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As I said before, this all makes the 701 a very easy machine to use. And if all you want to do is browse the internet, read a few emails, and write the odd short note - even watch a video or two - you'll find this a competent companion.
I had no complaints with performance either. Though its 512MB of RAM, 40GB hard disk and 1GHz VIA C7-M processor won't do too well under the demands of Microsoft's latest operating system, it works perfectly swiftly with the supplied Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. And on top of the integrated 802.11b/g wireless adapter, you also get Bluetooth thrown in as well, which means connecting to the Internet shouldn't be too hard, whatever method you happen to prefer.
But of course the 701 isn't without its problems. The first problem is the battery life, which by any stretch of the imagination isn't wonderful. Under light use, with the wireless adaptors powered off, I managed to get it to last just two hours and 10 minutes. Under more intense use, watching video and browsing the Internet over a wireless connection, that time dropped to an even less impressive hour and 40 minutes.
Another major issue is that the outlet for the main cooling fan sits directly behind the left hand grip, which can lead to the system becoming uncomfortably hot to hold after a while. It's even worse with the device plugged into the mains.
Secondary to these, but nonetheless irritating, is the fact that the two USB ports are situated on left and right edges, which means you can't connect a thumbdrive or any other USB device while you work or browse – if you don't want to keep reaching around them to reach the controls, that is. Also the 701 is a little heavier than the Q1, weighing in at 875g compared to the Samsung's more svelte780g.
Finally, the 701 isn't great when it comes to physical connectivity either. There’s no VGA output or Ethernet connection, so it isn't particularly good out of the box as a replacement for your desktop, despite the fact that it comes with a plastic stand included. And neither does it have any expansion potential apart from the two USB sockets. There's no PC card, ExpressCard or, more importantly perhaps, any kind of multimedia card reader.
The Ubiquio 701 is a bit of a mixed bag. It's clear that a lot of thought has gone into the design of the thing. The controls have been well thought out and make the device easy to use – probably more so than Samsung's Q1 and certainly more so than the smaller, lighter keyboard-equipped Sony UX1. I really liked the way every control fell to hand (or thumb) and was easy to access and understand.
But, alas, there are just too many negatives here to give the 701 a wholehearted recommendation. Battery life is average, physical connectivity is lacking and the heat dissipation issue is a serious negative. And though it is cheap for a UMPC, at £580 compared to £690 for the Samsung, it's still not wonderful value when you consider how much you get in a budget laptop these days.
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