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I have to admit that I’m not convinced that the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) category of devices has any business existing. From the minute I saw prototypes of these devices start to appear, the UMPC just appeared to be a solution to a problem that didn’t really exist. Is there really a need for a device that sits between an ultra-portable notebook and a fully featured PDA? I’m not so sure. But despite my lack of faith in the UMPC, I am a real sucker for cool gadgets so I was keen to get my paws on a Samsung Q1 despite my reservations.
The first thing that struck me about the Q1 was the packaging. Samsung has really pushed the boat out to make the Q1 look good even when it’s in the box. Much like the old Apple iPod cube shaped boxes, the Q1 packaging looks sleek, stylish and expensive. But since you can’t judge a book by its cover, it’s good to know that the Q1 itself looks even better than the box that it ships in.
The general consensus around the TrustedReviews office is that the Q1 looks like a PSP on steroids. The glossy black finish, widescreen display and what looks like a PSP analogue stick on the left all conspire to create that oversized PSP effect. The overall image of the Q1 is one of a high-end consumer electronics device, rather than a PC and I guess the general idea is that it’s a bit of both. Weighing in at 779g and measuring only 227 x 140 x 27mm (WxHxD) the Q1 is large and heavy compared to a Windows Mobile device, but smaller and lighter than even the most svelte ultra-portable notebook.
Inside the Q1 is an Intel Celeron M running at 900MHz, along with 512MB of memory. The Q1 will accept up to 1GB of memory, but you’d have to dump the 512MB SODIM if you wanted to upgrade. The 40GB hard disk is hardly capacious by notebook standards, but Samsung is limited to a 1.8in model due to the size of the Q1. Wireless connectivity is well catered for with both 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth onboard, allowing you to get connected via a hotspot, or through a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone.
The first problem I encountered with the Q1 was controlling the pointer. You see with the analogue stick on the left, my first assumption was that I would use this to move the pointer, but this is not the case. You use the stylus and the touch screen for pointer manipulation, while the stick acts like the cursor keys on a keyboard. It’s a shame though, because using the stick to move the pointer just seems so natural, and in my opinion would make the Q1 an easier device to use.