Saturday, November 17, 2007

First Impressions of the Tekkeon MP 3450 and Mamba XS

I purchased the Tekkeon myPower All MP3450 external battery and the Booq Mamba XS messenger bag and received both over the last two days.  Initial impressions are favorable.  In fact I am typing this post at a Starbucks with my Acer C110 connected to the MP3450 and I brought all of my gear in the Mamba XS.

When I was posting earlier about the MP3450, I was concerned that the battery would not charge my Acer internal battery.  Fortunately that is not the case. Right now my Acer is indicating that it is 'plugged in' and has been at 100% battery level for the last 30 minutes that I have been 'plugged in'.  So good news there. It was important to me because at times I know I won't want to have the MP3450 connected to the Acer any longer than needed.  Right now its not a big deal.  I am sitting at a table with the MP3450 placed on the table right next to the Acer.  However if I am walking round and have the tablet in slate mode it would be easier to not have to be tethered to another device, even though it is small and lightweight (< 1 lb).  And if the MP 3450 didn't recharge the internal battery I would be limited to the time without the MP3450 to the lifetime of the internal battery which is about 2 hours.

I also like that it has a 5V USB outlet which allows me to easily charge my  phone (Moto Q) and my Ipod Nano.  The power cord connecting the MP3450 to the Acer is coiled which I also like.  Its easier to store and less clutter when in use.  Nice touch Tekkeon!  Its also a nice looking design.  So nice that I would hate to scratch it up so its good that the battery comes with a protective pouch with a plastic window over the indicator lights and voltage selector button.

The Mamba XS seemed smaller than I thought when I took it out of the box.  Which is nice since its a smaller foot print when carrying but my concern was that it wouldn't be big enough to carry all of my gear.  So I emptied my Case Logic case that I have been using for 3 years now and packed the Mamba XS only to find I had room to spare.  Which was good since for this trip I was also bringing the MP3450 battery and a notebook for the writing workshop I will be attending today.

I also like the easy access pouch at the top which is where I will keep my iPod and I like the 'pockets' under the flap which nicely fit items I want to easily get at without the concern of those items falling out.  One thing I think I will miss is the zippered compartment in the back of my Case Logic bag  It was only wide enough for documents or magazines but it was a good place for those items without cluttering the main compartments.

I'll write more after a few days of use.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Portable Power Options

I have been looking at two companies that sell external power supplies and batteries, The Battery Geeks and Tekkeon.

Lets start with The Battery Geeks offerings. First off, they offer a free battery audit. You fill out a simple form and they will email you with recommendations. For my Acer C110, they recommended their external battery and portable power supply. The external batteries come in two capacities, 118 and 130 WH. Since my Acer battery has a 27 WH capacity, theoretically these will increase battery time four or five fold. Since I get 2 hours with the Acer battery I should get about 10 hours with these models. The prices are $170 and $200 for these two batteries. They weight about 1.7 pounds and the dimensions are 7.75x4.5x.75(in).

The external power supply offered by The Battery Geeks also come in 118 and 130 WH as well as 200 WH. These power supplies are only a tad bigger (8.93x4.84x.87(in) 1.87 lbs) but offer more voltage outputs, 3 - 28 Vdc as opposed to only 15 - 21 Vdc for the batteries. The advantage is being able to power other devices other than the laptop. As you can guess, the prices are a bit more, $250 and $300 for the 118 and 130 WH versions.

Tekkeon offers the myPower All 3450 external battery which is rated at 50 WH which would theoretically last 4 hours when used with my Acer C110. Its a bit smaller than the battery geek devices (3.28 x 6.80 x .92) and much lighter weighing just under 1 lb. Also, with the smaller capacity its less expensive $120. And unlike the Battery Geeks external batteries the myPower All has a USB port so anything you can charge via your computer USB port you can charge with this device. The disadvantage is that the 3450 will not charge my Acer internal battery. The Acer C110 is rated for 20 Vdc and the 3450 only charges devices that are rated for 16V or less.

Currently I am leaning toward the myPower All 3450 mainly because of the lower price and smaller size but may hold off right now. In the two weeks I have been using the Acer I have not had a need for the extra juice. At home and at work I am mostly plugged in and at the end of my daily train commute I usually have 30% left on the internal battery. Where this device would be needed is when I travel for off site training or conferences.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Acer Tablet Not in Perfect Condition; But No Complaints

As you can imagine, my Acer C110 is not in perfect condition I bought it in August 2004 and at that time it was even a refurbished unit. One of the reported weak spots is the swivel and latching mechanisms. Mine is holding up strong. However the tip of the latch that latches the screen to the base when in the traditional closed laptop position broke off right before I switched over to the Samsung Q1 in February. Also, the rubber protectors for the port replicator and USB ports have separated from the device. In both cases I think crazy glue will do the trick. Or I can order replacements at this site I found.

The most annoying problem is a recent one. I recently removed the keyboard to clean it and now, everyone once and a while a key will stick, usually the own arrow and the delete buttons. Physically they look fine and don’t appear stuck and the only way to clear the problem is to hit another key. So perhaps there is an electrical connection problem or software issue. I will post in one of the forum and see if anyone else has had this problem and knows of a fix.

Overall, not too bad for a 3+ year old device!

BTW, I am typing this on the train something I couldn’t have done with the Q1P since it doesn’t have the attached keyboard and inking is almost impossible with all of the movement on the train.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Extending Battery Life - Power Banks

Its been a week since I switched back to the Acer and I am truly enjoying the larger screen and attached keyboard. Battery life has been better then expected, about 2 hours. This is working well for my daily commute. In the morning I sometimes will read the NY Times via their reader for about 15 minutes at Starbucks and then an hour on the train for a total of 75 minutes. At that point I usually have the battery indicator at 33%. However, I'm sure there will be times when I will need more power. These two power banks may do the trick when I need that extra juice. Here are links to reviews of each:


Battery Geek Portable Power Station

I'm going to dig deeper into each as well as possible other contenders and let you know what I decide.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Uninstalled New Wacom Driver

I uninstalled the new driver from Wacom that I had installed Monday. Whenever I hovered over a button, say the minimize button, the button would activate even though I did not tap on the screen. This problem went away after uninstalling the driver. Here is the description on the Wacom site.

Enhanced graphics driver Expand the capabilities of your Tablet PC with the enhanced graphics driver for Tablet PCs that use Wacom Penabled® technology! Please check with the manufacturer of your specific Tablet PC model to confirm that it was built using Wacom Penabled technology or read our FAQ to learn how you can check your Tablet PC yourself. Installing this driver will ensure that the same advanced pressure-sensitive features enjoyed by Wacom pen tablet users will also be fully supported on your Penabled Tablet PC.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First Day Using the Improved Acer

Tuesday was the first day I only used my improved Acer C110. I did power up the Q1P but only to get a file that I needed to transfer to the Acer. Overall it went well. The biggest plus is the larger screen. Compared to the 7" screen of the Q1P, the 10" screen is huge. I can easily work in all my applications, never having to go to full screen mode. While the screen quality and brightness are not even in the same league as the Q1P, it worked fine. I was actually impressed using it this morning to read the New York Times via their reader software. With the brightness set at only 17 (on a scale of 20) and sitting right next to a window the viewing experience was quite pleasant. I even read in portrait mode which I never used to do as the view tended to bother my eyes. While it initially did bother me I decided to try it for the duration of the train ride and apparently I got used to it. This is good news for me as its much easier to hold the Acer in one hand in portrait mode rather than landscape mode.

Battery life is decent at about 1 hour and 45 minutes with screen brightness set at 17 and WIFI on. However, this morning I used the device on the train with WIFI off and had 29% battery capacity left after using it for at least an 1 1/2 hours.

At the desktop I am using the same setup as I used for the Q1P. I do have the Acer port replicator but now that I only have three hookups (power, USB and external monitor) the desk just seems less cluttered without the replicator. However that may change if I connect external speakers. The Acer speaker is no where near the quality of the Q1P. However, since I don't listen to audio much at my desktop I will probably keep the desk less cluttered without the speakers.

As for using the Tablet screen as opposed to the Q1Ps touch screen, I think it will take some time to get used to. Its strange to see the cursor move all over the place as I move the pen across the screen. It also seems a bit sensitive since if I leave the pen hovering above an object such as the minimize or close buttons it will engage them after just a few seconds without my even touching the screen.

