Another way to enter text is via handwriting recognition. If you’ve been frustrated by handwriting recognition in the past, erase those experiences from your memory. The handwriting recognition on the Q1 is not only surprisingly accurate, but it’s also very fast. The Q1 managed to consistently decipher my ridiculous scrawl and even Benny’s scratchings were translated. However, as with the virtual keyboard, I wouldn’t want to write a long document using this method.
Hereby lies one of the big problems with the Q1. The UMPC is being marketed as an alternative to a full size notebook, but when it comes to text entry it’s a far from convenient tool. In fact you’ve probably already read reviews criticising the Q1 for this very point, but I’m not going to do that. You see after meeting with Samsung last week, I walked away in the knowledge that the USB keyboard travel pack will now be bundled with the Q1 at no extra cost.
The USB keyboard takes the Q1 to a different level, making it a viable mobile workstation for someone like myself. The USB keyboard itself is first rate and I find it as easy to type on as a good notebook keyboard. There’s a trackpoint for pointer manipulation and two selector buttons just below the Spacebar. But the real beauty of the USB keyboard travel pack, is that it’s just that, a travel pack. Constructed from suede, the travel pack has clips and mounts that hold the Q1 in place and similar brackets to hold the keyboard in place. There’s a flip out stand that allows the Q1 to stand upright, giving you a sort of notebook ergonomic setup. There’s even a Velcro clasp to hold the excess USB cable and keep things tidy. When you’re not using the setup, you simply fold the whole thing up, leaving you with a bit of kit about the size and weight of an ultra-portable notebook.
But even with the excellent travel pack, there is one major problem that would stop me from considering the Q1 as an alternative to say, a Sony TX2XP – battery life. I found that I was lucky to get two hours out of the Q1 with Wi-Fi enabled and this is just not good enough for a device that you take out and about with you. I need to know that I can go out for the day and use my notebook whenever I need to, the Q1 just can’t rise to that challenge.