Samsung Q1 review
Samsung wasn’t only one of the first to announce a UMPC, but also the first to get us a fully working unit. Amazingly, it survived our torturous benchmark tests without overheating, but the 900MHz Celeron M ULV processor and 512MB of RAM gave an overall score of only 0.27. Multitasking was a particular weak point. It felt fine while handling documents and web browsing though, with Windows only occasionally feeling sluggish.
Our intensive battery test yielded just two hours on a charge – and that’s without the integrated WLAN or Bluetooth on. Lighter use gave just shy of three hours, with that falling to two-and-a-half with WLAN enabled. It isn’t appalling, but not hugely practical either.
On the hardware side, there’s an ‘auto scaler’ button, toggling between the native 800 x 480 resolution to 800 x 600 and 1,024 x 600 for applications that won’t scale down. Unlike the Vusys model, the joystick acts as cursor keys rather than controlling the mouse, with the two buttons on the right of the screen acting as Enter and Menu keys. The latter brings up a console for adjusting settings, as well as information such as battery status. The four-way rocker switch is assignable to individual programs, but there’s no dedicated keyboard key. You can access Windows Task Manager via a button on top, but it’s curiously accessible only with the stylus.
There’s a VGA output supporting displays of up to 2,048 x 1,536, plus 10/100 Ethernet and a USB 2 port on each side. The mains adaptor attaches to the right-hand side, and there’s also a power output for accessories. Sadly, that doesn’t include a docking station, but current plans include GPS and car-mounting kits and a compact keyboard. A nifty slide-out stand at the back will tilt the unit for watching video with the unit on a desk, and there’s a headphone socket and volume buttons on the left side. Storage is handled by a 40GB hard disk, and a CompactFlash slot on top.
Samsung has installed its AV Station ‘instant on’ media-centre software, accessed by flipping the three-position power switch on the top. This runs on top of XP and booting it takes about 35 seconds, so it isn’t a tremendous time-saver over Windows itself, plus there’s limited codec support.
Much kudos to Samsung for actually producing a device so soon after launch, although the control system does need a little work. It isn’t overly expensive though, and if you can appreciate the product for what it is – a well-built and attractive ultraportable tablet – then it may be your perfect mobile partner.