Reader question: what’s the best UMPC for me?

Question_markHot on the heels of yesterday’s similar question where your participation added tremendous value, it’s time for another. Lawrence asks what I think is the best UMPC on the market. I always answer that question with a question, simply because "best" is subjective. Repeat the mantra with me everyone: "Choosing a computing device is a personal choice and it all depends on what you intend to use the device for." What works for me or you might not work for Lawrence because we have different needs, right? I asked for some clarity around how Lawrence intends to use his device and here’s what he said:

"I am a real estate developer and am on the go all of the time.  I need to be able to read leases and documents in pdf or word file.  Also, email and use the internet a lot.  Would be great if I could use it as a telephone too.  Down time will use music and like to watch movies while traveling.  Money is not a pressure point, but would like ease of use. "

Off the top of my head, I think there are many current choices out there that fit most of the bill. Very few devices will meet all of these specifications due to the possible use as a phone. However, I can immediately think of one that will do the trick: Dialogue offers several FlyBook models that provide EGDE and HSDPA connectivity plus also allow you to use the device as a GSM phone. I spent two weeks with the older V22 model and at the end of the video review, I used it to make a call to James.

If we remove the phone requirement, you can definitely cut cost, size and weight because virtually any Origami-based UMPC should fit the needs. At that point, it might become a matter of personal preference and how the device "feels". The many offerings from Samsung, Asus, TabletKiosk, etc….would all work for the tasks that Lawrence specified. I’d consider looking at the remaining differences between the devices and see if there’s a function that jumps to the "must have" list. For example: if you want an integrated video-camera, the Samsung Q1 series get’s knocked out. If you want stereo speakers and SRS TruSurround support for those movies and music, then the Q1 is back on the list. The field is pretty wide open once the phone requirement goes away.

How about it readers: what would you suggest to Lawrence and why? Did I miss any other portables that can meet all of the needs, phone requirement included? How about the PepperPad 3 which supports Adobe Reader and can use Google Docs for importing and using Word docs? Perhaps he should wait for the HTC Shift?

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