Here in Windows-land, we love us some multi-touch. That’s why today I’m taking a look at Toshiba’s M500 series touchscreen laptop, which was just delivered to my office earlier this week.
The Satellite M505 that I’m using is a 14” widescreen resistive touch laptop powered by a 2.2GHz Core2Duo processor (the newest versions come with Core i3’s) and integrated Intel graphics. It has 4GB of RAM and massive 500GB 5400rpm hard drive, and a full complement of ports – HDMI, VGA, 3 USB 2.0’s, eSATA, an ExpressCard slot, and multi-format media card reader. There’s also a very low-profile, mirror-trimmed slot-load CD/DVD drive, and a set of Harmon/Kardon designed speakers powered by Dolby Sound Room. You can get one starting at $699.
Design-wise, the Satellite M505 is thicker than many 14” laptops due to the touchscreen, but Toshiba’s done a nice job of making it look and feel slimmer than it actually is with some creative contouring and mirroring on the display and body bezels. Some users might call the M505 “heavy”, but I think a better word would be “weighty”; it definitely has some heft to it, but it’s well balanced in way that says “My weight shows I’m well made.” It’s available in red, white or black (mine is black) and decorated with Toshiba’s signature “Fusion Finish” across the lid, palm rest and trackpad – a nice touch that gives the Satellite M505 a bit of flair not usually found in this class of laptop.
Of course, the star of the Satellite M505’s show is the multi-touch screen. Aside from being bright and clear, I found the M505’s touchscreen to be very responsive. I tinkered with a few art applications like Window 7’s touch-ready Paint, and the more advanced drawing application ArtRage. Note that my degree is in Art *History*, not Fine Art, so don’t judge to harshly!
When you’re done marveling at my breathtaking creation, check out the slightly askew canvas. Since this machine is multi-touch, you can use two finger gestures to enlarge, shrink or spin the canvas. Very cool. And useful when creating masterpieces like the one above – that’s the only way to get such intricate detail.
I also had a chance to play with Toshiba’s new Media Controller software, a completely touch-based application that does a nice job of bringing an easy touch experience to core Windows 7 features like HomeGroup and PlayTo. Basically, think of Media Controller as a way to automate the process – fire it up and it will automatically scan for HomeGroup-ed PCs and any other compatible PlayTo devices like an XBOX 360 or DLNA powered TV. Select the device you want to play to, and just drag and drop files like movies, music or photos over, and you’re ready to roll. I tried this out with the HomeGroup I have running in my house and found it to work quite well. Toshiba’s posted a how-to video on their site that provides a good overview of how to get up and running.
More and more OEMs are making touchscreen PCs available. Do you want one? If so, what would your ideal use case be? Already own one? Tell us how you’re using it – or better yet, send me a video!