10 things I don’t like about the Samsung Q1

21 Comments

Q1_video_3Yesterday’s post about another happy Q1 owner unintentionally solicited comments from many other happy Q1 owners, which I love to see. Now that I’ve had the device for five weeks and have relatively sung the praises, I have to do the fair thing and list the few things I don’t like. All in all, I’m thrilled with the purchase or I wouldn’t have switched away from my Toshiba M205 Tablet PC. Like everything, however, there’s two sides to every story so here’s my list for your prospective Q1 buyers. Hopefully, Samsung will take note of this feedback, as well as feedback from others, and make the next gen Q1 (the Q2?) even better! Eat your heart out David Letterman…here’s my "Top 10 List".

1. Resuming from Standby turns the WiFi radio back on. This is by default and when I don’t need the WiFi radio on, I use the Samsung touchscreen option to turn it off and save a little power. If I turn the radio off, enter Standby and then resume from Standby, the WiFi radio is turned back on. This adds extra steps to go back and turn it off, which is a time waster. Buried in the BIOS is an option to leave the WiFi as it was when resuming from Standby. I didn’t see any mention of this in the user manual and if this is truly a consumer and companion device, I’d like to see this option mentioned in a future user manual OR find a way to control it within the OS.

2. Resuming from Standby turns the brightness up or down based on the status of the AC adapter. See number one above; same issue but you can address this in the BIOS. Again, not in the user manual.

3. No docking potential. A docking interface would be a killer feature on the Q1 but there’s no port or interface to do this. After taking Sammy apart, I realize it would be tight to add another port, but I’d consider dropping the relatively large CF slot to make room. Which brings me to number four.

4. Choice of slots. At this point, there’s really little use for a CF slot, but that’s what the Q1 has. A PCMCIA slot would be great, but that would be too large and at this point, I see that slot going away soon in lieu of ExpressCard and other options. If the purpose of the slot is for memory and quick file storage and transfer, an SD or even mini-SD slot would be the better choice.

5. Memory capacity. Samsung still doesn’t appear to directly offer the Q1 with the maximum 1 GB of RAM. Yes, you can do this yourself, but that does raise other potential issues. My hope is that Samsung begins to soon offer Q1’s with 1GB of RAM and also addresses the upgrade process in their user manual.

6. The Analog stick is not effective. Right off the bat, it’s designed like a short, squatty mushroom. It also behaves like an old Atari 2600 joystick. If you want to use it as a mouse pointer, you have to hold down the Menu hardware button on the opposite side of the screen and even when you do, it moves in jumps of 10 to 20 pixels or so. I’ve found one and one use for it personally: navigating through the BIOS without a keyboard; otherwise, I rarely use it because for Windows XP it has to be perfectly aligned to one of the 8 directions for it to be recognized. There’s little room for error when using it, so I just don’t.

7. Screen resolution thoughts. James and the readers have some very interesting thoughts on screen res for handhelds and while I can easily deal with 800 x 480, I’d love to see the Q1 (and all other UMPCs) up their native res to 800 x 600 at a minimum. This would help with many of the dialog boxes that just a mite too big to use without changing resolutions or panning. The 800 x 480 obviously isn’t a dealbreaker for me; I use that mode roughly 95% of my 8-10 hour day with the Q1. However, we can’t go back and ask the development world (and Microsoft themselves) to recode apps for the small screen.

8. Screen rotation is not stable. I found this out the hard way within a day of using the Q1. The Intel drivers control the screen rotation and it appears that after every Microsoft Update and at other random times, the rotation ceases to work. You can reinstall the drivers to fix this or you can use the great third party app created to control rotation. I opted for the application which I now keep a shortcut for in my QuickLaunch toolbar on the Q1. Samsung is the only current UMPC manufacturer to offer the rotation feature, but it’s only good if it works.

9. Keyboard. No, I don’t lament the fact that the Q1 doesn’t have one because I’ve added a Bluetooth keyboard for the times I need one. I’m talking about the USB keyboard that Samsung offers. I don’t have it and I can tell you I never will. Why? The cord is less than a foot long which doesn’t give me much flexibility. I’d like to see two things come from this. First, I’d like to see Samsung offer a Bluetooth keyboard, even if they work with Think Outside to re-badge their great keyboard. Second, the USB keyboard should have a retractable cable piece between the USB port and the keyboard, which would allow for more usage scenarios.

10. Last and perhaps most important to me: the stylus. As a slate Tablet PC, there’s a presumption that you’ll be using the stylus quite a bit. The Q1 stylus fits nicely within the unit, but it’s way too small for my taste. I say this as someone who is relatively short and has smaller hands. If it’s too small for me, it’s too small for most people. To give a comparison: the Q1 stylus is nearly the same size and thickness as the stylus for my XV6700 Smartphone! Samsung has to provide a better option here going forward because I find myself using an old Tablet PC stylus for my input.

