Walt Mossberg disses the Samsung Q1

19 Comments

Walt Mossberg has written a review of the Samsung Q1 in The Wall Street Journal and not surprisingly he has problems with the UMPC.  Like other reviewers who don’t understand the platform one of his biggest problems with the Q1 is the lack of a keyboard.  He does mention you can connect an external keyboard to the Q1 but that it makes the device “ungainly”.  When are reviewers going to wake up to the fact that to make a true ultra-mobile device you have to ditch some components that you usually find in notebook computers.  It doesn’t have a DVD drive in it either, but if you start putting every component you normally find in notebook computers into ultra-mobile devices they quickly become not very ultra-mobile.  I much prefer to have a tiny core system with portable peripherals that I can carry or not as the situation warrants which means that the vast majority of the usage time I have the smallest package possible in my hands.

Mossberg’s main complaint about the Samsung Q1 is price, at $1099 he feels it is too expensive compared to laptop prices.  ORIGAMIS ARE NOT LAPTOPS.  They don’t even try to be but too many people are comparing the Origami prices to those of cheapo laptops.  You cannot carry a laptop half the places you can carry an Origami.  Period.  Walt does point out that ultra-portable laptops do tend to cost twice the price of the Q1 so he kind of kills off his own “too expensive” argument, at least in my view.

I am pretty sure that Mossberg has not carried the Q1 around for a few days and actually used one in practice.  Unfortunately this is what it takes for users to “see the light” about the utility and versatility of these small Tablet PCs.  I will be so glad when Origamis start shipping en masse and we start getting real hands-on reviews by the owners who obviously get it.

-jk

19 Comments

sunil

just bought a q1 and am delighted with it. umpcs have some way to go in usability improvements of the os – at moment its just a tiny pc. better screen resolutions and paper white displays are needed for these to gain mass appeal. myq1 satisfies my needs – small concealable pc that can be used in the living
room.

Scott Guthrie

For about $700 more, he should just buy a Fujitsu P1500…then he can have his keyboard and stop complaining.

Rob

“I’ll be honest, I had plans on getting one for my wife (when it was advertised to be between $500.00 to $1,000). I haven’t seen any to justify the $1,000.00 that the manufacturers are asking.”

Exactly, that 1000$ price point is the key. Get in the target range, and I’m there. If we do ever see the cPc with GSM, then I’ll go higher.

Dwight Silverman

JK:

Don’t presume Walt hasn’t used this day to day. He reviews in a similar fashion to the way I do … he actually uses the stuff. Of course, if he finds it klunky or frustrating to use, he’s going to say that.

I have not tried one of these yet, and I’m looking forward to it. But I think it’s just obvious that $1,000 is too much for something like this, just as it’s obvious that the price is going to come down fast. The frantic gotta-have-it-first adopters will buy it at any price, helping pay off the R&D, so us poor regular slobs can have them at more reasonable prices. Ever was it thus.

bobm

Well, I like gadgets a lot, but the price/feature set for these just don’t thrill me. I think the Pepperpad (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009AFX0S/sr=1-1/qid=1146769761/ref=sr_1_1/104-8829955-1275133?%5Fencoding=UTF8&s=pc) is a good example of failure in this market segment. It seems to have died out pretty much.

I have/had the Epod, smart phones (2), a Vadem Clio (pretty cool when it worked), a bunch of palm/handsprings, an avertec tablet (way too hot running), a fujitsu p1120 (nice and small) and bunches and bunches of laptops. I’m hoping it will drop to the 500-600 price range but at over 1k I’ll probably pass and start saving for the mythical tablet.

Mark Sumimoto (Sumocat)

“When are reviewers going to wake up…”
Most reviewers will never “wake up”. Remember, most of these guys sit at a flat surface, type all day, and never go out to find news. They are office journalists, not field journalists. If a field journalist reviewed a UMPC, we’d be more likely to be given an account of actual mobile use, possibly delivered from the device itself as it is being used. That’s the kind of review I’d like to see.

Tablet PC User

Let’s face it, it will be hard for parents to justify spending so much money for a UMPC when a Vista ready tablet can be purchased for a few $$ more, or even a vista ready laptop for the same price! Samsung and the rest of early UMPC manufactures have totally missed the view that MS had for the origami. Hence, it will be a select few that will purchase them since the cost-to-value factor is very low for the 1st gen UMPC (you can’t even get a full day of work done with 2/3 hrs of battery).