I also updated two drivers, the Wacom driver and Intel graphics driver. Lastly, I went to the advanced controls for the microphone and enabled "microphone boost' which improved the performance of the microphone.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Acer C110 Upgrade Status

I installed the Samsung 160GB hard drive and the Intel 2915 wireless network adaptor which now gives me rev G wireless. Using the service manual I was able to make these upgrades easily. After installing the new hard drive I did a clean reinstall of windows XP tablet edition as well as all of the programs I use so the process took some time but overall it was quite easy.

Having rev G wireless is very nice compared to the native rev B the Acer C110 came with and the new hard drive is very quiet. The original hard drive was quite noisy mainly due to it taking a 6 mile trip on the roof of my car a few years back. It was at least in a protective case, but nothing very sturdy. Fortunately it didn't fall off the car thanks to the roof rack but I was still very surprised it actually survived. With the noisy hard drive gone and since the Acer doesn't have a fan (the Q1P does) the whole tablet is very quiet.

As for processing speed, the Acer never really seemed that slow but now with a clean install and faster hard drive (5400 v. 4200 rpm) the overall response seems faster.

With the clean install using the Acer recovery disks there were many Microsoft updates including XP SP2. However, after installing all of the updates the floating tip didn't appear. That was easily resolved by downloading the program floatingtip.exe. Also, specific to the Acer C110, I downloaded and installed a utility (wchange) that allows you to turn on and off the wireless card. This is nice to have when in tablet mode as the hardware button is hidden. I also changed the drive format from FAT to NTFS. This was easily done using this guide.

Improvements I would still like to make are to battery life and screen quality. The battery life ranges from 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on screen brightness and power status of the wireless card. The screen quality really pales compared to the Q1P. Not sure if there is anything I can do about the screen quality but I have some ideas about battery life. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Upgrading the Acer C110

I decided to upgrade the Acer C110 Tablet. As I wrote before, I would like the Acer to have a longer life battery, a screen as good as the Samsung Q1P, and rev G wireless. Another item I hadn't mentioned before is a larger hard drive size. The current hard drive is only 40 Gb.

So I did a Google search to see what others may have done to improve their Acer C11x series of tablets and found a posting by Michael Cuthbert which had some great suggestions two of which I have already taken action on by purchasing the devices, the Samsung 160GB hard drive and the Intel 2915 wireless network adaptor which will give me rev G wireless. I am very excited about the 160 GB of storage. No more having to move videos to my external USB drive.

I still would like to have battery life similar to the Q1P (+4 hours) but it appears there is no extended battery available for the Acer. So perhaps I will get a power bank so at least I will not have to rely on access to an electrical outlet.

As for the screen, I don't think I will have the quality of the Q1P, but there has been talk in various forums that the C111s had a better screen, so perhaps I can find one of those and replace the screen on my C110.

I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Monday, October 15, 2007

UMPC Not for Me!

After having the Q1P for almost 10 months I have come to the conclusion that the UMPC (at least in the form of the Q1P) is not ideal for me. Most of the features I like about the Q1P are not UMPC specific: incredible screen, great sound, wonderful 4+ hour of battery life with the extended battery, bluetooth, and wireless rev G.

In fact if Acer still made the C110 tablet series (my old tablet) I'm sure most if not all of these features would have been added or upgraded. Plus Acer C110 already had the key features I most need, a keyboard, a workable 10" screen and a smallish form factor that converts to a slate. For my daily use, the Q1 screen at the native resolution of 800 x 400 is just too small for many web sites and programs I use and as a very decent typer, having to use the TIP is a let down for me.

So I am now considering going back to the Acer with some upgrades, buying a used C110 with bluetooth and a later wireless rev, or perhaps looking for a device similar to the Acer that would fit my needs. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Keyboards and UMPCs

Steve Paine blogged today that the the top 5 UMPCs in the UMPCPortal are laptops, ie all have keyboards. I can't say I'm surprised. In fact I truly miss not having a keyboard for my Q1 like I had with the Acer C110. The Q1 is great and I enjoy the UMPC usage scenarios that Steve lists. However, I would give up some lightness to have an attached keyboard that would be available on a moments notice. The main reason is that I am very proficient with a keyboard, much more so than with ink. I am getting much better with inking but no where near as proficient as with a keyboard. On top of that, I am on the train for almost 3 hours a day now and I find its almost impossible to ink due to the vibration of the train.

Personally, I give the manufacturers lots of credit for building what are essentially smaller form factor convertible tablet UMPCs. In my opinion it gives the user the best of both worlds, a UMPC and a laptop and the advantages that come with both.

With that said, I am going to start up the search again for a new device and blog about that search here. So stay tuned!

Monday, August 06, 2007

UMPC Real World Use Scenarios

Steve at and a poster at the Origami Project forums share how they use their Q1s. Steve also goes into detail why he chose the Q1B over the others he has. While its always interesting to see what devices bloggers use, especially those that have access to so many devices, keep in mind that their device needs may be different than yours.

Origami Project
Steve's Post

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Q1U(ltimate)

The title is correct. I did not mean to write Q1 Ultra. I'm talking about the Q1 Ultimate, as in my ultimate Q1. Its the Q1 I wish existed.

After thinking and writing about Steve's preference for the Q1B and the compromises he made with regard to built in mouse (or lack thereof) as well as screen resolution and lack of docking station, it made me think what would make my Q1P my Q1U(ltimate).

The biggest change would be the screen resolution. I would love to have the native resolution be 1024 x 600. The other would be for the organizer pack to be modified so the Q1 part would be self standing like a true laptop. Right now the stand needs to be flipped out and resting on a surface or the whole set would be in the same plane instead of angled like a laptop screen is in reference to the keyboard. If I could have these two improvements I would consider it a Q1U(ltimate).

But since this virtual makeover is not costing me anything I would also add a few other things in this order:

Docking station: I now only have to connect and disconnect three cables right now (VGA, power and USB). Not a big hassle but a docking station would be a nice improvement.

Improved integrated mouse: I was very used to using a stylus with my Acer tablet so I didn't really consider not having a good integrated mouse a big deal. But after watching Steve's video with JKK I am thinking I just didn't really know what I was missing. Once in hand I would probably never go back to a substandard integrated mouse again.

Really there isn't that much that would make my Q1P the Q1U(ltimate). Its a shame Samsung doesn't offer this version of the Q1. Oh well, maybe some day!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Steve 'Chippy' Uses Q1B and Everun

Steve from UMPC Portal left a comment to a recent post stating that he uses the Q1B hsdpa with organizer pack and the Everun.

I was actually surprised to read that Steve uses the Q1B. I recently watched his video of him chatting with JKK. It came across very clear that Steve did not like the fact that the Q1 series of UMPCs do not have a good working mouse. There is a joystick type mechanism and if the menu button is held down acts like a mouse. However, this feature leaves most users of the Q1 unsatisfied especially since there are no dedicated left and right click buttons.

Steve and JKK also talk about screen resolution and Steve states that 1024 x 600 is the optimal resolution for 7" displays. The Q1 series has a native resolution of 800 x 480. It does have a virtual resolution of 1024x600 but the result is rather disappointing.

So I was curious to understand why Steve chose the Q1B out of all of the devices he has or has had as his personal UMPC. So I relistened to the Q1 discussion he had with JKK. One item is battery life. The Q1B, with the VIA chip gives Steve almost 6 hours of use with the extended battery. Another is the bright screen. Also, this unit, unlike mine (big frown) has HDSPA. Lastly, the organizer pack lets Steve use the device like a laptop.

I think its a fair conclusion to say that Steve really enjoyed his Kohjinsha SA1 and was looking forward to the SH6 with all of its improvements including the improved attached keyboard. However, in the end, battery life is too high of a requirement for Steve and with the SH6 being just a 2 hour device, the other improvements were just not enough to compensate!

A Day in the Life with James Kendrick and His Mobile Devices

I always enjoy James Kendrick's day in the life posts about how he uses his mobile devices. Lucky for us he just posted a new one. James alternates between his Fujitsu and his ThinkPad and also uses his Blackberry. I think this usage scenario nicely points out that you don't have to just settle for one tool. A carpenter wouldn't only use a hammer, particularly if he wants to cut a piece of wood. He would use a saw for that job and use the hammer for another.

James uses his Fujitsu when he doesn't need the power of the ThinkPad so he can take advantage of the smaller form factor and lighter weight. When he just needs to check email he uses the Blackberry.

Of course not all of us can afford two tablets but when considering devices don't just assume that you have to only have use one device for all of your needs.

You can find the write up here.

Q1P User Review

Craig Pringle recently had to send his LS800 out for repair and ended up using his Q1P. He blogs about what he likes and doesn't like about the Q1P. Bottom line, he is is sticking with the LS800.

