One thing it will happily cope with is video playback, and to this end, OQO have equipped the Model 02 with an HDMI port, which is sited on the device’s bottom edge next to the USB 2.0 and docking ports. And though you might not think it has the credentials to be a media centre PC in its own right, especially with the limited 60GB hard disk, you could turn it into one. Buy the optional docking port, hook up an external hard disk and DVB-T tuner to that, and you could have the world’s smallest media centre PC on your hands.
Elsewhere, however, the Model 02’s connectivity options aren’t quite up to scratch – and this is another area where the Sony UX1XN pulls ahead. The Model 02 has no card reader, just one USB 2.0 slot and a single 3.5mm audio in/out socket around its edges in addition to a port for docking. The long, knobbly docking cable of previous versions has been replaced with a stubby docking dongle and this adds a D-SUB output for powering an external monitor (up to resolutions of 1,600 x 1,200) plus an RJ-45 port for connection to the Model 2’s Ethernet adaptor. It lacks a FireWire input, though.
The Model 02’s wireless capabilities haven’t been improved either. There’s both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on offer here, but it’s only 802.11a/b/g capable and neither is there an HSDPA adaptor for fast wireless communications on the move.
The Model 02’s battery life is also a concern. While Intel-based ultra-portables are producing battery life stats of five hours and more from a single charge these days, the Model 02 has stood still. With the Model 02’s standard lithium-ion polymer unit you’ll be stuck at just three hours – and that’s just editing documents, browsing websites and the like. Move to watching video or listening to music, and that figure will drop dramatically. The optional double-sized battery allows you to improve on things, but it comes at the expense of larger size and weight.
The OQO Model 02 clearly isn’t for everyone. But if you need more power than a smartphone, want a built-in keyboard and the power of a Windows PC in your pocket, then it’s a straight fight between the OQO and Sony’s UX1XN.
The latter is the more powerful and fully featured device as a quick comparison will confirm. But what a spec sheet or a price comparison can’t tell you is how a device feels to use and, critically, in this department there’s simply no contest. OQO’s Model 02 has taken the desirability of the original model up a notch and has made it much more usable. That, coupled with a cheaper price makes it the better device in my book.