View Full Version : Lots of touch screen options - concensus on which is best

January 4th, 2005, 09:15 AM
I've been researching the use of touch screen for just a few days, but I've learned quite a bit. There are obviously lots of choices broken down into two major categories, the tablets and the remote desktops. I am looking to purchase on in the future, but I'm on a stick budget, so I would be sticking to the 1st generation of these things to keep cost below $400. I'm just curious to hear from actual users if there is a clear leader when it comes to these items.

Here are some of the Tablets that I know people have used:
- Fujitsu 3400
- Simspad SL4 - was slow, but was suppose to be fixed in upgrade, was this done?
- Viewsonic Viewpad
- Sonicblue Progear

Of course the most popular remote desktop is the Viewsonic Airpanel.

I think I would like a full tablet to give me more flexibility (I could always use it as a RDT if needed, but hopefully would be satisfied with stand alone preformance). I am planning on using the touchscreen as a way to control a HT and music distribution. I would also like to expand and start doing more home automation, but that will take more hardware on the home side (like x10 or similar) which I don't have currently. I would also consider getting two units and having one wall mounted in the kitchen.

Generally I'm just excited about getting touch screen control at a reasonable price. Up until now, I've only seen systems like Crestron with their astronomical prices.

EDIT - please let me know if I've left off any touchscreen options. I'm not interested in PPC as they are too small. I hope this question isn't annoying or too basic. I've read most of the posts on this board and learned a lot, but they are usually specific to one unit . I didn't see a good thread that compared and contrasted the major choices that people are using.

January 4th, 2005, 09:38 AM
I have used the ProGear and it works well. NetRemote runs resonable well. You can you your finger on the screen vs. some which require you use the stylus or your nail. Can be had for sub $400 on ebay.

Tim K
January 4th, 2005, 11:40 AM
I was in the same boat as you. The Simpad and the Viewpad are nice, but don't really have any hard drive/capacity and I wanted something that could be more than a remote. That left me looking at the Progear and the Stylistic. I ended up with a Stylistic 3500. Here's my take on both....

-Fujitsu still supports Stylistics (mine is in for warranty work as we speak)
-10.4 screen on all versions, but be careful not to get the 3500R with the OUTDOOR only screen
-3400 max RAM is 192MB, 3500 max RAM is 256
-Comes with 300MHZ P3 -> 500MHZ Celeron Processor depending on model
-3400 comes with 5gig HD, the 3500 comes with 15gigs.
-Fujitsu's require aftermarket wireless cards which stick out the side, but you can use any one you want
-1 USB, 1 PC Card port, 1 serial port

-Sonicblue no longer supports Progears as they are not really in business anymore.
-Progears have 5.6 gig HD
-Progears max RAM is 128MB
-Progear runs the Transmeta Crusoe Processor
-Some Progears have built in 802.11b cards which keeps it "clean looking"
-1 USB port, 1 PC Card port, but I don't think Progears have a serial port

3400 Specs:
3500 Specs:
Progear Specs:

January 4th, 2005, 12:34 PM
I like my two Fujitsu 3400's. They are plenty fast enough for any CCF and are compact in size.


January 4th, 2005, 03:56 PM
from another post I made previously...

I have since sold my SIMpad and traded up for a Futurecom Global Neta980. I HIGHLY reccomend getting the Neta 980 over the SIMpad SL4.

The Neta can be had for about $50-$100 less
the differences...


Screen 10.4" vs 8.4"
true color (32 bit) vs 65k (16 bit)
compact flash II slot vs no CF slot
128 MB RAM, 64MB ROM vs 64 MB RAM, 32 MB ROM
can connect USB devices vs cannot, only good for active sync
seems to have better battery life then Simpad
and they both have the same weight!


It comes down to two things... your goal with the unit and how much you want to spend.

The more powerful the unit (the closer you get to a new TabletPC/Laptop) the more $ it will cost.

good luck on your decision.

January 4th, 2005, 05:12 PM
Dont forget the viewsonic is just an RDP client so will need a pc on at all times.

The simpad is instant on, how slow is the fujitsu? is it noisey? it has a disk to cool

January 4th, 2005, 06:37 PM
I have been running them with video blanking set to 120 seconds or so... so its instant on for me as I have a routine that wakes them up from Homeseer to display CID information. I have yet to hear the fan come on. I was told by others before I bought that they were really quiet.


January 4th, 2005, 06:59 PM
So you have it docked all the time? must kill the battery otherwise (3500 apparently has a much higher capacity battery).. im tempted by the 3400 for netremote speed, is it worth the extra for the 3500 i wonder.

January 4th, 2005, 07:36 PM
Well I use the Fujitsu wire stands... and just have the AC plugged in while the are sitting there... which is most of the time as I use the PPC for the couch listening most of the time.


Tim K
January 5th, 2005, 01:12 AM
3400 vs 3500:

The only real difference is the Memory and the Hard Drive. The 3500 can do 256MB Ram vs the 3400's 192MB. Not a huge difference, but more memory is "better" for performance. The 15gig HD is really nice if you plan to use the unit as more than a remote. I plan to put a bunch of MP3 files on mine as well as run a GPS unit in the car, so the bigger HD is a big plus for me. That said, I'm pretty sure you could swap in a 15gig HD into the 3400 pretty easily. I think the 3500 also has a 4MB video card so I'm going to see if it can handle DVD video. Fujitsu seems to think it can.

January 5th, 2005, 06:09 AM
and the 500mhz chip I guess.. I would love to know if you can swap out the disk.. hope it doesnt have any silly connections.

January 5th, 2005, 09:56 AM
Aaron - how is the touch screen on the Neta 980? Is it a true tourch scrren (finger use) or is it finger nail or stylus only? Is the speed decent? This may be what I end up with.

Also, it has a PCMCIA Type II slot, so I know I can add a wireless card, but I assume it will also accept a wired network card (probably use if I ever mounted in a wall). I just wanted to see if anyone has a wired card in a Neta.

Tim K
January 5th, 2005, 10:31 AM
and the 500mhz chip I guess.. I would love to know if you can swap out the disk.. hope it doesnt have any silly connections.

When I got my 3500 I pulled out the HD to have a look. It appeared to have a pretty standard looking "connection" and looked alot like the 3400 model 5GB drives I've seen on ebay. If you really want to know just email Fujitsu. They answered a few of my compatibility questions when I was looking for info on the 3400/3500 tablets.

January 5th, 2005, 09:48 PM
sic0048 - the screen is pretty nice... works with a finger just fine.

I like mine.

January 6th, 2005, 08:24 AM
Can you use your finger on the 3400 as well, or is it just a stylus/fingernail?

January 6th, 2005, 12:28 PM
Another option if you don't need to be portable is to use any old PC and get a touchscreen monitor. I dropped my 3400 and the touchscreen went dead so I picked up a used 17" ELO touchscreen monitor and it works great. Lots of real estate and the touch sensitivity is far better than any of the portable designs. It does take up space, the LCD touchscreens don't take much but do cost some $$, but it is another way to get a touchscreen based control system up cheaply. If you have an extra old PC that can be used you only need to get the touch monitor. I got my off eBay for about 100 bucks.

January 6th, 2005, 11:33 PM
This (15" LCD touchpanel) is what I do as well, connected to a mini-itx mobo I run to do some of the other automation stuff. Works very well.

When I move into a new place in June, I plan on a much better/cleaner install (everything now just mounted open on the wall).