Final thoughts: Mac OS X on a UMPC

Inkinosxonq1upWow, I had only planned to leave OS X Leopard on my Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium for a few days and it’s been about two weeks. That alone probably says something right there.In any case, it’s time to say good-bye and get another operating system on the device. Some thoughts…

  • Using the device with OS X can be likened to using the same device with XP from a performance standpoint. It runs fast… faster overall than with Vista from my observations. Everything is snappy. Boot time is 35 seconds.
  • If Apple ever makes a touch-screen Tablet-like computer, they’ll have to tweak the OS X interface. The buttons at the top left of every window are too small, for example. Vista is actually better in this regard. Same with the width of the scroll bars; they’re just too small to quickly use a stylus or pen. I found myself using a mouse much more in OSX than with Windows.
  • I ran into far fewer dialog boxes that didn’t fit on the 1024 x 600 screen using OSX than I typically do with Windows.
  • Did I mention how fast everything runs?
  • I saw no significant difference in terms of battery drain
  • I wish I had the time to get the WiFi and a few other things working. Sleep would be nice; the device goes to sleep nearly instantaneously (faster than any device I have using Windows), but I can only speculate how quickly it resumes. When I resume, all of the hardware indicator lights appear, but the backlighting never activates, so I have to shut down and reboot. (In 35 seconds… oh wait, I already mentioned that).
  • As it stands now, here’s how I’d rate the inking experience between three operation systems: far and away: Vista offers the best experience. XP Tablet Edition comes in second and OS X is a distant third.
  • Answering a question from a prior comment: you can output to a second monitor through the UMPC’s VGA port. My second monitor runs a native res of 1440 x 900 and it was drop-dead simple to add and arrange the second monitor.

Now that the experiment is over, I’m comfortable saying that Apple could offer a touchscreen UMPC running OS X if they spent just a little time optimizing for the small screen. The device would likely run quite snappy with the right combination of CPU, graphics and memory. Although I tested this with 2 GB of RAM, I did quite a bit of CPU and memory monitoring. I believe that the experience would be average or better on 1 GB of RAM whereas my personal Vista experiences on 1 GB have been less than optimal. I’d never say that the experience rivals that of my Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with 3 GB of memory, but to be honest, the difference in the experience isn’t as much as you’d think.

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