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

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why did Kevin Tofel Choose the Q1?

In an earlier posting I listed the UMPCs used by various bloggers. Since then I came across this posting by Kevin Tofel stating the reasons he chose the Q1. Interesting read.


In a recent post I mentioned my concern of UMPCs not having a PC card slot since I connect to Verizon's EVDO service using that slot on my Acer tablet. Thoughtfix blogged about Sprints rev A USB device and since Verizon recently announced they will offer the same device my issue of having to buy a EVDO capable phone is now mute.

Hands on Experience with a Q1

Today I went to the Samsung demo store at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Great store. You can see lots of Samsung devices, especially those not sold here in the US.

I was able to ink on a Q1 in landscape mode. As I started to ink, right away, I encountered vectoring. But then, with just a little thought about keeping my palm on the plastic border around the screen I was able to ink with no problems. Though it would be nice to have a unit for a day and see if I could get through a typical work day without experiencing vectoring.

In this video, about minute 8, JKK demonstrates that the same thing can be done on a Tabletkiosk EO i7210 in both portrait and landscape mode to avoid vectoring.

So my search will continue!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Vectoring - Hands on Evaluation Needed

After reviewing the R2H and the Q1 and watching many videos, including about the eo, I am even more concerned about the vectoring issue. Some bloggers state it's a problem and they either don't ink much like Dennis Rice or they have a UMPC with a hard touch display (R2H) like Warner Crocker and Matt Faulkner. Others such as Hugo Ortega and Kevin Tofel have the Q1 but seem to work around the vectoring issue and still ink alot by keeping their palm off of the screen.

So while I was hoping to conduct this search without actually holding a UMPC in my hands but rather relying on all of the great information on the net including some great videos, I will now have to stop by the Samsung store in New York and evaluate the Q1 specifically for vectoring or hopefully the lack of it when I ink with the device. Hopefully I'll fall into the Hugo and Kevin camp because I am starting to lean towards the Q1 for reasons I'll blog more about in future posts.

For those of you who forgot or don't know what vectoring is check out Hugo's video.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

UMPC Primer from ThoughtFix

ThoughtFix at UltramobileGeek wrote an excellent primer for those who recently have come into possession of a UMPC. Great Post!

How am I doing?

How am I doing so far? Any advice on how to make this blog better? Any advice on how to improve my search? I'm all ears so please post comments.