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Nestling between the keyboard and numeric pad is a trackpoint for pointer manipulation. This works remarkably well and the two corresponding selector buttons to the left of the keyboard also fall nicely under your thumb for easy access. All in all pointer movement reminds me of the old Toshiba Libretto – a device that the Japanese giant has recently resurrected. But you don’t have to use the trackpoint for navigation as the model 01 also has a stylus hidden in the top edge. This isn’t a dumb stylus like the ones you get with a PDA though, this is the type of stylus that you get with a tablet PC. This means that you can move the pointer around the screen without actually touching it – tapping the screen acts like a left mouse button click, while a small button on the shaft of the stylus activates a right mouse button click. There’s no doubt that OQO has though long and hard about the user experience and has tried to offer as much flexibility as possible.
To be honest though, I doubt that too many people would want to write a long document on the model 01 using the internal input devices like I’m doing right now, but it’s good to know that it is possible. Of course if you’re using the model 01 at home or in your office you can simply plug in a USB keyboard and mouse and connect it to a monitor, then it will function just like any other PC. And even when you’re on the move you can use a portable USB keyboard or even a Bluetooth device like the Virtual Laser Keyboard that I reviewed a couple of months ago.
Design wise the model 01 looks stunning, but not in the stylised mould of say a Sony or Apple product. Instead the model 01 has a very minimalist, almost industrial look about it, giving it the kind of understated style associated with IBM ThinkPads. Also, as with the ThinkPads, the model 01 has a tactile finish to it that makes it pleasant to hold, despite the fact that it can get quite warm during prolonged use.
The screen can be a little stiff when you’re sliding it up and down, but when you look at the back you can see that OQO has implemented a rack and pinion setup, adding even more weight to the industrial engineering feel of the model 01. It’s touches like this that make me love this device – I can truly believe that its construction was a labour of love for Bell and Betts-LaCroix and that design and manufacture compromises just weren’t options.