Thanks to Steve at UMPC Portal for writing about this.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What Mobile PC Bloggers Are Now Using

Back in January I published a post stating what UMPCs other bloggers were using. Below is an update. I was surprised that many are using the same device as they were using in January (Kevin Tofel, CTitanic, Thoughtfix and Mark) and that a few have moved away from UMPCs as their main mobile device to more powerful Tablet PCs. Specifically the ThinkPad x61 (Dennis Rice, Warner Crocker, Matt Faulkner, James Kendrick) was a favorite.


Dennis Rice has moved on from his eo i7210 to the ThinkPad x61 and OQO 02.
Warner Crocker has added to his R2H the ThinkPad x61 and Q1P.
Matt Faulkner now has the ThinkPad x61 but I'm not sure if he is still using the R2H.


James Kendrick was using a Fujitsu LifeBook P1610 Tablet PC and still does today but he uses the ThinkPad x61 on most work days.
Kevin Tofel was using a Q1P in January and is still using it today.


Hugo Ortega was using the Q1 in January but is now using the OQO 02.

Ultramobile PC Tips

CTitanic is still using his Q1.

Ultramobile Geek

Thoughtfix is still using his eo v7110 along with his Nokia N800.


Mark is still using a Q1.

Q1P XP Essentials

Over the past 6 months that I have had my Q1P there have been a few essentials that I would recommend to others who have or are considering the Q1 UMPC.

Thanks to CTitanic of Ultra Mobile PC Tips HID drivers are available and can be downloaded here. You can find out more about HID drivers here thanks to Hugo Ortega but basically the benefits are a smoother inking experience and the floating tip.

One downside of the UMPC is the smaller screen size and the lack of some software being optimized for this size screen at the native resolution. Thanks to Vikram Madan of Microsoft there is a power toy available called the UMPC Scroll Bar and it can be downloaded here. No more having to switch to a higher screen resolution. Just scroll down to see what you couldn't before.

If you don't want to think about running out of juice, the extended battery is a must. Even with WiFi on I can expect to get just about 5 hours of usage. Unlike when I was using my Acer C110, I never give a second thought about running out of power when away from my power supply. I have even left my charger at work once and was able to use my Q1P that evening at home with power to spare. The battery adds some weight and adds about a half inch to the height but for me that is not a problem. In fact I haven't had the original battery in the device in months.

There are other programs and accessories that I use and would recommend but these would be the three that I would recommend to almost anyone who purchases a Q1 first generation UMPC.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Bought a New Device!

Don't worry, I haven't traded in my Q1P. I still use it on a daily basis. The device I bought was a smartphone which coincidently has a Q in its name. In fact that is its name, the Motorola Q with service through Sprint.

Since I moved to Manhattan my commute is much longer. I am spending an hour and twenty minutes each way on the train. Luckily my boss allowed me to cut back on the amount of hours I need to be at the office so I actually get home at a very decent hour. But I still need to work the same amount of hours to get my job done. So time management is even more important for me. Being able to read and respond to emails on the train frees me up to do the things you can't quite get done virtually (such as face to face time with employees, coworkers and peers) when I am actually at the office.

While I could have gotten a EVDO modem for the Q1, the space on the train is limited and having a smaller device like a smartphone just made more sense.

Overall I like the Q and will post a review soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More OQO User Reviews

I have just moved to Manhattan and haven't had much time to post much lately. But I wanted to let you know of these two recent user reviews of the OQO 02. Again, its all about the user needs and how well the device or devices will meet them.

Neil Balthaser has posted part 3 of his user review. Overall he is very happy with the device. However, Warner Crocker has decided the OQO 02 is just not for him.

So if you are thinking about getting a UMPC or upgrading to a new one, I highly recommend you take the time to think about how you intend to use the device and evaluate each device against those needs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reviews and Commentaries

Since I last posted there have been quite a few good reviews and commentaries that should help those of you considering buying a UMPC or upgrading to a newer model.

Here is a review of the Q1 Ultra by Dennis Rice of and here are Steve Paine's comments on that review. Matt Faulkner lists his initial impressions of the OQO 02 here. Hugo Ortega responds to Steve Paine's comments on Hugo's original commentary on why he (Hugo) now uses the OQO 02. And here you can read part two of Neil Balthaser's user review of the OQO 02.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Using the Q1 on Vacation

Vikram Madan, member of Microsoft's UMPC team, took his Q1 on vacation with him and his family and has written a nice review of its use. I think the biggest take away for someone considering a UMPC is this line "Gone are the days of lugging a full-sized laptop around, even though that’s what 1 in 5 people are now doing." Most of what Vikram and his family used the device for could have been done with a laptop. But the form factor and lighter weight are major advantages, in my opinion, when using the device on the go.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Get the Facts Straight!

I was paging through my paper copy of Business Week and started reading an article titled 'Dawn of the Ultra-Mobile PC'. In a graphic it included the Q1 among a list of devices. For each device Business Week listed the amount of 'storage' and for the Q1 was listed '8 GB'! My Q1P has a 60 GB hard drive, I know Q1 s come with a 40 GB drive and the SSD drives start at 32 GB. So I'm not sure how they came up with 8 GB. Perhaps a typo or just some poor research. Either way, its disappointing to see such mistakes in the mainstream media. As I blog more and more about UMPCs, I have been astonished at how many factual mistakes are made.

Here is a link to the article on line but they did not include the graphic that was in the paper version.

OQO 02 Review

Neil Balthaser at the Ultra Mobility blog has been using his OQO 02 for a while and has written part 1 of a 5 part review. Neil had been using the Samsung Q1P so its nice to see some comparisons to that device. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Q1 Ultra User Impressions

While I have blogged about my desires to have a pocketable device like the OQO 02, the new form factor and feel of the Q1 Ultra also tempts me to upgrade. Grandall in the Origami Project forums is sharing his impressions of his brand new Q1 Ultra. So far he is happy with the device and is not complaining about the processor. In fact he ran videos using itunes and Quicktime and was happy with the results.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Q1 Ultra Available at Costco

A version of the Q1 Ultra is available at for a penny under $1200. Its the one with the 800Mhz processor and Vista Home Premium. Probably not the best price but the return policy is a very generous 90 days. Keep in mind you have to be a member of Costco too and most likely you will also pay sales tax.

source: 'doggie' in the forums

Paper Based Computing

This New York Times article highlights a different way to use a pen with a computer. The company is Livescribe and is run by a former executive at LeapFrog, an educational toy maker that uses pens in many toys as an input device. Interesting read.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Reconsidering Minimum Screen Size

You may recall that early on I had decided a 7" screen was as small as I could go. However, after reading these early reviews by Hugo and Neil about the OQO 02 I am reconsidering if increased portability and the coveted pocketability are worth going to the smaller screen.

How Do Use Your UMPC?

Neil at Ultra wrote a posting entitled "UMPC Triumphs Over Pen and Paper". He relates an experience where he is at a client and instead of grabbing a pen and piece of paper to write down some information, he 'wakes' his Q1P and inks away. He relates the story well and lists criteria needed for the Q1P to win this 'competition'. I will let you read his post for the specifics but it made me want to share my experiences of when I decide to use pen and paper or the Q1P.

Just an hour ago I walked about 50 feet to a manufacturing operation to collect about 10 pieces of numerical data. I chose pen and paper to record the numbers. Now, I did actually give some thought to using the Q1P but as it was already connected to my desktop setup, I decided not to disconnect it. So I reached into my desk draw to get a piece of paper and grabbed my pen I keep on my keyboard.

However, last week, the Q1P came out on top. I was planning on spending a few hours in our production area and brought my Q1P with the extended battery. I was also collecting data on a number of processes and used Sticky notes in full screen view to ink the data. I later typed the numbers into Excel but I prefered to use ink at first just because its easier to just jot down the information than to enter it into Excel cells.

These two experiences tend to represent my usual usage habits. If the situation is one where I only need to use it for a short period of time and then return to my office, I'll use paper. This is mainly because its just too much effort to disconnect from my desktop setup as compared to grabbing pen and paper. However, if I will be away from my office for awhile then the upfront time spent disconnecting the UMPC from the desktop is worth it.

Some of you may think, 'this guy is lazy'. And perhaps I am but that is not really the point. The point I would like readers to take away is that there are many tools in our toolbox, pen and paper being one of them. Just because I spent over $1200 for UMPC does not mean I have to only use it. Just like you would not consider never watching a movie on a TV again because you have a UMPC, why should you not use pen and paper when that tool is the best option for a specific task?

