Ethernet, docking, D-Sub and S-Video connections, with a further two USB ports on the back joined by the Modem port. If one thing is missing it’s an HDMI port and though this might appear nitpicky, any notebook with pretensions to “entertainment” ought to have one. This is clearly a limitation of the graphics solution used, but it’s a shame nonetheless.