The original Q1 only shipped with 512MB of memory, so it’s good to see that there is double the RAM in the Ultra. However, the original Q1 ran Windows XP, while the Q1 Ultra runs Vista, which is far more memory hungry. Consequently, the 1GB of RAM coupled with the modest CPU power means that the Q1 Ultra can be pretty sluggish at times – especially if you like all those pretty transparent windows that Vista Aero has to offer.
There’s a 60GB 1.8in hard disk providing storage. This is more than enough space for a device this size, and to be honest I’d rather see one of Samsung’s 32GB Solid State Disks inside the Q1 Ultra instead. I fully expect Samsung to release a version of the Ultra with an SSD, after all the original Q1 shipped with a solid state drive in it, for a price premium of course.
Connectivity is well catered for with 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 all in evidence. Of course when Samsung showed the Q1 Ultra off at CeBIT earlier this year it announced that it would also include an HSDPA module. Unfortunately the initial samples don’t support HSDPA, but a second version should arrive in August that will have HSDPA and a fingerprint scanner.
Surprisingly, Samsung hasn’t priced the Q1 Ultra much higher than the original Q1, with an RRP of £799 including VAT. Despite the fact that the Ultra is brand new, I’ve already found it available online for £775. So, if you really do think that Samsung’s Q45 notebook is too big and heavy, or just too old hat, you can always go for a Q1 Ultra, just to be different.
The Q1 Ultra is a big improvement over the original Q1. The screen is superb, the interface far more intuitive and the whole package is simply more usable. Despite this, I’m still not convinced about the UMPC platform itself, and I fail to see why anyone would opt for a Q1 Ultra instead of an ultra-portable notebook, like Samsung’s own Q40.
However, if you are sold on the UMPC form factor, and like the idea of a device that’s smaller than a notebook, but can potentially perform many of the same duties, then you’ll probably love the Q1 Ultra. Considering how much better Samsung’s second generation UMPC is than the original Q1; I’m very keen to see what Samsung will come up with next.