With that said, if UMPC manufacturers and Microsoft want the UMPC to be the better option more of the time, they should first read Neil's post.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Samsung Rep On MSNBC Discussing Q1 ULTRA

Source JKK

Walt Mossberg's Q1 Ultra Review

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal reviewed the Q1 Ultra. Here is his video review. Overall, he states the Ultra is a vast improvement over the Q1 but the overall tone leaves me to believe he is still not a big fan of the UMPC concept.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tip for Switching Screen Resolutions

At times I need to switch screen resolution, especially when using Outlook 2007. As I noted in a video review, Outlook 2007 is not optimally setup for the small 7" screen at native Q1 resolution. Thanks to Steve at UMPC Portal I discovered while watching one of his videos that if you keep pressing the screen resolution button on the left side of the display it will cycle through the three available resolutions. I used to press the button and then use my finger or stylus to pick the resolution I wanted. Not a big time saver but a welcome one for me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pocketable UMPC Review

Hugo Ortega at posted a video review of the OQO 02. As you may recall, I had early on ruled out devices with displays less than 5". Of course the downside is the larger display devices are not pocketable. Hugo nicely demonstrates how pocketable the OQO 02 is. However, he also states he could not use the device alone for hours on end because of how small the display is. For that type of usage he would extend it to an external monitor as he demonstrates in the video.

Personally, I would love a pocketable device. However, my current usage has me using the Q1P alone for hours at times. So I am sticking with the Q1P for awhile.

Monday, May 14, 2007

So You Want a Q1...But Which One?

So after reading my blog and doing other research you decided to get a Q1. Of course you want the latest one, the Ultra, especially since pricing starts at a low $799. But is that really the one you want? Or the best one to meet your needs?

So lets review what is currently available here in the US.

Q1: This is the original device. Its powered by a 900Mhz Intel Celeron M processor, has a 40 gB hard drive and 512 MB of RAM. Even with the announcement of the Ultra it still goes for $970 at

Q1P: This is the device I have. Currently, at Newegg you can get one for $1149, preloaded with Vista, 1 Gb of RAM, 60 gb hard drive, and powered by a 1 GHz Pentium M processor. This is the UMPC Kevin Tofel of uses and Steve at UMPC Portal has used. Here is a video review Steve had posted a few weeks ago. It appears some of the Q1Ps have LED backlit displays which give them a brighter display and drains the battery less.

Q1B: This version goes with a VIA C7 1.0 Ghz processor and for $870 at comes with a 40 GB hard drive and 512 MB of RAM. VIAs tend to be less powerful than the Intel Pentium M processors but use less power resulting in extended battery life. To get a feel for the difference in processing power check out this video at For a feel for the additional battery life check out this post at

Q1 Ultra: As I mentioned in a previous post, the look and feel of this device WOW'd me when I first saw it. While the other three are basically the same device on the outside, the Ultra has a whole new look and pricing will start at $799, the lowest of these four devices. So what do you get? First, these devices are powered by Intel's Ultra Mobile A100 and A110 processors with speeds of 600 and 800 Mhz, 1 Gb of RAM, and either 40, 60 or 80 GB hard drive. The device also has a higher native resolution of 1024 x 600. In addition, the device has two cameras (.3 and 1.3 Mp), a fingerprint reader, integrated EVDO, and a mini split keyboard. Its also a bit lighter (.2 lbs) and battery life is rated at about 4.5 hours.

So this should be a no brainer, go with the newest model, the Ultra, right? Well, maybe not. First lets look at the Q1 Ultra that is closest in specs to my Q1P with XP. That would be the Q1U XP which goes for $1150, same price as the Q1P at Newegg. Even though the Ultra has lots of new features, the main concern is how will the Q1 Ultra's A100 and A110 Ultra Mobile processors perform. We will have to wait and see but right now the best comparison done is probably the one by Steve at

So to answer the questions above, which Q1 should you get; again it depends on your needs. The Q1B has excellent battery life but a less powerful processor, the Q1P has what most would consider the most powerful processor but it also has a higher price tag. So the best advice is to list your needs and intended uses for the device and pick the device that will work the best for you.

CLARIFICATION: Q1 Ultra First Impressions Review

Thanks to Kevin Tofel at jkOnTheRun and Rob Bushway at I had many more readers today. Apparently, some of those readers thought I was intending to say in my last post that the Q1 Ultra is slow. I think it would be irresponsible for anyone to claim a device is slow after only using one for a few minutes and not knowing how the device was configured. That is why I only stated it seemed to me that opening up some programs seemed a bit slow.

This first impressions review was really only that. And while it did not take long for me to be WOW'ed by the Ultra's looks and feel, it did not WOW me in the performance area in those few minutes. That is not to say it couldn't WOW, only that specific device, within those few minutes, did not.

Hope that clarifies what I wanted to say.

Its true that there are some who are concerned about the Ultra's potential performance based on the new processors it will have. But the proof will be when these devices get into the hands of those that can do rigorous comparisons.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Q1 Ultra Hands On Impressions

I was able to actually hold a Q1 Ultra with my own hands while I was at the Samsung display store at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. I only played with it a few minutes but here are my initial impressions.

  • Love the form factor. A bit lighter and smaller than the Q1P. There was a Q1 right next to the Ultra so it was nice to compare side by side. The length is the same as it appears the thickness is too. However, the width seems to be about a half inch less which gives it an even nicer feel. Overall, the new look of the Ultra makes the Q1 look dated, at least in my opinion.
  • There was only one stand on this device. My Q1P has the smaller stand that props it up about 20 degrees. Hopefully on production units the Ultra will have both.
  • The keyboard is tiny and I doubt I would use it at all.
  • The cursor location was not very easy to move about with the integrated 'mouse'.
  • The video camera resolution was horrible and the photos with the higher resolution camera were not good either. But not sure what settings were used, so perhaps both could be tweaked.
  • Bringing up programs seemed slow, but perhaps this display unit was not optimized. Just to note, it was running Vista not XP.

So overall, I loved the look and feel of the device and the availability of built in cameras, but I will wait for more user reviews on performance of the new processors before upgrading from the Q1P to the Ultra. To get a feel for how the Q1 Ultra will perform, Steve at UMPCPortal ran a simulation using two Q1s with one setup to simulate how the Ultra will perform. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

OQO 02 a Tidal Shift in Computing?

Two posts ago, I made the point, that while the UMPC a is laptop / tablet replacement with added mobility, due to shorter battery life, being non pocketable and long startup times, it is not really a ipod, smartphone etc replacement. And for me that is fine. However, the OQO 02 with it being half the size of the Q1 may make it pocketable (depending on your pocket size). Neil Balthaser makes the case that the OQO 02 may present a 'tidal shift in computing'. Personally, I am not sure I could trade the smaller screen size for the extra mobility and pocketablility. Though I plan on keeping an open mind as Neil blogs about his experience with the OQO 02 and his comparisons to the Q1P he also has.

UMPC Review Rebuttal

Head on over to this blogUltra Mobility. Neil Balthaser blogs about his use of a Q1P. In this post he rebuts a CNET article titled "Why You Will Never Buy a UMPC".  Neil does a nice job of pointing out the benefits of a UMPC, specifically the increase in mobility over a laptop. I think its important for those considering buying a UMPC to understand this key advantage.  For some, like so many UMPC reviewers, this advantage is not worth what one gives up by not going with a laptop. But for me, this increase in mobility far, far, outweighs the advantages of the laptop.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

When to Use a UMPC?

Reading a Q1P review and Steve's comment it made me realize that I should make this point.  In my opinion, a UMPC is a laptop / tablet replacement that gives you a smaller form factor and lighter weight which is a plus when you are not sitting at a desk or other horizontal work space.  It gives you the power of a PC to take more places more easily than a larger, heavier laptop or PC.  What it really is not, is a replacement for smart phones, blackberries, handheld gps devices, ipods etc.  The UMPC is not pocketable, has a short battery life and takes some time to boot up.

In Steve's comment, he mentions that he used a handheld gps unit instead of a bluetooth gps receiver with his UMPC because his Q1P battery would have died before he finished his bike ride.  I would assume that handheld gps receivers have battery lives at least over 10 hours while the Q1P with an extended battery lasts only 5 hours.  What he did use the Q1P for was to upload the photos and gps information and create the tagged map, a task that required a PC.  The advantage here was he was able to do this on the go instead of waiting to get home.  He was also able to do this standing up, something that would have been difficult with a normal laptop with keyboard.

In the Q1P review (sorry, lost the link), the reviewer stresses the point that the Q1P does not have a keyboard.  Personally, I love keyboards.  I'm a very decent typer and can input lots of text very easily with a keyboard.  However, I really don't miss an integrated keyboard at all with my Q1P.  Mainly because of the way I use it.  On the go, standing up etc, it would be hard to use a keyboard.  Using ink or the TIP is much easier, like writing on paper.  Of course I use a keyboard alot, when I'm at my desk like right now.  When I'm away from work or home and I need a keyboard, my BT foldable keyboard does the trick.

