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Price: pound;899 (ex. VAT) RM, www.rm.com
Tel: 08709 086969 (primary); 089709 086868 (secondary)
Fitness for purpose *****
Ease of use ****
Value for money ****
Futuristic and portable, RM's new tablet PC still caries a punch, says Desmond De Araujo
The first thing you notice about the RM Discovery is its sleekness. The white tablet measures just 293 x 220 x 24mm with elegantly curved edges and it weighs a meagre 1.5kg.
The Discovery is powerful, with an Intel Celeron 900MHz processor, 256Mb of memory and a 40Gb hard drive - all of which can be upgraded. The battery is relatively longlasting (up to 4.5 hours).
The front of the machine is dedicated to the 12.1-inch digitiser screen, and all the controls have been placed sensibly on its right edge. These include the power and wireless network switches, an instant launch button for your internet browser and a button for switching between portrait and landscape screen views. There is also an SAS (Secure Attention Sequence) button which re-boots the machine, essential for computers without a keyboard.
The Discovery's connectivity ports are located at the top. There are two USB 2 ports, FireWire, microphone input, audio line-out, internal 56k modem, Ethernet network connection and Compact Flash card slot. There is only one port on the right side, which allows you to connect to an external monitor. There is wireless networking (802.11g), but no Bluetooth or infrared.
The Discovery comes with carry-case and stand, but RM offers a couple of very good additional accessories. First, there's a docking station (pound;149) that turns the Tablet into a PC, with Combo CD-RWDVD drive. A clamping plate allows the screen to rotate from landscape to portrait; as it is changed, the Discovery's display changes to match.
The RM Discovery Tablet is as powerful as its forerunner but has gone a step further in terms of looks, and the docking station turns it into a cool desktop, taking up minimal space. Its exceptional mobility should prove useful in integrating ICT in to outdoor subject areas such as PE.