Design Engineering

iPad vs. HP tm2 Tablet


General DPN

So I've been debating the purchase of some new technology for the industrial design work that we engage in each day at our office: 1. an iPad or 2. a tablet laptop?

Here at IDWS we create ideas for new products with sketches, mock up prototypes, freeform 3D CAD modeling with Rhino3D and realistic renderings with HyperShot HD (now upgradeable to KeyShot). Therefore I wondered if the iPad would be a useful option or would a tablet laptop work for us to communicate our ideas to our clients.

So I choose to look into the Hewlett Packard HP TouchSmart tm2 Notebook PC and Apple iPad to compare both.

Now all of this started because I have an app on my Apple iPhone called SketchBook Mobile from Autodesk, and this little tool fits nicely into some of our work in getting ideas out on the fly. So that was the guide to looking into the new Apple iPad, because the larger screen size would be beneficial to drawing more objects using the SketchBook app for some of our product designs.

The touch screen Hewlett Packard HP TouchSmart tm2 Notebook PC (left).

But when a friend of mine was showing off his new tablet computer, it suddenly clicked that the SketchBook software could also work on the 12 in. laptop tablet screen too. So now the conundrum: which hardware should we get in order to sketch on the screen, and create ideas just as freely as we do with markers, pencils and paper?


Furthermore, just as I’m looking into all this, I see this full page ad campaign in the Globe & Mail about how Adobe wants to reach across the aisle to Apple (if you have not seen it yet Google: “Adobe loves Apple”). This full page ad is in defense of Adobe’s software, to which Apple is not willing to adjust its hardware, i.e. adding more horsepower to run things like Flash web content.

If I went with an iPad, I would prefer if it offered some new options instead of being an oversized iTouch device – that still does not play Flash, load 3rd party software or have peripheral device slots like USB.

On the other hand if we purchase a TouchSmart tm2 it could do multiple tasks; as it is both a computer and a tablet. Moreover using the HP tablet means I wouldn’t have to wonder if there was ever going to be a 3D app available, as it is helpful to be able to review some of the CAD files we’re building with clients.

As a result, I think Adobe has the right point of view here, and that is if you’re going to spend money on a computer-type device you should be able to use it the way you need to use it, and not be forced into the limitations of what the hardware of the device is capable of delivering.

Taking this line of thought and putting it into action, I finally walked into Future Shop to look at the TouchSmart tm2 tablet, and was surprised with the ease-of-use because not only was it a computer but also a touch screen device! So why hadn’t I jumped on the tablet bandwagon when they first came out? Well I can’t answer that, but I’m now realizing the potential of the touch screen computer, and these tablets I’m sure will soon replace the traditional laptops I’m used to.

Just like on the iPhone or iPad, the HP tm2 can do things like writing notes “writing” not typing – as it comes with a stylus pen (or one can use their finger, however the stylus has much finer ease of use). Subsequently using any of these new features, brings a unique way to how we can or will do daily computing.

I can truly “write” an email (in my own hand writing) and then this little HP has the software to convert it into text if I want – or I can send it out with my personal touch.

The Apple iPad (right) strength is content consumption, not creation.

A further advantage the tm2 also has voice recognition to operate the computer… just like the iPhone; this computer will actually listen to me! It can open files on command, as I speak it types, and can send emails all with the onboard microphone. To add to all of this, the tm2 comes with a fingerprint scanner for added login security, a web cam, stereo speakers, USB slots and a HDMI out and a few more benefits.

Keeping in mind my needs are slightly different than the original intent of the iPad I’m sure. Add to that the tm2 lacks the many thousand apple apps I use on my iPhone; however I’m sure that just around the corner Microsoft will adopt desktop apps to compete effectively.

Nevertheless in my comparison, I was blown away by this little tablet computer. So I bought one, and when I got it unpacked I purchased Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and started to utilize the freeform drawing capabilities that were offered just as we would use in the iPhone app.

Despite the fact that you will have to pay a little bit more money than one would pay for an iPad, it definitely gets you many more wow factor tools for computing, whether in the creative side, or the technical side of business.

Just as Adobe says, we all might love Apple products, but we also like choice and openness in all platforms regardless of the hardware or software limitations at hand to get our work done. is an Industrial Design Firm serving companies looking to bring new ideas to their product development process. Contact David Duncan This is the third contribution of his monthly blog for Design Product News. More of his blogs are available at

Click here for David Duncan’s previous DPN blog


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