UMPC on the road

I said earlier that I was taking a Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC to India, in place of my tablet PC. I also said that I would let folks know how I got on with it.

The answers is, very well. When using it the biggest problem is the small screen. This is a major irritation and, although it doesn't actually stop you from doing anything, it does slow you down a bit and make it a bit harder to get things done. However, I don't really think that this is a problem. The whole point of the UMPC is that you would have it with you in situations where you would not want to have to carry a laptop, so in reality it is competing with nothing, not a notebook.

As a general computing device it is absolutely fine. Rock solid. More than responsive enough for general work and watching films. The little fan turns on every now and then to keep things cool, and from a hardware point of view it is absolutely top notch.  I bought the case and keyboard with goes with it, which makes using it in the field a lot easier. The keyboard has one of those pointing things in the middle which you can use as a mouse, and this works very well. I've not had one of these before, but I'm kind of a convert now. The only problem was that for the first hour or so I kept hitting the mouse buttons below the space bar, but I learned not to after a while.

I was able to use mains for most of the trip, but when I couldn't I was easily getting 2 hours of battery life out of the machine. That was whilst using WIFI and with no particular powersaving options set.

One the way back I was forced to put the device into my suitcase rather than carry it onto the plane. I was much more relaxed about doing this with the Q1; the device weighs so little it would not really be able to damage itself if it moved around in the case. As it turned out I was right, no trouble at all.

I really like the Q1 very much. When I got back to the UK the RAM upgrade that I had ordered was in the pile of post and I have now upgraded it to 1GB of memory. This is very easy to do and makes a huge difference to performance. I would be quite happy to have this as my main computer. I have monitors and keyboards at work and home and carrying the Q1 between the two is much easier than transporting the tablet I usually lug around. Only the slightly small 40GB disk makes this a bit tricky, but at present I'm considering how I'm going to manage all the PCs I seem to own, and put into place some kind of file sharing/sycnchronisation technology to address storage anyway.

One thing I have not done much, but will in the future, is use the UMPC as a lifestyle type device. I've put the Slingplayer software on it, so I can use it to watch TV as a client to my Slingbox (this works a treat) and I'm loading it up with some videos and music.  I'm also going to try out the tablet nature of the device and play with the touch keyboard. Great stuf.