As for listening to music while on the go, I will always pick the iPod Nano I own.  Its very light, powers up quickly, is pocketable and has long battery life (greater than 10 hours).  However, if I want to watch a tv show, video or movie, then the Q1 is ideal like when I watched episodes of Lost and The Office when I was on the train traveling back from Boston.

So I guess my point here is that UMPCs, in my opinion, are ideal to use in some situations.  As my primary PC, I actually prefer it over a laptop.  However, for those extremely mobile situations where the full power of a PC is not needed, I prefer to use other devices such as iPods, etc.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Weekend Use of the Q1P

This weekend I took my Q1P with me, something I usually do not do. On Saturday, I was taking my car to a body shop to get an estimate on a paint job. The place was recommended by a coworker but is an hour away. Afterward I was planning on going into Manhattan to look at apartments. So I took the Q1P with me to use as a map in case I got lost going to the body shop and also to use to browse internet sites that list apartments.

I had no problems finding the body shop so I did not need to power up the Q1P and the GPS receiver but it was nice to have it just in case. However I did use it to check apartment listings after the realtor for the one apartment I was planning to see informed me that apartment was taken. After checking other listings, I did not see any others that caught my interest, so I was able to save a trip into the city.

Today I went into the city to have Dim Sum in Chinatown with friends. After arriving at the address I found the restaurant out of business. But just to make sure, I powered up my Q1P, went to Google Maps and typed in the address that I had to confirm that I was indeed at the right location. I was and the place apparently had gone out of business! But it was a blessing in disguise as we went to another place that had dumplings to die for.

While the UMPC came in handy today, I think a smart phone or blackberry would have been better. With their smaller form factor, they are pocketable and boot up times are much quicker than for a hibernating UMPC. Though on Saturday, it was nice to have the larger screen to surf the apartment listings.

On the Road with My Q1P

Let me continue my review of using the Q1P on the road. I was in Boston for two days of training, taking the train from my home on Long Island, New York. As I noted in the previous post, I used the Q1P on the 3 hour train ride and didn't even think about plugging it in as I have the extended battery. I was also able to that night easily use the device to put together a summary of emails, doing lots of cutting and pasting. The 7" screen worked just fine.

The next day was the first day of the course. It was held in a hotel conference room and there were 6 of us to a round table. We were packed in pretty good so there was not much room for much more than the binder of course material each of us were given. During the course, each table worked together to solve a problem which required doing calculations. I was glad I had the Q1P. With its small form factor I was able to hold it in my hands and ink in the numbers into excel. During breaks I connected to the hotel's WIFI and checked and responded to email.

Actually, I also checked email during the course and did a little web surfing too! Yes, I know, I was not a very good student. However, it went unnoticed by perhaps everyone as it just looked like I was jotting down notes on a paper with pen. Nice added benefit of a UMPC (for that matter, a benefit for almost all tablets in slate mode).

On the train ride back, I watched episodes of the tv series Lost and The Office which I downloaded from iTunes. I am still very impressed with the quality of the audio and video on the Q1P.

The only thing that would have made this trip even better is integrated EDVO. I was not connected during the train ride as I have a PC slot card for my Verizon EVDO and the Q1P does not have a PC slot. I need to get a 3G bluetooth phone so I can connect via the phone and bluetooth.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Using a UMPC on the Go!

A point I made in another post is that UMPCs are ideal for easily taking the power of a PC to where you want or need it. This post on UMPC Portal demonstrates using a UMPC as well as other gadgets to create a Google Map with tagged photos. The photos are actually tagged to the location they were taken. In fact, it looks like Steve made the trip, with these devices on his bike!

I think the Q1 Ultra could do all this, though the photos would be at a lower resolution, because I believe the Q1 Ultra will have a camera and GPS built in. Now that would lighten Steve's load!

Hugo Living in a 5" World

Hugo Ortega just posted about using his new OQO 02 which has a 5" screen. If you have been reading this blog you know I have commented quite a bit about how I thought a 5" screen would be too small. I have also shown through quite a few videos how well a 7" screen works using various software programs. So its interesting to read what Hugo has to say about 'living in a 5" world".

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Q1P Video Revew and UMPC Buyers Guide 2007

Two good posts at the UMPC Portal. This one is a video review of the Q1P, the same device I have and have been blogging about. Steve just received his and has some good comments and takes on its value. This post announces the updated UMPC Buyers Guide 2007, a great resource for those of you considering buying a UMPC.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Samsung, Microsoft Patent Deal

 From the New York Times. Hopefully good news for UMPC development.

April 19, 2007

Samsung, Microsoft Strike Patent Deal


Filed at 6:09 p.m. ET

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics Co. and Microsoft Corp. said Thursday they have entered into a patent licensing agreement focused on the technology companies' consumer electronics lines.

Samsung and Microsoft said the deal gives them access to the other's patents for existing and future inventions in categories including computers, televisions, digital video recorders and digital media players.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the companies said in a joint news release that both will receive payments for past and future inventions. Microsoft and Samsung said the pact will speed up product development.

The Samsung agreement and other recent deals show how the world's largest software company has become more open to sharing technology and intellectual property in recent years, said David Kaefer, a Microsoft general manager for intellectual property licensing at Microsoft.

Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung is the world's largest memory chip maker and a leading producer of consumer electronics such as flat-screen televisions, mobile phones, MP3 players and laptop computers.

On the Road - Day 1

I arrived safely in Boston last night. But, as it tends to be the case when I travel, a quality issue arose. Actually it was a reoccurrence of an issue that also occurred last fall.  So when I got to my hotel room I hooked up my BT keyboard  and started going through old emails related to this issue. I was easily able to cut and paste pertinent sections from about 10 emails and 2 attached files into a new word document and then email it to my colleagues back at the office. This should enable the group to make decisions based on fact instead of memory.  Ever without a mouse and with the 7" Q1P screen it was not difficult to do at all.

Prior to going to bed I was going to attach my extended battery, to let it charge overnight.  I had been using it during the 3+ hour train ride without ever giving a thought to using the AC power supply! But I couldn't find it anywhere. I think I left it on the train.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

122 MPH

I am on the train headed to Boston. I have always wondered how fast these trains go. So I powered up my Global Sat BT GPS receiver, made the connection and opened up RoadNav. Just south of Providence RI we hit 122 mph! And this isn't even the fast Acela train.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Q1P Usage Review - Part 2: A Day at Work

I got rid of 'One Month' from the title since I have had the Q1P for almost two months now.  Time flies! 

In this posting I want to describe a typical day and how I use the Q1P.  Typically I first use the Q1P when I get to work at about 8 pm.  Thanks to Hugo Ortega, I try to shut down the device each night to save electricity (every bit helps!).  So I boot up the device which doesn't take much time. 

The first thing I like to do is check email and Google reader.  I can do both things easily using the device without the external monitor so about half the time I kick back, feet up on the desk, and use the device this way. 

For reading in Google reader its very nice.  The articles are well formatted for the screen.  Outlook 2007 works fine for reading email and sending quick responses but as I noted in my vlog its not ideal, specifically for accessing the to do bar in portrait mode.  For responding to email I find myself mostly using the TIP.  I like the handwriting mode which converts to text but there are many cases where it won't convert correctly so I find myself using the TIP keyboard.  All of this is done using the stylus.   I never use the dial keys, probably just that I am very used to using a pen with my tablet.  I also like using ink and with Outlook 2007 its very easy, just hit the ink button and ink away. 

I still do the above in my office but will try to do this in the work place.  I am our company's VP of manufacturing and we follow the Toyota Production System where one of the principles is to go to the workplace and see for yourself to truly understand the situation.  All of the above can easily be done with the Q1P while standing in the factory.

To review  documents or spreadsheets, I tend to connect the Q1P to a keyboard and external monitor.  Currently I can do this with only three connections (VGA, power, USB) which makes connecting and disconnecting the device not too difficult.  I won't say easy, since I first need to switch the display to the Q1P and then disconnect the three cables. Not too much work but enough to sometime make me think twice about taking the Q1P with me.

When I'm out in the work place I tend to use Sticky Notes.  Its easy to boot up and write down short notes that I don't necessarily need to retain for the long term.  For meetings where I want to keep a copy of my notes I'll use OneNote 2007.  Talking about meetings, its nice to have the device to check email or access the Internet as some meetings don't require my full attention all of the time.

