Monday, May 29, 2006

Weekend with the Q1

The Q1 and the Slingbox arrived on Thursday, just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend. I had taken Friday off because we were going to the beach, so I had a really long weekend ahead. I got most of my installs done Thursday night but I had a few left to do on the road. I dragged my Dell Inspiron 700m with us as a portable DVD player so I had both computers on the trip. We stayed at a condo in New Smyrna Beach, FL, about and hour from home. Oh what a difference an hour makes! No wifi. No high speed EVDO. I had dialup speed EVDO on the laptop and dialup via bluetooth cellphone for the Q1. Neither one was very reliable but if all the clouds aligned and I stood on one foot out the back balcony, I could leach on to an open wifi node. Needless to say, that didn't work too well. So I've spent a weekend with the Q1 with virtually no connectivity and these are my first thoughts.

  • Good
    The packaging was great. Very high end Apple-like but in Darth Vader black. There was nothing cheesy about the package.
  • The Q1 is a fabulous media player. The sound is great, the video is fantastic. The screen is terrific.
  • The much maligned battery life has generally been sufficient for me. Do I want the next battery up when it's available? Yes. But I'm ok with the default battery for now.
    The Celeron 900mhz processor is sufficient. No it doesn't scream, but I have Microsoft Dynamics GP and SQL Server 2005 running locally and performance is just fine.
  • Windows Media Player 11 and IE Beta 2 both work well on this machine. I got to test IE7 before I left on Friday. Windows Media Player 11 looks incredibly cool on this screen.
    The stands (one for display and one for writing) attached to the back are fabulous. They are a must! Nice addition Samsung!
  • The power brick is nothing special but it is relative small, not nearly as heavy as the brick for my Dell 700m, and it uses a 2 prong, not a 3 prong power cord.
  • Generally, the only thing this unit is missing is EVDO. It's a big missing item but other than that, it does everything. Dynamics GP runs, Windows OneCare runs, I'm not a big gamer so I didn't test that. For everything I do, it's great.
  • The unit looks great. Many people thought that the finish would show fingerprints but I can't say it bothers me and usually, stuff like that bothers me. Crud on my cell phone screen drives me nuts. I haven't opened the cleaning cloth yet.
  • The 80 gram digitizer does produce some phantom marks when writing but it's not bad and if I use the writing stand, I rarely make erroneous marks.
  • Touch screens are incredibly cool. It's just fun to touch icons.
  • This may be the perfect podcasting machine. If you want to walk around a convention and do interviews, the Q1 with a USB microphone would be perfect.
  • The default resolutions are OK. It would be nice if the default resolution matched a standard PC resolutions (800 x 600) but even the 1024 x 768 emulation is fine if you eyes are under 50.
  • The unit does not get unreasonably hot unless you accidentally cover the vents. It doesn't get as hot as my 700m.
  • The twin microphones work very well so far as does bluetooth headset support. I listened to music via my bluetooth headset but I don't know how to switch the headset seamlessly between the Q1 and the phone.

  • Bad
  • In the typical slouched on the couch writing position, the Q1 is an odd size to write on in the horizontal, long ways position. It's better in the vertical except that my unit quit rotating halfway through the weekend. It's possible something I installed goofed up the rotation but I haven't figured out what yet but I'm working on it.
  • The WiFi isn't as powerful as my Dell 700m. At the edge of the signal strength, the Dell held the signal better than the Q1.
  • It's a little weird to hold when you're just walking around with it. If you don't put the unit on hold, and you carry it like a paperback, you end up pushing a lot of buttons accidentally.
    The power button sticks out a little and I had it come out of standby when in the case if the case bumped something. The solution is to put it on hold after stand by. I mention this because it would be tragic to turn it on in a case and burn it up because the vents were covered.
  • Domain logins are tough. This is an issue for any slate table. The Samsung has a CTL-ALT-DEL button but its a recessed dot that requires the stylus to push. Arrgh! Then you have to peck out your password. Yes you could use an auto login program but that defeats the purpose. This login process however, gets in he way of a quick return from standby. I've been playing with turning off the backlight and putting the unit on hold instead of using standby.
  • The last one is nit picky but hey, it's a pain. I have several 2.5" portable hard drive enclosures and most of them have a singe usb cable with 2 usb connections, data and power. The Samsung's ports are on opposite sides of the unit and are just far enough away that the cord won't reach both usb ports. I'm using an extender but it's a minor annoyance.

  • Other
  • I disagree with Kevin at JK On the Run about the wrist strap. The Samsung comes with a nice wrist strap. Use it. It doesn't have to be obtrusive but if you walked around with $1,100 cash in your hand every day, you'd want to strap it to your wrist too!
  • I really think I want to use this as my main PC. I don't like to sync things. Too often I forget.
  • I suspect my wife will steal this for production work at church. She currently uses an Averatec Tablet PC but she's having problems with the battery charging and it needs to go in for service. I wanted to take notes in church on the Q1 but I may be out voted for a few weeks.

    Those are my first thoughts. I'll have another post later, on ways I will use the Q1 that I wouldn't use a laptop or even a tablet.




2 comments:

Kevin C. Tofel said...

Great info Mark! Ok, maybe I was a bit harsh on the wrist strap in the unboxing video, but it really took me by surprise. ;) I had the same rotation issue and have a fix for you: navigate to c:\program files\samsung\graphics driver and run the Setup.exe there. That will reinstall the Intel graphics drivers and restore the rotation function. Not sure what caused the issue but it was fixed by doing what I've outlined. Keep me up to date on your Q1 experience either at jkOnTheRun.com or directly at kctofel@gmail.com.

Nicole said...

Hi Kevin and Mark-

I purchases a Q1 for myself and one for my mom to replace the Sony TR3A she broke.

I agree with everything you have said here. The one issue that was aggravating was no EVDO and no PC-card slot for my sierra aircard. I finally configured the unit to work with my Cingular 8125 and Samsung i730 using bluetooth.

I personally own a Toshiba m205 and Compaq TC1000 and previously owned a Gateway M275 and Averatec 3500. The battery life on the Q1 is about 3 hours, but the REAL benefit is that this one fits in my purse.

Keep the advice coming.

Nicole