Tuesday, April 17, 2007

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog thanks ...I love my laptop even more since I downloaded Satellite TV on your PC I cant leave home with out it. You got to love all this new technology.