Gigabyte preps multiple convertible tablets for US market


— 11:05 AM on October 22, 2010

While in Taipei, Taiwan earlier this week, I dropped by Gigabyte's offices and had a chance to play with a couple of convertible tablets that are destined to arrive in the US in the next couple of months. The T1005M is slated to become available by the end of this month and looks to be a worthy successor to the M192 tablet we reviewed a couple of years ago. Like its predecessor, the T1005M has a 10" touchscreen that rotates and folds back on itself to transform the system between netbook and tablet modes. The touchscreen is a capacitive design this time around, and its 1366x768 resolution offers substantially more pixels than is common for a netbook display.

With a dual-core Atom N550 CPU, Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, plus USB 3.0 and hybrid eSATA/USB ports, the T1005M is quite a bit more loaded than the average netbook. You get 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a built-in antenna for an optional 3G card, too. The only thing that's missing is auxiliary silicon to handle video decoding; it looks like you're stuck with the Atom's integrated graphics. At 3.3lbs with the six-cell battery, the T1005M is also a little heavier than typical netbooks, although it's certainly far from typical.

If you crave a little more power, Gigabyte is also prepping a series of 11.6" convertibles that will be available with a selection of Core 2010 CPUs, including the Pentium U5400, Core i3-380UM, and i5-470UM. The latter two will also come with an Optimus-enabled GeForce 310M. Like the T1005M, the T1125 family offers capacitive touchscreens with 1366x768 display resolutions, plus all kinds of connectivity options. These 11.6" models also come with a nifty docking station fit for desktop duty.

Members of the T1125 series are a bit heavier than the T1005, but they include a four-speaker audio system that sounds surprisingly good for a notebook. The docking station is equipped with a optical drive and HDMI port, giving the T1125 incredible versatility for folks who want one system that can do a little bit of everything.

We're told that the T1005 will arrive stateside as early as the end of this month and should cost in the neighborhood of $600-650. Pricing hasn't been confirmed for the T1125, which isn't expected until the end of November or early December. Gigabyte says that both will be available through Amazon, PCMicroStore.com, and "a variety of other retailers across the country." I certainly hope that's the case, because these convertibles have intriguing potential for folks who want tablet and notebook functionality in a single device.

   
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