This guest article was submitted by Robert A. Anson.
My dream is to be able to pull a computer out of a small case, have it usable very quickly, easily access one of my databases (a Word, Excel, or PDF file), find what I want to know, and be able to easily read the text on the screen.
Here are a few scenarios in which such a device would be useful:
- I'm referred to a new doctor for my high blood pressure (because I can’t find the right mobile computing device). He asks me what drugs I'm taking, how often, and their doses. My drugs and dosages have been changed so many times that I don’t know the answer. I pull out my dream mobile computing device, go to the folder that stores the “My Current Drugs” Excel file, and tell the doctor the information he wants. Had I not had my mobile computing device with me, I might have given some incorrect answers.
- I'm in the supermarket doing my weekly food shopping. I think, wouldn’t it be nice if I made “Bob’s Super, Fantastic, Out of This World, To Die For Potato Salad” this week? The saliva is already dripping down the front of my shirt and shoppers are staring at me, thinking I have rabies. But what are the ingredients? I pull out my dream mobile computing device (while standing in the middle of Aisle 7), go to my recipe, and there is the information I need. Had I not had my mobile computing device with me, I might have bought the wrong potatoes or failed to purchase one of the ingredients.
- I’m at Fat Luigi’s Italian Restaurant and can’t remember which dishes I had there that I liked and which ones I didn’t like. I pull out my dream mobile computing device and hold it in my hands because there is no room on the small table. I go to my “Restaurants and Favorite Foods” Word document and look up Fat Luigi’s. I find that this restaurant makes fantastic lasagna, but their meat ravioli tastes like dog food; so lasagna it is. Had I not had my mobile computing device with me, I would have ordered the meat ravioli because there was a great-looking picture of it on the menu.
- I'm in the middle of Aisle 42 (of 106) in the Mother of All Supermarkets, whose motto is “If we don’t have it, it doesn’t exist.” After I first started shopping there, I went through all the aisles with a recorder and dictated a list of items I would be purchasing, their aisle number, and their position. I pull out my dream mobile computing device and go to the “How to Find Stuff at the Big House” database. I do a search for “aluminum foil” (which I buy too infrequently to remember its location) and voila, “Aisle 87, front of store.” If I didn’t have my mobile computing device with me, it might have taken hours to find the box of aluminum foil.
- I need a special part for my bicycle that allows the handlebars to be raised. It is made by a guy named Jim in his garage, and he lives in the middle of nowhere. Jim gives me his address and directions and tells me to call him if I get lost; I do, but don’t need to call him. I connect my dream mobile computing device to the windshield suction mount, plug in the cigarette lighter adapter, and use the built-in GPS. I soon arrive at my destination. If I didn’t have my mobile computing device with me, I would have driven for hours trying to find Jim’s Bike Parts and Computer Repair Service.
A mobile computing device can be very helpful to me if it meets the following requirements:
- It's small and light.
- It doesn't require me, while standing, to make awkward movements to open the device, possibly causing me to drop it on the floor.
- It can be used from standby mode without much waiting.
- It allows easy selection of folders and files, preferably with my fingertip or fingernail.
- It allows easy entry of a search word when necessary. The on-screen keyboard should be easily accessible.
- It allows me to comfortably read text because the pixel size and resolution are adequate for my visual requirements.
- It has a long battery life in standby mode so the battery isn’t dead when I need to use it.
- It has an SSD so it can be bumped (by my shopping cart?) without damage to the drive or loss of data.
- It uses a Windows operating system so it is compatible with the operating system, programs, and data files on my desktop computer.
- It fits into my favorite carrying case (more on this below).
Why the Viliv X70 EX?
Form factor. Because the Viliv X70 is a tablet, awkward/unnatural movements aren’t necessary to open or use the device while standing. The slate form factor makes it easier and safer to remove, use, and return to its case.
