So where the heck has jk been the past few days? Certainly not blogging on jkOnTheRun, that’s for sure. Well, since I may only have the Samsung Q1 SSD for a few days I decided to immerse myself with it to give it a “real world” shake. I have been using only the Q1 for the past 2 days to find out if it could cut the mustard for me in my work. You may recall I have been openly calling for a Tablet PC with a 7 inch screen for a long time and now that I have one in my hands I want to put it through its paces by really using it. I am going to post a detailed review (maybe even some video) covering the Q1 SSD in the next few days but wanted to share some assorted quick impressions now that I’ve used it for a little while. I haven’t taken a lot of photos of the Q1 SSD yet because it looks just like the other Q1s that have appeared here and elsewhere, but I will in the full review. So here are my impressions in no particular order (after the jump):
1. The SSD is still very fast, even after loading all my productivity applications, e. g. Microsoft Office 2007 beta 2. Even with Windows Desktop Search installed I am not seeing the noticeable performance hit that exists on all 3 of the other devices I’ve loaded with the beta. I don’t know if you can attribute that solely to the SSD but that’s my guess since the Q1 only has 512 MB of memory where my HP tc1100 has 1 GB.
2. I have not hooked up an external monitor to the Q1 yet. Not even once, which surprises me since I love my screen real estate when I am “docked” at my desk but I haven’t found it to be necessary yet. This is probably due to number 3 below.
3. The Q1 is perfectly usable for me in 1024×600 resolution, even though that is not a native resolution of the UMPC. While really small text is slightly blurry at this high resolution it happens so seldom that it has not been a problem. When I am operating in a laptop configuration with a keyboard and mouse I have the Q1 in high resolution always. This definitely surprised me. The trick to do this is to turn off ClearType while in 1024×600.
4. I do not like the 800×600 resolution on the wide-screen. It makes everything look “squooshy”. I use it in the other two resolutions only.
5. Portrait mode works very well, something I consider essential for any device that I use. The long and narrow screen in portrait orientation works incredibly well for reading ebooks and even for note-taking with OneNote 2007. There are a couple of caveats with the portrait orientation on the Q1 that you should be aware of: the Q1 will only go into portrait at the native 800×480 resolution. Not a deal breaker but I wish I could rotate at a higher resolution. If you try to rotate the screen at any other resolution the option is grayed out and can’t be done. You can rotate to any of the four orientations in native resolution which is handy, and orientation switching only takes about 2 seconds. I highly recommend the user-written uRotate utility which lets you rotate directly from any orientation to any other, as opposed to the Samsung utility which cycles through each one.
6. Battery life is pretty good– over 3 hours in actual use. I will run a test with Battery Eater to compare with Kevin’s findings on a regular Q1.
7. Vectoring is an issue when writing with the stylus but I found I quickly adapted to it. Now it rarely happens at all, especially in landscape orientation where the bottom bezel of the screen is a natural resting place for the palm while inking.
8. I have been using a Bluetooth mini-mouse in laptop configuration and the Q1’s Bluetooth is pain-free and setup has been perfect with every device I have tried, unlike many machines. I have used both Bluetooth and USB to connect my XV6700 to provide EVDO connectivity and both work well. Of course, USB provides higher speeds (400 – 800 kbps) so that’s what I usually use, although the slower speeds of a Bluetooth connection are adequate for simple email checking and light web surfing. The combination turns the Q1 into a mobile powerhouse of productivity.
9. I don’t like the joystick thingy on the Q1, during normal operation it just duplicates the D-Pad functions which is a waste. I wish Samsung had put a real joystick with mouse buttons on the front of the device, although I have gotten used to the controls pretty quickly. I do love the Samsung utilities that control everything from wireless connections to screen rotation. They are invoked by hitting one button, and everything can be manipulated with a fingertip.
10. The screen resolution switching happens in about 2 seconds and works simply and very well. It is easy to switch to a higher resolution in the event a dialog box is longer than the default 480 resolution, and then switch back when done.
11. The audio system with the stereo speakers are the best I have ever used on any mobile device, and that includes full-sized laptops. The Q1 ROCKS for multimedia, both audio and video. I haven’t even hooked up headphones yet, it’s that good.
12. The dual-array microphones on the front of the device work very well, and I am experimenting with using them for speech recognition. I think with enough training in a sound-neutral environment they will work OK. Skype rocks on the Q1 with those microphones.
12. The Q1 can be powered very nicely with the BatteryGeek Portable Power Station that I use. The power adapter puts out a surprising 19v of power which is higher than any mobile device, even a full laptop, that I have used for a while. It is probably why the battery seems to charge very quickly, which is handy.
13. The Q1 SSD is made very solidly and feels very sturdy. It is obvious that Samsung put all their experience making mobile devices into the design and manufacture of this device.
14. I received the Samsung organizer case and keyboard yesterday and can state that I think every Q1 owner should consider getting one of these. It provides a convenient way to transport the Q1 and can turn it into a near laptop in 2 seconds after opening it up. I believe it is this case which makes it possible for me to use the Q1 in my work, as my primary work computer. The Q1 can be popped into and out of the case in 1 second. The keyboard is specialized for the Q1 with special keys that makes it a snap to check battery level, turn WiFi on and off, turn the backlight off completely (perfect for listening to podcasts and conserving battery), along with other functions. It is not a full-sized keyboard but even with my big hands I touch type like a banshee with this keyboard. Highly recommended, and CDW has the duo for just $119. They also have both the new Pentium M model and the Via model listed on their site.
15. The little stylus sucks. That’s all I’ll say about it.
That rounds out my quick impressions of the Samsung Q1 SSD. I am really growing fond of this device and find that so far it meets all my needs and exceeds my expectations, given the Celeron processor and only having 512 MB of memory. I intend to take the Q1 by itself this coming week to use in my work, it will be interesting to see how it holds up and works in the field.
I’d like to thank ICUBE-Kemplar for providing this evaluation unit so I can share this information with jkOnTheRun readers.