But it’s not just the addition of the integrated keyboard that makes the Q1 Ultra far easier to use than its predecessor. When I first picked up the original Q1 I assumed that the joystick on the left would control the mouse pointer, but it didn’t. In fact the joystick just behaved like the cursor keys on your keyboard, while all pointer manipulation had to be carried out using the touch-screen. Samsung has obviously learned from this mistake, since the joystick on the Q1 Ultra acts just like a trackpoint, allowing you to move the pointer around. The more you push the stick, the faster the pointer moves across the screen – it’s such a simple and obvious feature that I still find it hard to believe that the original Q1 didn’t do this.
For anyone who liked that idea of the joystick working like the cursor keys, don’t worry. Above the joystick is a button labelled “mouse” – pressing this will toggle between pointer manipulation and cursor key type selection. This allows you to, say, right click on something, then switch the joystick mode so that you can easily select the options presented to you.
Below the joystick is a button labelled “Dial Key”, which brings up a virtual keyboard that’s split across the two bottom corners of the screen. Obviously this would be useful if you were using the original Q1, but since the Q1 Ultra has the integrated keyboard, it seems a little strange that Samsung has made the feature so prominent. Nonetheless, it works well enough, although I imagine that most users will opt for real keys rather than virtual ones.
On the right side of the screen below the keyboard is an Enter button and a four-way rocker. The four-way rocker is configurable and you can assign various tasks to each of the four clicks. For instance, the default “Internet” profile configures Up as scroll up, Down as scroll down, Left as back and Right as Forward.
Below the four-way rocker you’ll find two buttons labelled L and R. These represent the left and right mouse buttons and work in conjunction with the joystick on the left. The whole pointer manipulation method reminds me of the original Toshiba Libretto, but that’s no bad thing.