Neat-bearded Santa of tech, Walt Mossberg, has been thumbing Samsung’s Q1 Ultra and come away feeling quite warm toward the little computer. Given his rather dismissive attitude toward the original Q1, the Ultra obviously had a lot to prove to Walt; to give him his due, though, he seems to have kept an open mind this time round. Unsurprisingly, it’s Samsung’s nod to mainstream reviewers – the split keyboard – that appears to tip the balance.
To be honest, there’s little in Walt’s review that’s new – he praises the lower starting price ($799 rather than the $1,099 the original Q1 began at), the ability to work on the move and the general aesthetics of the UMPC, while reserving criticism for the still vaguely mediocre battery life (two hours and five minutes when running music continuously with full brightness, WiFi on and no power-saving gizmos) and the lack of keyboard intelligence (i.e. auto-punctuation and capitalisation). But what’s important about it is the impact it could have on general consumers, who have so far regarded the UMPC concept as a geekish frippery.
Samsung must be hoping that greybeard’s thumbs-up will push the Q1 Ultra out of its niche market and into mainstream consideration, and given the majority of users are content with some simple browsing, emailing and writing the occasional letter there’s little reason why an ultra-portable couldn’t satisfy their needs – especially if Samsung made it patently clear that adding an external, full-sized monitor, keyboard and mouse is terribly easy. It’ll be interesting to see how much more often UMPCs appear in less specialist publications, as the rest of the world wakes up to a concept that’s finally coming of age.
This time, Samsung has made a tiny PC that’s practical to use [Walt Mossberg]