On Friday's I have a lunch meeting with my managers and we listen to management related podcasts.  I was hoping the speakers would be loud enough but unfortunately I have to connect the device to external speakers.

So you can see that I'm not really doing anything earth shattering.  These are the things most people do on a regular basis using either laptops or desktops.  The key here is that this device gives the user the ability to do these things in many more places.  Taking the power and advantages of the PC to almost anywhere you want or need to be.

The next review will cover my usage of the Q1P outside of the office as I will be at training on Thursday and Friday in Boston and then vacation the week after.  Though I'm not sure if I will take the device with me on vacation.

Real Life User Reviews

One of my goals with this blog is to focus on actual usage of UMPCs and how well these devices meet various needs. Specifications and features are important, and there are many sites where that information can be found, but how do those features and specifications translate into real life usage is what I like to focus on here. So I wanted to reprint this posting entered recently in the Origami Project forum by user spudley112.

First off, let me say that I do not put much stock in many of the Q1 reviews out there. It made me nervous to see all the negative reviews when I first bought my Q1. I was waiting for it to arrive and I kept seeing many of the negative reviews in major PC magazines, and it honestly made me wonder of I had made the right choice. I did, however, notice that many reviews from individual users were very positive. After using the Q1 for a few weeks I can see why users like it so much.

Last week I went to Lean Six Sigma (LSS) certification training, to finish my certification requirements. Lean Six Sigma is the adoption of two business theorys that center on 1. reduction of waste and 2. reduction of variation (mistakes) in a process. It is a pretty intense training course and the classes have many requirements that make a computer a very handy device to have. Since the course was off-site, and there were several large books that were needed for the class, the UMPC is a perfect choice for this training.

in LSS training one must take copious notes. There is a great deal of formulaic data that is used in the LSS business philosophy, so having detailed notes is a must to pass the course. I had purchased the Q1 organizer and keyboard from CDW before the course and I am glad I did. I can certainly type faster than I can handwrite and the decent sized Q1 keyboard was very useful. I worried that the pointing stick, nestled between the G,H, and B keys, would get in the way from time to time (I have had this problem with laptops in the past) but I never even felt the thing while I was typing. I have noticed that many compact keyboards are a challenge to type on when you are not looking at the board itself, but I found this keyboard did very well and I had no problem typing while watching the presentation slides go by.

If I had needed, I could have used the touchscreen to take notes. As a test I did take notes on Windows Journal during one of the last sessions and found it quite easy to do. I will admit that it takes some getting used to as most of us are used to the physical feedback from putting pen to paper. The touch screen is so smooth that it doesn't feel the same at all. But one quickly finds that this only makes writing faster, and once you are used to using the touchscreen, it is a breeze.

During the course, we also have to do many calculations. I found that OpenOffice Calculator was a perfecct spreadsheet program for these calculations. Many people in the class simply used a calculator, but I was much faster since I could simply put the formula in a cell then just type in the parameters in the appropriate cells. This saves a ton of time that most used up when they had to redo the entire calculation on their handlheld calculators.

We had several graphs and charts that we needed to make during the class and the touchscreen capability was perfect for this task. A few people had laptops in class, and they used them to set up their charts, but I noticed it took much longer to do compared to the touchscreen.

One of the things that is a requirement for passing the class is a presentation to demonstrate our understanding of key LSS concepts. I was able to put my presentation together during the class instead of waiting to do it on my time each evening. When it came time to conduct my presentation I was able to simply unplug the Q1 keyboard and take the Q1 itself up to the front to plug into the projector. Most who had to do presentations found it necessary to load it on a USB drive so that they could load it onto the instructors PC. The touchscreen was great for writing out the formulas, circling important points and demonstrating the concepts I was trying to present. It seems that the Q1 ended up getting more attention than the presentation, but I was more than happy to show off my new "toy."

Many of the negative Samsung Q1 reviews seem to result from reviewers who try to compare it to a full blown desktop or laptop PC. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who want to compare it to a Pocket PC. Sure, in either of these comparisons the Q1 is going to loose. It does not have the latest super mega-monster processor, so it may not run 15 major tasks as well as the latest laptop design that hit the market. It is a bit large for pocket carry, so it looks too big in comparison to my iPAQ hx2795.

What the reviewers fail to notices is that the UMPC sits nestled right between these two types of devices. It occupies its own niche, therefor it deserves to be reviewed and compared in that niche. If I were to write a review on my CBR600F4i and compare its cargo carry options to a Ford pickup, it would not do well. If I compared its fuel efficiency to my Cannondale bicycle it wold also do poorly. But for what it is, it is a great motorcycle. The Q1 is like that, it does well within its own category.

Since buying the Q1 I have added a CD-rw drive by LaCie. I know many have complained about the lack of CD drive on the Q1, but that addition would defeat part of the mobility purpose of such a device. Sure, there are all kinds of extras I could add to a UMPC to give it more usable features, but then I might not be able to carry it in a coat pocket like I can with the Q1.

Since buying the Q1 I have become a total UMPC fanatic. I am interested in the OQO model 02 and the new Q1 Ultra, and would love to have either one. However, I cannot say that I am disappointed in the Samsung Q1's performance. If you have a need for mobility and you are looking for a decent device to use for business, I highly recommend the Samsung Q1.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Extensive UMPC Articles at PC Today

Thanks to Thoughtfix for blogging about these two articles. PC Today does a nice job of identifying, in depth, the pros and cons of UMPCs and listing the various models, acccessories and software.

But beware, April 18 is looking to be date for a few announcement about more next generation devices. So if you are thinking about buying a UMPC you may want to wait another 9 days.

Monday, April 02, 2007

HID: Human Interface Device

If you are looking to buy a UMPC its important to understand what a HID is and what it means to your use of a UMPC. Hugo Ortega has done a nice job explaining these nuances.

Check it out here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New UMPC Blogger

A member of Microsoft's UMPC team, Vikram Madan has started blogging and in this post he does a good job in making a case for the UMPC. Enjoy.

Excellent UMPC Info Source

If you are looking to buy a UMPC like I was when I started this blog, I hope you have found my postings helpful. Since I chose the Q1P my postings have mainly been about my experiences with the Q1P. But if you want to know what else is out there I highly recommend the UMPC Portal's comparison list. Steve keeps this list updated on a regular basis.

Monday, March 26, 2007

One Month Q1P Usage Review - Part 1

I have had my Samsung Q1P for a little over a month now and I want to share with you my thoughts on how well it is meeting my needs. My first post outlined my computing needs and how I was meeting them with my Acer C110 tablet. The second post stated why I thought a UMPC would work better.

To summarize, I basically used my tablet as my sole computer, using it at the office and at home. I rarely travel, but when I do I would take my tablet with me. I mostly use the device to check email, keep track of meetings, surf the internet and use various Microsoft Office programs such as Excel, Word and One Note. I'm not a heavy note taker but I do like having the ability to take handwritten notes when I need to. I also like to spend time in the work space and like having the ability to easily take my computer with me so as to have information readily available. The Acer was working well for me but I wanted better battery life, a device I was more willing to take with me around the office and a better, brighter screen.

Those first three desires have mainly been met. Battery life with the 3 cell battery is only a little bit better than the Acer (2.5 hours) but the 6 cell battery only adds .3 pounds while doubling the life to 5 hours. Having this extra battery life is such a luxury that I don't bring home my charger at night as having the two batteries is more than enough to last me until I return to work the next day. Because of its lighter weight and smaller form factor I do find myself taking it with me more than I did with the Acer, however, I still find myself leaving it in my office more than I thought I would. The three main reasons is that it is not pocketable, I still need to disconnect (and later reconnect) three cables (VGA, power, USB) and I need to manually switch the display from desktop to UMPC. A docking station and display autodetect would be nice.

A few posts later, after quite a bit of research, I listed nine criteria that I would compare the various UMPCs I was considering. Based on my research the Q1P seemed to be the best but lets look at each now that I have had a month of usage with my Q1P.

