Exclusive: Hands-On with Dell’s XT Tablet Now with Multi-Touch

We knew Dell was planning on updating its first-ever tablet—the Dell XT—with multi-touch capabilities from N-Trig, and now the wait is over. Though many were under the impression that we would have to wait until Windows 7 for multi-touch on a laptop, N-Trig and Dell today released the multi-touch firmware update for the Vista running XT. Over the last few weeks, I have been trying out the new multi-touch capabilities and can confidently say that it sure beats the multi-touch trackpads of the Eee PCs and the MacBook Air. Check out the updated full review of the Dell XT for our impressions of the multi-touch capabilities. To see it in action, check out our video below. [flv:/flvs/DellXTMultitouch.flv 480 360] So what does the multi-touch allow you to do on a laptop? It does the following pretty well: Zoom and Pan Images: Zooming in on pictures in Windows Photo Gallery is one of the best ways to check out your digital shots. Just like on an iPhone, all you have to do is pinch the screen or spread two fingers apart to zoom in. You then can pan with one finger around the image. Explore Google Earth: By far the coolest multi-touch application is Google Earth. You can zoom into and pan across your favorite locations, but even better, you can change the points of view. Browser Zoom and Navigation: Those used to manipulating the browser on the iPhone will like using their fingers to control their laptop’s browser. Zooming in on pictures in Internet Explorer 8 works, but the screen takes a few seconds to readjust. What do I wish it would do? A lot more. I stumbled on a post from the guys at Gottabemobile.com, where they make a wish list of what multi-touch on a laptop could do—chock-full of stuff I would love to see the XT eventually do. For instance, the ability to scroll through iTunes’ Cover Flow using touch, or controlling a player in a game. I am impressed with the first version of multi-touch on a laptop, I just can’t wait to see more applications that support it.

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  1. Sascha Says:

    I love the browser demonstration :p

    well, it’s a pretty cool device and multitouch is the future anyways

    good job Joanna!

  2. tommy Says:

    Would be really cool if they do away with the keyboard all together
    then it can be a small compact tablet

    something Apple Air should have been

  3. dan Says:

    Wow. Multitouch works horribly on this machine. The poor performance/usability seems to be mostly due to the crappy ui/gestures implementation in vista. You seem to support it at all costs, making excuses for it even when it simply doesn’t work. Look past the initial neato factor to see that this a mostly useless technology in it’s current form.

  4. marcelo Says:

    how could a mobile device be faster on zoom rendering in images and web pages than a notebook.. i`m sure this is only the first one of so many.. but still, dell laptops are fast.. and i saw that the problem is not the touch recognition, is the zoom feature O.o thanks =)

  5. DL Says:

    Great review! I use the XT for work (net engineer) and it is awesome. This is only one more step into future technology. Thanks for your work Joanna. DL

  6. jake Says:

    the resolution is what? and are you sure it is firmware? come on. get the terminology straight. you sound really stupid.

  7. Sam Says:

    I have an IBM X41 tablet and use gestures a lot with the strokeIt application. It works like a charm and I can definitely do the same things demonstrated on the XT using my stylus.

    I have to admit that using the fingers instead is a HUGE PLUS and will find out soon when I get my XT tablet :)

    I would also like to confirm that the issue with zooming on the browser is related to the browser itself as it translates the finger movements to a CTRL+ or CTRL- on the keyboard(similar to stylus using strokeit). An update of IE7 or IE8 should address this.

  8. Ian Page-Echols Says:

    Looks like it needs some work. It does seem like it might be mostly a software redraw problem. Does the same computer lag this badly when using a mouse? I would hope not, so maybe they just need to work on the driver more. I believe the iPhone uses a capacitive touchscreen, so the basic tech should be capable of better.

    I’m glad though that this stuff is finally reaching consumers!

  9. falcon Says:

    I have an XT loaded with XP instead of Vista and the N-trig always crashes or says it cannot load or locate. The calibration fails. What should I do? I have downloaded the drivers drom Dell and it does not seems to help.

  10. Louis Says:

    the XT is optimized for a paperless solution. Go Paperless! Sign documents right on the Dell!

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