Press-Republican

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May 4, 2014

Gifts for Digital Age

Mom is busy.

She’s working and making and doing and raising you, among other things.

In return, it’s probably time for her to upgrade her aging PC or laptop.

Hint, hint.

To that end, I’ve found and tested three products with all the latest touch-screen creature comforts: one tablet, one laptop and one all-in-one, which is a computer where the crucial components (CPU, optical drive, hard disk drive, RAM) are all built in to the housing of the display.

ASUS VIVOTAB NOTE 8 ($299; WINDOWS 8)

Your mom is probably like a lot of busy moms who use their smartphones for nearly everything to do with staying connected. But occasionally a little more screen size would do nicely. The Asus VivoTab Note 8 is a solid pick for a tablet.

The Note 8 has an eight-inch display, measured diagonally, and can quickly go from easy, breezy light-use mode to professional environment workhorse.

Popular social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter are just a touch away. But when it’s time to get productive, that’s where having a full version of the Windows 8 system comes in handy. Strong, office-ready apps, such as Microsoft Office, deliver the utility mom is accustomed to, in a way iPads and Android tablets can’t.

The Wacom stylus pen is an attractive bonus. It tucks away in a hole near the base when not in use. But you’ll use it on some Windows applications that have less than finger-friendly menus, or to doodle some notes in the margins of documents.

I tested it out with various drawing apps, like Pen Sketch. Its sensitivity and ability to vary the weight and thickness of the strokes was really impressive.

When I took some notes at a city hall meeting using Microsoft’s OneNote, it looked exactly like smooth pen on paper. There were no jagged, pixelated edges on my lines, and the stroke weight of my jotted notes matched the various pressure I applied while scribbling.

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