  1. The first item of the nine focused on the fact that I would be using the device as my primary computer and that I wanted to have enough processing power. For what I use it for, I haven't noticed any difference between the Q1P and my Acer. However, the Q1 had rev g WIFI while the Acer only had rev b and the increased speed is very noticable and very nice.
  2. The second item had to do with being mobile. As I mentioned above the Q1 has some drawbacks in size (not pocketable) and in a lack of a docking station (obstacle to taking it with me more). But the Q1 is an improvement over the Acer in this category.
  3. I thought vectoring when notetaking would be a problem but it really hasn't been. When taking notes I tend to leave my palms on the bevel around the screen and don't really give it much thought. However, I'm a light note taker and for someone else it may be more of an issue.
  4. I thought not having an integrated mouse wouldn't be an issue, but after using the device for a month it would be nice to have one. Many programs I use weren't designed for use with a UMPC, specifically various buttons or icons are small and difficult to click with a finger so I tend to use the pen quite a bit. When laying down its more comfortable to hold the device with two hands but when using the pen you have to hold it with only one so you can use the pen with the other. This is not always the most comfortable especially when in landscape orientation. An integrated mouse would take care of that problem.
  5. The fifth consideration was having a built in cam and gps. While it would be nice to have these built in features the lack of these has not been an issue as I don't really do any video conferencing or take on the spot snapshots nor have I ever used GPS except in a rental car many years ago.
  6. Item six had to do with screen size and that a 5" screen would be too small. The 7" screen has been fine as I've demonstrated with various videos. However, the benefit of the 5" screen would be that the device could be pocketable.
  7. Item seven covered port replicators. Not having one has not been a big deal but it does require me to remove two more connections. However, I am thinking of getting a bluetooth keyboard and mouse so that I would only need to connect the VGA cable and power cable.
  8. Not having an integrated keyboard has not been a big issue. When at home I tend to use the iGo foldable bluetooth keyboard even when sitting on the couch and its worked fine. Not as nice as the Acer with its integrated keyboard but worth having the smaller and lighter form factor of the Q1.
  9. Using EVDO has been an issue. The Q1 does not have a PC card slot so my Verizon card will not work. I bought the Sprint USB device but it sticks out too much from the device and most times, for a better connection, I would connect it with a USB cable. This setup just makes moving around difficult. So I actually just returned the Sprint card today. Perhaps a bluetooth connection to a EVDO phone would be better but having EVDO integrated into the device would be much better.
I will continue this one month usage review in upcoming posts.

Real Word Usage Reviews

I have had my Q1P for over a month and am compiling my thoughts and notes so a review will be coming forth shortly. In the mean time, here are two real world usage reviews. One is from Tracy Hooten a student who talks about using her Q1P at school and Mark from Ultranauts who took his Q1 to a business conference.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Surprise in my Inbox

Every Friday morning I get an email from the NY Times titled UrbanEye Weekend. It gives a listing of things to do in New York City for the weekend. One part is about shopping and usually it lists sample sales for designer clothing. To my surprise this week listed the Q1. Here is what they had to say.

Here is the link to a short but positive review.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Tracy Hooten Converted?

One of my first posts commented on a blog posting by Tracy Hooten from the StudentTabletPC site. She listed a number of reasons why she thought the UMPC was not a good choice for students. Well it turns out that Microsoft gave their Tablet MVPs (including Tracy) a Samsung Q1 and she now has good things to say about the device. I'm looking forward to hearing more about her impressions of the device as she uses it more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Power and Connectivity

I've been using a Novatel Wireless Ovation U720 broadband USB modem with Sprint's rev A EVDO service with my Q1P. I had been using a PC card with Verizon's rev 0 EVDO service with my Acer. The rev A is much faster and I have clocked download speeds over 1 MBps. However, the device is bulky compared to the Q1 and the USB physical connection is strained under the weight of the modem. To also counter RF interference I usually connect it with a USB cable. This setup is not ideal as I can't just walk around with the device without holding the modem. So I will most likely return the modem and look to get a phone that I can use along with bluetooth to connect to the EVDO service.

Just yesterday I received the 6 cell battery. This battery gives me over 4.5 hours and the cell gives me over 2.5 hours for a combined 7 hours. This allows me to not have to connect to the AC adaptor everytime I'm at my desk. So now I only have two connections when I'm at my desk, USB and the monitor. In addition, with all of this battery time, I don't need to lug my AC adaptor with me. When I leave work I just make sure I have both batteries charged and I know that in almost all cases, the 7 hours of battery life will more than get me through the evening at home.

I also weighed both batteries. The 3 cell weighs only .38 pounds and the 6 cell is almost double at .71. That puts the device with the extended battery at just over 2 pounds, still very light.

NY Times Reader Service Will No Longer Be Free

I am planning to make a video showing the usage of the NY Times Reader on my Q1P. Right now its a free service but not for much longer. I just received this email:

Dear Times Reader Beta Testers,

We want to thank you for your input during this free beta period. You and your fellow beta testers have been a great help in the development of Times Reader.

This note is to let you know that the beta period will be ending in two weeks. Times Reader will launch as a subscription service on March 27. It will cost $14.95 a month or $165 a year and will include access to TimesSelect and Premium Crosswords. Times Reader will be free to home delivery subscribers.

When we launch Times Reader, we will include many of your recommendations -- such as improvements to navigation, more keyboard shortcuts, and a 7-day archive. To thank you for your participation in the beta period, we are extending a special offer to you. Sign up before March 27 and receive 14 months for the price of 12.

Thank you again for participating in the beta period. We will continue to improve the Times Reader experience and welcome your feedback. If you'd like to receive updates about Times Reader, we invite you to sign up for the Times Reader e-mail newsletter.

Rob Larson

Vice President, Product Management and Development

Cool New York Times Web Site Feature

Just saw this on the New York Times web site. This is really cool. Just double click on a word and a definition will pop up. A bit off topic but very cool.


To find reference information about the words used in this article, double-click on any word, phrase or name. A new window will open with a dictionary definition or encyclopedia entry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

GPS on a Q1P or a Standalone Device?

CTitanic has posted a good review of three different navigation software programs and recommends iGuidance as the best for a UMPC. After reading the review I thought about buying the software and a separate GPS receiver as the Q1 does not have a built in GPS reciever. With the software costing $99 and a receiver such as the GlobalSat BT-338 costing $85 that would set me back $184. A TomTom One can be had for $299, only $115 more. So I'm wondering if in fact going with a dedicated unit would be the better value. What do you think?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is a 7" Screen Big Enough? Part 2 - Zinio Reader

Here is a look at running Zinio Reader on my Samsung Q1P.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Is a 7" Screen Big Enough? Part 1 - Firefox

As I reported in one of my first postings, I was concerned that a 7" screen may be too small. Over the last 10 days of using my Q1P, I have to say the small screen has not been a problem at all. Here is a video of how the screen looks surfing the internet with Firefox.

My Desktop Setup

One of the downsides I noted before about the Q1 is the lack of a port replicator and docking station. Since I alternate between using the device by itself and at my desk attached to an external monitor, I wanted to make the switch as easy as possible. With my Acer tablet, it was easy, just disconnect (or connect) the tablet from the port replicator cable.

For the Q1 I've been able to cut the number of connections to 3 :

  1. power
  2. external monitor
  3. USB devices

Currently I have the standard battery but with the 6 cell battery, I think I can eliminate the power connection during the day at least half of the time. The USB connection goes to a 4:1 USB hub to which I have my printer, external hard drive and wireless keyboard/mouse connected. For internet connection I use WiFi so no wired connection for that.

Still not as nice as my old Acer setup but so far doable.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ouch! Courtesy of David Pogue

Interesting video from David Pogue of the New York Times. He basically bashes the UMPC.

Its the one titled a 'One Morning at Microsoft'.

Updated links. Just go to the bottom of the page to the video section.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First Impressions!

My Q1P arrived on Friday. I spent most of the afternoon setting it up and have used it over the long weekend to browse the internet, check email and read my feeds. I haven't been in the office yet so I can't comment on that experience. Here are my first impressions.
  1. I was impressed that Samsung included a USB cable with software for transferring files from my Acer to the Q1. Nice touch! I also like the included neoprene pouch for the Q1.
  2. Even though I have had one in my hand, I was still impressed how much smaller it is than my Acer. Just having them side by side really hit the point home.
  3. The screen is great. Photos and videos look great on the screen and I think the view angle is definitely better than on my Acer.
  4. Touch is amazing. I really didn't think much about having the touch screen, in fact I thought it would be a distraction but it is a rush to be able to move items around with your fingers. Of course this could just be a novelty!
  5. Inking hasn't been a problem. I find it easy to keep my palm on the edges when I'm inking.
  6. I haven't timed it but it seems the battery is lasting me about 3 hours.
  7. At first, I was not happy with the smudge marks. The one I saw at the Samsung store was all smudged up but I figured that was because hundreds of people were holding it every day. So when I saw my finger marks after just a few holdings, I was not happy. However, over the weekend it seems to not be as markable. Perhaps I'm getting used to it or the material adapts to it.
  8. It seems a bit slower than I had hoped but this is mostly when the Q1 needs to access the hard drive.
  9. The device is very, very quiet and doesn't heat up much at all, especially compared to my Acer.
  10. The audio is very good, both the speakers and the microphones. My recorded voice sounded crisp and clear when sitting in front of the device.
  11. I have the b version of WIFI on my Acer so the speed of the g version on the Q1 blew me away!
  12. I haven't yet found a comfortable way to hold the device with one hand.
  13. After setting up my U2 key to be my F11, I find working with the smaller screen no problem. Having programs in full screen mode really makes the difference. I also like how Google reader and the NY Times reader reformats to fit the screen. Too bad more programs aren't tailored to smaller screens.
Thanks to Mark for posting some tips on software utilities. I am already using uRotate which is excellent.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I've Decided!

