Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why a UMPC?

The main thing pointing me towards a UMPC is its light weight and small form factor. I have only held one UMPC and that was the Samsung Q1. It seems to be one of the larger and heavier ones but it still felt light enough to read while laying down and holding it above me. I could also see myself wanting to pick it up and carry it with me around the office at work. Even though it is only a half pound lighter than my Acer, that half pound coupled with the form factor seems to make all the difference. In addition, looking at my Acer's screen in the portrait mode hurts my eyes so I usually use it in the landscape mode. This is only a problem when trying to hold the Acer with one hand. The extra length and hence weight away from the hand makes it feel heavier than when holding it in portrait mode.

The smaller screen sizes, in the case of the Q1 7" screen, doesn't seem to be too much of an issue. The Acer has a 10" screen which is a problem for me when using multiple windows. There is just not enough real estate. But to solve that problem I think I would need at least a 15" screen or larger. After I bought my tablet, four others at work bought tablets too so I've been able to try out larger tablets than my Acer. While the larger screens are nice, the added size and weight would further discourage me from taking the device with me, even just around the office. So while going to a smaller screen seems counter intuitive, I think the 7" screen will not be much worse for me than the 10" screen but the smaller form factor and weight that a 7" screen gives me are big pluses that outweigh the disadvantages of the smaller screen. Plus when I really need the extra real estate I'm usually at my desk connected to my desktop monitor. As a side note, I have seen the Sony device with the 5" screen and I think that will just be too small for my needs when away from the external monitor.

Of course having bluetooth, a brighter screen and longer battery life are all improvements I should be able to find in a UMPC, I can also find those items in a new Tablet. Which leads me to this article by Tracy Hooten at the Student Tablet PC blog; I Just Don't Get the Point of a UMPC.

I'll talk about the points Tracy makes and why I still will continue my search for a UMPC that will meet my needs in my next post.

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