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Samsung Q1 Ultra - Ultra-Mobile PC review

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Our Score:

8

It’s always encouraging when a company takes comments and criticisms onboard in an effort to improve the next generation of products. I say it’s encouraging, because more often than not, this doesn’t happen. Most of the time big companies are so sure that they’ve got it right, that they don’t care about reviews or even user feedback. I’m therefore very pleased to see that Samsung has learned a lot since it released its Q1 ultra-mobile PC just over a year ago. In fact, the second generation Q1 Ultra, looks very much like the product that most reviewers would have liked to have seen first time round.

First up, let me say that I’m still not entirely convinced that there is any need for the Ultra-Mobile PC platform. With ultra-portable notebooks like Sony’s TZ11MN, Asus’ U1F and Samsung’s own Q40 already offering very lightweight computing on the move, I can’t help but wonder who would choose a UMPC over a conventional ultra-portable machine. But it’s clear that my personal views aren’t inline with the technology industry, with the likes of Samsung, Sony, Asus, Intel and niche concerns like OQO firmly behind the handheld computer model.

The original Q1 looked great – Samsung definitely got the design part right. Unfortunately the great design didn’t extend to usability, and the lack of built-in keyboard definitely counted against the Q1. That said, a built-in keyboard is only worthwhile if it’s usable, as the Sony UX1 proved – the slide-out keyboard on the UX1 was just too tiny to use.

Samsung has gone for a very unusual design for the keyboard in the Q1 Ultra, dismissing the slide-out design seen in the Sony UX1 and OQO Model 1. Instead the Q1 Ultra splits the QWERTY keyboard in half and positions it either side of the screen. The key to this positioning is that you can stab at the keys with your thumbs while you’re holding the Q1 Ultra. Although the keys are very small, I found myself getting used to them reasonably quickly – I’m not saying that I’d like to bash out an entire feature on the Q1 Ultra, but the keyboard is certainly adequate for emails and note taking.

One thing that I did find was that the keys were a little high. This meant that I couldn’t rest the Q1 Ultra on the heels of my hands while typing if I wanted to reach the upper row. If I had larger hands this wouldn’t be a problem, but then my thumbs would probably be too big to accurately hit the keys. This isn’t a major issue though, and it’s not uncomfortable to grip the device from the sides.

AndyME

June 12, 2008, 12:13 am

This is an excellent review (although one pic does not show the rear cam as one could assume, but the hole for the lanyard...;-))


Why did i get the Q1U? Because I wanted a good compromise between screen quality and portability in a windows device. What for? believe it or not: to be able to run a 3D CAD program (namely DesignCAD). Not realy in order to do the main drawings there, but in order to have them available, be able to look at them when on the go and eventually even create a small item in order to evaluate it. I really was not sure if this would work when i got it...but at $750 for the qiuv i took the risk. I did an upgrade to 2GB and i must say: I AM AMAZED. not only does the design program work perfectly fine (of course not as smooth as on my desktop, but it really does work, including rendering shaded objects and moving them around). Now, with this design program (and many other programs too) it is helpful to have keys available in order to enter commands. the keys around the screen are doing a great job here. And the fact that you have a tablet pc in a slate shape and still access to hardware keys is really extremely convenient and you find yourself sitting in a coffee shop surfing the web with a little something in your hand. This device really has been designed with the end user in mind. It definitely changes the way one uses a pc when on the go. I do agree that for longer texts i would use an external keyboard, but being used to the thumb keyboards from my pocket pcs i learned typing blindly on the keyboard rather fast and i use it for chatting and emailing on a daily basis. the qiuv has become my daily companion and i simply love it.

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