I just placed an order for the Samsung Q1P from NewEgg! No Vista! I decided on this Samsung primarily because of the processing power and the lack of complaints about performance on battery and the existing extended battery options. However, I will miss the docking station capability that the Tabletkiosk offered.

I also ordered the Think Outside Sierra Bluetooth keyboard.

Hopefully I will have the device Friday but in any case I'll continue to blog about my 'search' for the best setup for my new UMPC.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

XP or Vista

One reason I decided to blog about searching for a UMPC was the time I would have available waiting for Vista to be released. But now some UMPC users are recommending sticking with XP. So while deciding on which UMPC to get I also need to think about which OS to get. I guess I'll start reading these sites for more insights:

Origami Project Forum discussion
Thoughtfix's posting 'The "OW!" starts now: Don't buy Vista for your UMPC'

More Info on the i7210

While trying to find more information on the i7210's processing performance while on battery power, I found this review on It was written after two months of usage and it does not speak well of this device's processing power when on battery power. More to think about.

Also, a comment was made on my last post stating that there will not be an extended battery for the i7210 because the increased size will be a problem fitting the device into the docking station.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Q1P v. i7210: Round 3

So the Q1P took the lead on processing power (at least on battery) and battery life while the i7210 took the lead on having an integrated mouse, cam and having a port replicator and docking station. But lets take a closer look.

The integrated mouse and cam are not that important for me. But having a docking station, a capable processor and good battery life are.

The docking station is huge. As I first stated, I wanted to go with a lighter and smaller form factor device than my Acer C110 so that I would be more likely to take the device with me around the office. However without the port replicator, I will have to disconnect and reconnect the monitor, power supply, wireless keyboard and mouse USB connection, external speaker connection and printer. I can probably use a USB hub and combine the USB connections to one. But that still leaves four connections, power, one USB, speakers and monitor. This is a huge impediment and becomes a big plus for the i7210. But its never that simple. The i7210 does not have a VGA out port so I would need to buy an second docking station, one for home and one for work.

Battery life is also huge for me. While the Q1P has better battery life and an optional 6 cell battery I feel confident the i7210 will have an extended battery available in the near future.

Processing power is also important to me to since I plan on using this device as my primary computer. While it appears the i7210 has a slower processer speed on battery, I probably would be on AC power when doing any heavy computing.

So with this analysis, it seems the i7210 might better meet my needs but at a higher price, approximately $300 more (including the extra port replicator).

Q1P v. i7210: Round 2

Lets compare these two devices on the nine points I listed in a previous post.

1. Processing power: The specs are the same for both except that supposedly the 7210 has a reduction in processing speed when on battery, dropping from 1 GHz to 800 MHz. I say supposedly because this is not mentioned on the Tabletkiosk website. I actually read about this in the Origami Project forums. Winner Q1P

2. Battery Life: The Samsung website states the battery life as 'up to 5 hours'. Tabletkiosk does not state a time. JKK ran Battery Eater tests on both. These tests are meant to demonstrate worst case conditions. The Q1P came in at 2:38 and the 7210 at 1:32. Kevin Tofel ran the test on his Q1P resulting in 1:56. The Q1P has an extended battery available, the 7210 does not. Mugen also makes a 9 cell battery for the Q1P. Winner Q1P

3. Vectoring Issues: Both have a touch screen rated at 80 g so no difference here. Tie.

4. Integrated mouse. The 7210 has an integrated mouse, the Q1 doesn't. There is a software fix that allows Q1 users to use the joy stick as a pointer but it gets mixed reviews. Winner 7210

5. Cam, GPS: The 7210 has a built in webcam. Winner 7210

6. Screen size: Both have a 7" screen. Tie.

7. Port Replicator: 7210 has one, Q1P does not. However, the 7210 does not have an ethernet nor a VGA out port on the device itself. Winner 7210

8. Integrated keyboard: Neither device has this. Tie.

9. Built in WWAN: Neither device has this. Tie.

So that's 2 wins for the Q1P, 3 for the 7210 and 4 ties.

So it looks like the 7210 comes out ahead just based on the numbers. I'll analyze these results in the next blog. Some items are more important than others.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Carrypad Summary of UMPCs

This is a link to a great summary of UMPCs available.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Q1P v. i7210: Round 1

Here are the basic comparisons:

i7210: $1,399
  • 1.0 GHz Intel® Pentium® M ULV, 2 MB L2 cache, 400 MHz Front Side Bus
  • 1024 MB (1 GB) DDR2-400 RAM
  • 60GB Hard Disk Drive
Q1P: $1,249
  • 1.0 GHz Intel Pentium M ULV
  • 1 GB DDR2
  • 60 GB Hard Disk Drive

First Round Cuts

I've looked at quite a few of the UMPCs out there over the last twenty odd posts so its getting time to make some decisions. So here are my thoughts so far:

  1. First, I will be using this device as my primary computer so want to have enough power, so I think I will settle on a UMPC with a Pentium M chip and at least 1 G of RAM.
  2. I want to be mobile, ie not always being plugged in so battery life over 3 hours on the main battery is a plus.
  3. I want to ink and take notes so a device where I can manage the possibility of vectoring is important.
  4. An integrated mouse is not important to me since I am very use to the Tablet format where there is no integrated mouse available in slate mode. So while this was important to some reviewers its not for me.
  5. Built in cam would be nice but not a must. Same for GPS.
  6. No 5" screen for me. Just too small. Though I do like the fact that those devices can fit in many pockets that the 7" screen devices can't.
  7. A port replicator is not a must but a huge plus. I will be using it at work as my desktop and it would be nice to just have to make one connection instead of one for power, one for the external speakers, one for the external monitor and one for a USB hub.
  8. An integrated keyboard is not important unless its full size. I'm a good typer and prefer a full size keyboard. So no matter what device I'll decide upon, I'm sure a bluetooth foldable keyboard will do the trick.
  9. Need a way to connect using EVDO. Now that Verizon and Sprint have a USB device, I'm set no matter what device I get. However, a device with build in EVDO would be nice.
Based on these nine items, I think the finalists would be the Samsung Q1P and the Tabletkiosk i7210.

Medion RIM 1000 UMPC

This UMPC was unveiled recently at CES in Las Vegas. It is similar in size to the Q1 and R2H but has a 6.5" screen and a slide out keyboard. Check out this video and Kevin Tofel's comments on the specifications.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


A few people have recommended I consider the OQO. Its a smaller device than the other three I've looked at so far having a 5" screen. While I thought anything smaller than 7" would be too small, I want to keep an open mind so I checked out a few good video reviews.

Mip reviews the gen 1 OQO
GottaBeMobile's Interview with OQO's VP Marketing (gen 2)
Engadget's Interview with OQO's CEO (gen 2)


I've covered three UMPCs so far and thought now would be a good time to list some videos where they are compared to one another. I'll weigh in with my thoughts in another post.

Hugo Ortega compares the R2H, Q1 and three different eos
Dennis Rice and Warner Crocker compare the R2H and Q1
Hugo compares the Q1 and eo

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tabletkiosk eo UMPCs

Tabletkiosk's eo UMPC comes in three version, the i7210, i7209 and the v7110. The v7110 is the least expensive being listed as $899 and has a 1 GHz Via processor. The i7209 is listed for $1,099 and comes with a 900 MHz Celeron processor. The i7210 is listed for $1,399 and has a 1 GHz Pentium M processor.

The form factors for all three are the same and some models come in both black and white. The big plus, for those that value built in mouse capability, is that these models have just that as opposed to the Q1. And that can be the deciding factor as was the case for Dennis Rice and Warner Crocker as shown in this video. While there are no VGA out port nor ethernet port on the devices, these devices do come with a portable docking station that has these ports and more.

Check out these other videos for some good demos of these UMPCs:

An early review (April 2006) by Dennis Rice
Dennis Rice reviews the i7210
Hugo Ortego reviews the i7210
jkk review of the i7210