Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Samsung Q1ultra useability

Thought I'd take my Q1ultra on the train to use it as I normally would a laptop.
First off, if you have to do any amount of typing, it's useless without a proper keyboard or mini-keyboard. The thumb keyboards were fine for small amounts of text entry, but because of the 6-hour battery pack, my Q1 felt heavy and I couldn't sensibly hold it for long.

I'm used to tapping out text with my HTC/T-mobile Touch for text messages and notes and find that together with the predictive text feature, I can do this quite quickly. However, with the umpc, the on-screen keyboard just doesn't have the same tactile feel to it. There's no predictive text (or else I haven't worked out how to turn it on) and with the keyboard as wide as the screen, it slowed me down considerably.

Rotating the screen so that it's in a portrait format helps as the onscreen keyboard becomes more useable (you're not moving your hand as much just to type the letter a, then the letter l), but holding the umpc with your left hand as you do this will lead to serious strain on your wrist and hand.

So my next experiment will be using the umpc with a keyboard as I travel on a train. Which of course then begs the question: why not just get a small laptop? My main reason so far has been the cost: a small laptop costs around £1000 whereas my umpc and a small keyboard will cost no more than £780.

The other good reason to get the umpc might have been the two cameras, which I though would be brilliant for video-conferencing and capturing evidence for work-based learners. NOT recommended!

The video capture seems stilted so that your lips are never in sync with the audio. The idea is good, but the execution is poor. This happened even when I captured a smaller video (320 x 240 ish). I'm not sure why this is, but if anyone has any ideas on how this can be solved, then maybe the umpc would be ideal for capturing video evidence, but until then, I think a typical mobile phone with voice and video capture would do a better job! And be less strain on the wrists!

I still like my umpc, but more for entertainment reasons than business use reasons, so be warned! If you expect people to use the Office software, then do provide a keyboard.

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