I’ll be honest, I had plans on getting one for my wife (when it was advertised to be between $500.00 to $1,000). I haven’t seen any to justify the $1,000.00 that the manufacturers are asking.

If some manufacturer (hey, even Microsoft) wants to make tons of $$ for these UMPCs, sell one between $500.00-$700.00 and you’ll have at least 20-50 customers that I already know of!

Scotty

The UMPC’s get compared to laptops precisely because Microsoft spec’d them out of Notebook technology and added nothing.

Since there is no innovation to distinguish them from their laptop roots people will, correctly in my opinion, continue to view them as nothing more than over-priced mini-laptops.

That no tier one maker has announced a product in the space is also hurting the credibility of the platform.

I hop on the 15 hour 747 ride from SFO to HKG in 48 hours and even if FedEx dropped a Q1 on my desk this morning I wouldn’t be packing it along. The Q1 is not even close, much less superior, to my Sony EBR-1000 and 5G iPod. To get traction in the ultra mobile space it needs to be capable of replacing some of these devices, and it isn’t.

Walt may have cited some weaker reasons for not buying but he got the overall picture right. :-)

Ross

Sorry, I was referring to small 12″ laptops not “mini’s” as there is no portability advantage of the UMPC over “mini’s”, only cost vs. power. Dave’s right, it’s not for the mainstream although if the price drops to around 600-700 bucks it has a chance.

Dave Zatz

The UMPC market is a niche within a niche… they’re not for mainstream consumers as mainstream media is pointing out. Personally, I have no desire for one and doubt they will be big seller. I’d rather have a convertible tablet to use in whichever form is appropriate for the setting.. I want fewer devices, not more.

Anton P. Nym

I’m starting to classify reviews like that as “And A Pony” reviews; they start piling up lists of things that aren’t on a model without stopping to consider how practical it would be to include them, sort of like a kid’s Santa list.

Of course, WSJ isn’t exactly a hot-bed of first-adopter types; they’ll recognise success after it has struck (witness their full-page article on Machinima last year, of all things) but aren’t always the fastest on picking up what will work in the future and what won’t. (I’m not a subscriber, so I can’t search their archives to be certain, but I seem to recall them dissing iPods in roughly the same manner.)

— Steve

Steve Paine

Hi JK.
You’re right about the quality of these early reviews. A lot of them are the same. They are reviewed by people who simply compare them to what they know and seem to have tried the device, photographed it and written the article in less than a day.
I can’t help thinking though that the keyboard IS going to be an issue. I, for one, am not that interested in having to write with a pen again. (To be brutally honest, my writing skills are now almost non-existant. I wrote three birthday cards this morning and my hand started to ache!!!) A report I heard on the radio last month in the UK said that only 20% of text is done with pen and paper. The rest is keyboard input.
The dial-keys will work for simple input but people will need to use these devices for advanced text input and without some sort of flip-down, snap-on or stowable keyboard, it will be hard to justify. OK, one can buy an third-party keyboard but one of the target markets is the lifestyle market (2nd PC at home for living room, bedroom, car etc.) where style is very very important. Taking a folding keyboard out of your rucksack and plugging it (or new batteries) in, is time consuming and clumsy.

Sorry for long comment!!

Regards
Steve.

Ben Reierson

I completely agree with JK here. I much prefer carrying around the U750P with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for when I need them, which is not all that often.

jk

The only devices that are even close in portability are the OQO at close to $2,000 and the DualCor cPC which hasn’t appeared in public yet but was reported to be a $1,500 device. The OQO keyboard is not appropriate for heavy text entry anyway. Mini-notebooks are pretty much restricted to Asia and are almost always well over $2,000.

Ross

“ORIGAMIS ARE NOT LAPTOPS”

Correct, and they shouldn’t be priced like one. With the exception of increased portability and affordable tablet functionality the Q1 does not offer enough to offset the lack of power and keyboard input of other mini-notebooks at that price point for the majority of consumers. Get it to the $700 range and it’s a different story.

Having said all that I still want one bad! :-)

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