So I’m nearing 60-days of living in a web browser. Yup, for 97% of my time over the last two months, I’ve been using Firefox on my Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium UMPC and have been quite happy. There’s still a few activities where I need a […]


So I’m nearing 60-days of living in a web browser. Yup, for 97% of my time over the last two months, I’ve been using Firefox on my Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium UMPC and have been quite happy. There’s still a few activities where I need a client application and perhaps the UMPC is overkill for my usage scenario. Then again, maybe it’s not. Remember that I’ve upgraded the RAM from 1- to 2 GB in my device, and it does have a 1.33 GHz Core Solo that runs for 5 to 6 hours. This setup actually works quite well for me when I’m out and about or when I’m at the home office driving a 24-inch monitor at 1920 x 1200 resolution. There’s times when things seem to come to a halt, but it’s not that often. Overall, the experience has been more positive than I expected and I don’t fell like I’m missing all that much in terms of apps or functionality.

So now I’m on the fence with all of the netbooks out there. In fact, I’m wondering if I need one at all at this point due to a few questions I have. Will an Intel Atom or VIA Nano device perform as well as my Core Solo or will Firefox be choking on my my all-day, multi-tab usage? How many netbook batteries will I need to have the same 10 to 12 hours of runtime that I enjoy today with the two 6-cell batteries? Part of my web-only challenge was to see if a meager netbook could actually meet my needs, but perhaps the activity has proved to me that what I’m using today is more than adequate.

I’m still in the early evaluation stages at this point, especially because the netbook market continues to grow wildly in terms of product choices. I do know that I really don’t need a Core 2 Duo notebook for what I do. I have that in the MacBook Pro, but that device isn’t nearly as portable, nor does it run for hours and hours. I love my MBP, but it’s effectively become a desktop replacement for me: only getting used at home and even then, just for limited activities like podcast and video production plus photo imaging. But even photo imaging is starting to migrate to the cloud for me.

Honestly, any netbook right now will be hard pressed to beat my UMPC. The biggest difference between any netbook and my current device is the price: the UMPC cost me between two and four times any of the netbooks out there. Still, I enjoyed the Asus Eee PC 701 while I had it and comparable, new devices are much improved, so I’m still tempted. I’ll definitely be waiting to see what Dell releases in a few weeks, but for now, I’m making a list of pros / cons / needs. I know that’s the logical thing to do, but I’m afraid that when all is said and done, my current mobile device will meet or exceed everything on that list!

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  1. How much do you plan on using the device?

  2. Kevin C. Tofel Monday, August 4, 2008

    I’d like to be able to use the device for the same amount of time I use my current one: 10-12 hours. In this line of work, there’s no such thing as an 8-hour day and I like the freedom of not needing an AC adapter.

  3. I guess I’m thinking more in terms of, where would this device be in your chain of devices?



    Only when you travel?

  4. Steve ‘Chippy’ Paine Monday, August 4, 2008

    As for cost, just think about the times and places you’d be more productive with the Q1 than with a netbook. As a business user, it’s easy to justify the cost of a UMPC.
    Think ‘fingerprint reader’ = security. Battery life = productivity.
    As long as you don’t do any lap work, the modular approach with Ultra Premium + Keyboard is perfect. I can’t think of a reason to use a netbook. Just imagine if the Q1 ULtra had a decent docking station!

    Well done on the 60-day no-app project. Have you reached a point of diminishing returns? (Photo apps in the cloud not so efficient perhaps. Photo editing restrictive? Online WYSIWYG editors starting to feel cramped?)


  5. Kevin C. Tofel Monday, August 4, 2008

    I really don’t want many devices, I try to keep my usage to one dedicated home machine and one home/travel machine. I don’t have any devices that I only use when I travel, for example.

  6. Kevin C. Tofel Monday, August 4, 2008

    Steve, I’m in general agreement with you thoughts but we unsurprisingly have different needs/requirements in terms of location. I notice that you make a distinction between “lap work” and other scenarios. I’m not sure that I do. I often use the Q1UP while sitting in a chair, i.e.: without a work surface to put the unit down. That’s where inking can be useful to me. However, I generally don’t create content with a device on my lap. I tend to consume it, so the Q1UP works well for me in that use case.

    Many cloud apps are still limited in function so if I want to do something VERY specific, there are times that I still MUST use a client app. My photos are shot in RAW, for example… can’t do anything with those on the web. I’ve worked exclusively in WYSIWYG editors since I started blogging in 2004, so there’s no issue there either. I’ve often looked at offline editing apps, but they didn’t give me enough reason to switch I guess. ;)

  7. dennisvjames Monday, August 4, 2008

    I am very interested in hearing more about the inking. I see a lot of reviews but few about using the Q1UP in real life situations. Can you see this being used every day as a note-taker, Web browser, word and maybe light excel machine? How much do you ink each day? How quickly can you do it with Q1UP? How accurate is it with Vista? Do you use OneNote? So it’s not an active digitizer (neither is the Fujitsu P1620, but that’s going to cost $3K ). You get where I’m coming from, in the end, it’s cool to have great technology, but I really want to graduate to a low weight (under 2.5 pounds) fairly powerful machine with good battery power (hey if I can get 5 hours that would be great – 7 would be ideal). BTW, I’ve been using a Nokia N800 as a browser, and it works incredibly well for answering email and other light stuff like that (with the Apple Bluetooth keyboard – tho most of the time I just use my finger or stylus). That showed me that I could leave my laptop at home and still get work done. Now I’m looking for something a little more powerful. thanks for the great info!


  8. I see.

    That being the case, I’d really take a look at the keyboards before purchasing. For a primary device, to me, that’s the most important feature of these netbooks. I only say this because I’ve been on both sides of this coin, and when it’s bad, it’s really bad.

    Currently, I use and HP Mininote. As James has said, the keyboard is excellent. I use mine 8 hours a day with no adverse affects.

    I moved to this machine from the Eee Pc. The primary reason being, the keyboard on the Eee Pc was giving me some pretty bad RSI problems. These small keyboards make it so you have to contort your hands in an unnatural way. The negative affect it can have on your hands and forearms can be pretty drastic.

    So, keep that in mind on your search.

    Battery-wise, I get about two hours out of mine. That’s with the slim three cell battery. HP claims you can get 4.5 out of the 6 cell, but we all know how accurate manufacturer specs can be.

    To me, this HP isn’t the be all end all of mobile computing. But, because of the keyboard, it has me in a position where I don’t feel the need to upgrade.

  9. Yeah, but how do these things perform when running Flash 9 applications? Have you really tested out multiple sites that use Flash 9 as their base? I have and they stink. 100% utilization at times. I love the form factor but hate the performance….. and battery life…. What happens when Flash 10 comes out? As background, I am using MSI Wind.

  10. I’m also trying to downsize and recently ebayed my Vista Media Center. Right now my only computer is a MacBook Pro (which belongs to my employer). I’m thinking 24″ iMac for desk and one of these Dell, Lenevo, etc 10″ laptops for mobile stuff. Kevin’s a beast, but I just can’t function without a built in keyboard and have no desire to lug an accessory along. Maybe Apple will finally give in an provide a 12″ (or less) laptop…

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