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Review: Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC


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#1 Nvyseal

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 11:55 PM

The Samsung Q1 is a tiny device with a very big identity problem. The result of a collaboration by Microsoft, Samsung, and Intel, the Q1 is the newest product in the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) category, its design falling somewhere between a Pocket PC and an ultralight laptop computer with a small screen.

Samsung has suggested that the Q1 is intended to replace Pocket PCs and multimedia players, as well as serve as a handy supplement to laptops. Unfortunately, the Q1's frustrating design and underwhelming features put it short of being a viable option for most people.

Look and Feel

The Q1's black case, wrapped around a 7-inch LCD touch screen, measures roughly 9.0 x 1.0 x 5.5 inches, about twice the size of the Sony PlayStation Portable. The unit weighs only 1.7 pounds and has no keyboard. To enter information, you have to press buttons along the edges of the device and use a preinstalled virtual fingerboard. It is a bit clumsy to hold the Q1 with one hand and use these controls with the other.

A small joystick provides limited scrolling horizontally and vertically. But the lack of a touchpad to move the cursor around the screen -- as is common on laptops -- makes navigating on the Q1 awkward at best. And the thin, hard-to-hold stick that is a poor excuse for a stylus doesn't help matters much. Fingertip data entry leaves a lot to be desired on the Q1, at least for writing anything beyond a short e-mail message.

Features

The Q1 comes with some of the accessory ports usually found on laptops, including two USB ports. It has adequate amounts of memory and storage with 512 MB or RAM and a 40-GB hard drive. Battery life topped out at three hours of continuous use.

This first-generation machine aspires to be more laptop than Pocket PC, even though it runs the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system. The Q1 has four programmable quick-launch keys arranged in a wheel. These soft keys can be set to launch applications such as Internet Explorer, or have keyboard commands assigned to them, such as Ctrl-Alt-Del or Print Screen. Another key launches a virtual control panel.

Performance

When we first began testing the Q1, we found that having to touch the icons, rather than pointing and clicking, takes a lot of unlearning. As the novelty of the Q1 wore off and the frustration wore on, we became rather disenchanted. We could not find any real purpose in using it.

The Intel Celeron M processor coupled to the 512 MB of memory drove the Q1 acceptably. But still, its speed and power put it behind other ultraportable devices on the market.

We did find some redeeming value. As an MP3 player and a video viewer, it performed reasonably well. The 7-inch widescreen, with a default resolution of 800 x 480, provided impressive images. The Q1 can also render resolutions of 800 x 600 and 1,024 x 600.

At a cost of $1,099, we expected Samsung to provide more core components for the Q1, but there aren't enough bundled programs to make using it productive. The final price of this poorly conceived, hand-held wannabe is much higher when you include the cost of an external USB keyboard, an external DVD/CD drive, and maybe a large-capacity USB thumb drive or external hard drive to supplement multimedia storage.

The Verdict

While a few things impressed us about the Q1, we think the price is exorbitant for a hand-held device that has no clearly discernable purpose. Maybe a second generation Q2 will make a better impression.

Specifications

Specs: Intel 900-MHz Celeron M 353 processor; 512 MB of RAM expandable to 1 GB; 40-GB hard drive, 802.11b/g wireless Relevant Products/Services from HP; 7-inch LCD; stereo speakers; Bluetooth 2.0.

Pros: Very light and portable; instant-on multimedia features.

Cons: Puzzling form factor; few bundled applications; expensive.

Verdict: The Samsung Q1 might be an adequate replacement for a PDA, but not a laptop PC. And you could buy either a new PDA or a laptop for less money than the Q1 costs.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Price: $1,099

:D I think im going to hold off for a bit until Q2 maybe

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