Pixel size and resolution. I want/need about 170 pixels per inch (a pixel size of 0.150 mm) and a resolution of 1024 x 600 so I can easily see text and activate buttons on the touchscreen with my fingertip or fingernail. The use of a pointing stick or stylus would also accomplish this, but neither is as efficient (I also wouldn't be able to misplace my index finger as easily as I could lose track of a stylus). The pixel size and button size requirements eliminate all devices with a screen smaller than seven inches. Those who are visually challenged or have chubby fingertips may need to go to a 9-inch screen with the same 1024 x 600 resolution.
No hardware keyboard. My mobile computing device is not for typing a thesis, a book report, a one-page letter, or even a short email; it is for looking up information. In some cases, I will tap on a folder, then a sub-folder, and then another sub-folder until I get to the file I'm after. In other cases, I will need to do a global search because I have no clue where the information is. And then there will be times when I have to use Word’s “Find and Replace” window to locate my data within a document.
I do need some way to input a small amount of text, but a hardware keyboard would be overkill for the very few characters I occasionally have to type. The Viliv X70 has an on-screen keyboard that can be accessed quickly by pressing a button on the front of the device. For my very limited typing needs, this is satisfactory and allows me to forgo the weight and volume of a hardware keyboard.
Standby battery life. The X70 can remain in standby mode for an astonishing 150 hours, which means it won’t need to be charged as often and won't be dead when I want to use it.
Physical size. My mobile computing device can’t be bigger than a Viliv X70 EX because that’s the largest device I personally choose to carry.
My device must also be able to fit into my “flying dutchman” black leather case (shown above), which measures 190 x 240 x 80 mm and fits my needs so perfectly that finding/using another case is simply not an option for me.
It has four compartments (three with zippers ), a shoulder strap, and receptacles on one side for two items. None of the compartments have pockets for credit cards, business cards, keys, cell phones, or pens . . . just open space. The case is vertical so it doesn't stick out much and is less likely to hit doorways, people in elevators, or the rough concrete column I must pass to get to my garaged car. The zippered compartments are great because they protect the contents from falling out (when I take the case off my shoulder and lay it down) and from rain or snow. The lack of a large flap (like on a messenger bag) saves me from having to hold the flap up with one hand while grabbing an item with the other.
I put my wallet in the small zippered compartment in the front. This is a handy location, and the zipper prevents pick-pockets from reaching in and ever-so-gently removing it while I’m waiting to cross a street or standing in a crowded elevator. The other compartment in the front has no zipper and is great for mail or a list of things to do that may need to be removed and replaced many times. The first zippered compartment, on the top of the case, is surrounded by the three other compartments, so this is the ideal place to store my Viliv X70 EX, protecting it from “bad things” that want to bump into and break it. The second zippered compartment, at the top, is great for holding many small items: my house keys, a pill container, a hook for hanging up the case, a coin purse, and a small bottle of water. My iPhone goes in my left pants pocket and my car key and facial tissues go in my right pants pocket. Am I ready to take on the world or what?
Favorable reviews. There are several 7-inch tablets to choose from today, but based on my personal requirements and the favorable reviews from jkOnTheRun, UMPCPortal, and jkkmobile, the Viliv X70 EX looks like the clear winner for me.
Nothing is Perfect for Everyone
There is a perfect mobile computing device (or best choice at the time) for Jenn, a perfect mobile computing device (or best choice at the time) for me, and a perfect mobile computing device (or best choice at the time) for you . . . but there is no such thing as the perfect mobile computing device everyone.
The choice is based on many factors, some of which include how much you're willing to spend (is it worth the price?), how much you have to spend, availability (many computers are not available in the United States), and your unique requirements.
I chose the Viliv X70 EX. I will receive it very soon and am hopeful that I made the right selection.
Because Bob Anson has been searching for the perfect mobile computing device for too many years now, his savings account has only $14.67 in it. Although he has to sleep in the park at night and spend his days at the public library (where he gets free shelter, heat, light, water, electricity, Wi-Fi, and toilet paper that can be used as facial tissue), he is content with the knowledge that he has helped advance the computer industry and contributed to a stronger world economy.