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.