Even though I was able to come up with ten real issues for the Samsung Q1, that doesn’t take away from my everyday positive experiences. I’ve likely written the most posts as a Samsung Q1 owner than most (if not all) people and I thought it fair to provide the other side of the coin. Do I still recommend the device? Absolutely if it’s the right tool for your needs. It’s still my primary mobile device and I use it every single day, aside from the issues above. I even used it as my primary computing device when I had a DSL outage at my home office. While it has these ten issues above (and others), it still meets my needs. Hope this helps!

-kct

21 Comments

charles pritt

I agree with all of kevin’s comments. I would certainly like higher resolution screen with very clear text. The docking station would be nice. As far as #10) goes, I always carry around one of the cheap Bic mechanical pencils. They have plastic tips and i can use them as a stylus or as a pencil and they fit better in my hand.

I would also like to see larger HDD (like 80 GB)

You can get them immediately from Dynamism with the 1 GB already installed. I ordered one on a Tuesday, recieved it on Wednesday the very next day. The guys at dynamism are great.

I would like to see greater reception on the wifi. I have a linksys 802.b router. At first the Q1 could find it with no problem, but lately when i turn it on it can’t find it even when i have the Q1 in the same room. I have to unplug the a/c on the router and plug it back in for the Q1 to find it. My company Dell laptop can find the router at the other end of the house with a strong signal everytime.

Mike Cane

DP: Geez, you read my mind! I’d been meaning to stop there for over a week now! Although I’m in Bryant Park right now, I’m too lazy to go. Will put it in my CLIE for tomorrow (along with the new Apple Store). I really want to fondle that thing!

(Just got a new toy — uh, tool! That el cheeeepo JWin MP3 player that uses SDs in lieu of having RAM! Not opened yet…)

DP

Mike — I believe the Samsung store in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle in NYC has them. I saw a Q1 on display in the lobby earlier this week.

Alan

The big thing about all the umpc’s thus far to me that create no real interest that would enable it to sell well is:
1. People really want a touch type keyboard (NOT a thumb type in any way) Hardware folks are not intune with real people as they ask IT Directors and computer nerds opinions to design to non computer geeks.
2. Poeple want this touch type keyboard computer to run deskto OS but also be small enough to fit in your pocket. That is not a palm or pocket pc/blackberry size but more like the old Psion 5mx size.

Until someone makes the right form factor these umpc’s are not going to sell outside of the computer geeks.

Stu Gisburne

Try CDW. They had 38 of them earlier this week.

Mike Cane

What about HD size? It’s pretty sad that you can get an *iPod* with a bigger HD!

I’d also add: Limited Frikkin Availability! WTF, is Samsung insane that it’s not in NYC?

Stu Gisburne

One other thing that doesn’t work. When you press the Q1 menu button it brings up a list of things to toggle on and off. However, every time I turn the “Etiquette Mode” on nothing happens. According to the manual it is used “when you need a tranquil work environment” I still have the phone ringing, emails popping up and people dropping in my office. Not very tranquil to me.

Stu Gisburne

Kevin, I agree with you on almost everything except….#3 and until today #9. As for docking, I think it is a matter of preference. I don’t intend to dock mine as I have other toys that I have to justify…hehe. (LE1600) The Tablet is my work horse at work and I do have a docking station for that though. Now, on to #9. I really didn’t think much of the keyboard and it being a USB thing. My UMPC order was a bit messed up and to make it right CDW gave me the Q1 keyboard. Well, this thing is pretty cool. It is very slim, light and the integrated mouse is nice. Top off this off in the portfolio case (which the Q1 and keyboard snap in to) and this is a sweet mobile solution.

Marc

I LOVE my Q1 but I’ve blue-screen of death-ed it a few times doing rotation. I always save before rotating!

I also can’t get the screen resolution to work. *sigh* Updates are installed, it isn’t rotated, but the rotation option brings up the control on screen but no change. If anyone has ideas I’d be happy to hear them!

Cheryl

This is very helpful feedback thanks, Kevin!

While I agree that a PCMCIA slot probably is nicer for most people to have than a CF slot, personally I would find the CF slot more useful because it would be the easiest and cleanest solution (no hanging USB card readers) for using the Q1 as a photo bin (for the photogs who are using DSLRs with CF cards). Even if you have a camera that uses SD, you could get an SD-to-CF adapter. There is no adapter to use a CF card in an SD slot.

That’s why, if I’m able to make the purchase someday, I’d import the Sony UX50 since I have more use for a CF slot than EDGE support.

Anton P. Nym

D’oh! Forgot to include; did this wifi thing crop up after your restore or was it always that way? Mine stays off or on (ie it retains the state it had before entry into standby) and has since I took it out of the box.

— Steve

Anton P. Nym

Kevin, I agree with many of your points but I cannot replicate the first one. My wifi radio retains the same state coming out of both standby and hibernation.

As to the lack of a docking port, that’s neither here nor there for me… and if I has to choose either a docking port (a la the eo) or the separate linkages I’d prefer the Q1’s assortment as the more mobile option.I’m thinking an ethernet cord and VGA plug are less bulky than those plus a docking station.

But mainly you’re right; the stylus is uncomfortable, a little more screen “real estate” would be nice, and the rotation glitch is annoying.

(Though you’d have to pry my Q1 out of my cold, dead hands.)

— Steve

Illuminator (Rich)

Kevin,
I would tend to agree with most of your dislikes, however, I believe that everyone has missed out on number 6. The stick is effective, if used where, I think, it was meant to be used. It wasn’t meant to be used as a mouse. It was meant to allow one to scroll through screens that ran off, or were wider, than the screen resolution would allow. I use it all the time when reading web sites, or traversing the screens of applications that are not able to fit on the 7 inch screen.
I will add another gotcha on the Q1, from my experience with it. There are times in which the screen resolution itself doesn’t stick. When changing to a higher resolution, there have been times when it doesn’t fit the screen. I am not changing to an unexpected resolution, but one of the two larger default possiblities (through the button menu). It is very frustrating during those times.

Rich

Mark D Polino

Pretty nice list Kevin. I’d put #6 alot higher though. Some of these items are just annoyances. The pad is next to useless. I would add a “shift” button for the 4 launch buttons letting you double them to 8 easily.

As for #8, the 3rd party screen rotation utility is a Godsend. Rotation was starting to be useless for me. Now I use it all the time.

The stylus is less of an issue. I use a 4 in 1 pen with a stylus tip as my main stylus and leave the little stick in as my emergency backup.

I’m testing 2 extended batteries now, the Samsung Powerbank and the NBmate 118. I’ll let you know how long they go in a few days.

Mark

Mark D Polino

Pretty nice list Kevin. I’d put #6 alot higher though. Some of these items are just annoyances. The pad is next to useless. I would add a “shift” button for the 4 launch buttons letting you double them to 8 easily.

As for #8, the 3rd party screen rotation utility is a Godsend. Rotation was starting to be useless for me. Now I use it all the time.

The stylus is less of an issue. I use a 4 in 1 pen with a stylus tip as my main stylus and leave the little stick in as my emergency backup.

I’m testing 2 extended batteries now, the Samsung Powerbank and the NBmate 118. I’ll let you know how long they go in a few days.

Mark

John in Norway

Thanks for that Kevin. I’ve only had Snake (as in ’Q the winged serpent’) for a week but I’ll give my opinion of your 10 points.

1 & 2. I found this annoying as well, so thanks for the BIOS tip.
3. I’ve only used it as a portable device so the dock doesn’t interest me.
4. I agree. I’ve got a few devices that use SD cards so that would have been nice. Has anyone ever produced a SD to CF adapter?
5. I’ve been doing mainly Office type stuff and printing from web pages to Onenote 2007 and I can’t say I’ve had any memory problems.
6. I though I’d be annoyed with this as well but in all honesty, as soon as I hit the power switch my hand automatically pulls the stylus out to use.
7. I’d also like that. What does confuse me though is that it goes from wide screen resolution to 4:3.
8. Only done it once just to test it.
9. Mine came with the keyboard and case thingy. I used it when I first set up XP and haven’t touched it since. It’s very handy with the built-in touch stick though.
10. Definitely agree. About as useful as a toothpick. As mentioned earlier, I use the stylus a lot and while it’s okay for a quick use it’s uncomfortable for prolonged use. Having said that, I wrote a few pages in Journal the other night using the stylus and it went better than expected.

I’ve found the number of ’likes’ far outweighs the ’dislikes’. Snake has taken over the chores of three other devices, so to me it’s been well worth the purchase.

Sorry for the long reply but I just love writing on this thing.

JeffGr

I’ve long felt that the best possible UMPC right now would combine the key features of the Q1 and the eo/Amtek. I find it interesting that 5 of the 10 items listed are fixed and/or improved on the eo: #1, the eo has a hardware switch for turning the wi-fi on and off; #3, there is a docking connector on the eo; #5, the eo is available in 256MB, 512MB, or 1GB configurations; #6, the eo has a very useable mouse stick; and #10, the eo comes with a very comfortable, collapsable metal stylus.

Of course, several of the other items on the list are just as bad or worse with the eo. The brightness and resolution issues are the same as on the Q1, while the eo has no memory card slot at all. There also isn’t an external keyboard available specifically designed for the unit, so #9 doesn’t really apply.

I hope that Samsung and Amtek (or whatever manufacturer TabletKiosk uses next) will take a good look at the strengths of the competing device when designing their next generation models.

jkrashid

Yep Point 3 is the real pain for me, i hook up the samsung to my 23″ ACD at home for desktop usage, then a sound output cable, the power cable and the 2 usb ports are used up, makes the place look messy with all those wires sticking out!!, it hink its why ill be leaning towards the sony ux when the flash drive version comes out which comes with the nice and tidy docking station but ive heard the sonys dont have a vga/dvi that can support the native res of my monitor which is 1920×1200 ( can someone confirm this please?). I too would like to see the same samsung keyboard but bluetooth, you can tell i hate wires!! The screen res does not bother me apart from when i use sonicstage and the connect store where u cant even scroll to see the whole page at 800×480, hopefully the q2 will have the things i crave for but the q1 will certainly do for now!

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