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      24.10.2008 15:40
      Very helpful


      • Reliability


      Buy a better spec notebook with an integrated keyboard

      A couple of years ago I was very annoyed when someone stole my laptop and I didn't have a particularly big budget to replace it. I needed something small, but at the time small meant expensive.

      Then the Samsung Q1 emerged on the scene, with a 7" screen (3 inches smaller than my missing laptop) and what looked to be very impressive portability, all at a good price.

      Well the specs on the laptop weren't great, it had 512MB as standard, upgradable to 1GB if you were brave enough to take the whole case apart (I was, it was fine). The HD wasn't too shocking for a tiny laptop, 40GB when 60GB was about the limit in 10" and lower notebooks.

      The processor was an Intel Celeron M, 1900MHz. Again not thrilling, but adequate. It came bundled with Windows XP Pro Tablet edition, which is controlled via a stylus that slots into the chassis. I imagine lots of people lost their stylus, I didn't find a spare in the box.

      What I soon discovered about the laptop was that it wasn't saving me a lot of space. I bought mine with a carry case which included a small keyboard. The keyboard was nice, but as the Q1 only has 2 USB ports you end up with only 1 remaining when the keyboard is attached. The keyboard was good quality however. With the case and keyboard the whole package was twice as thick as the unit on it's own. Not quite so portable anymore!

      Both keyboard and Q1 come with slip covers, but they offer little protection, so I would consider the larger case as almost essential.

      I survived with this notebook for about a year. It was fine for general use but with the low spec it did struggle when pushed. If you've got a few applications running you can be waiting a while to switch between windows. I think you can run Vista on it, but I don't think it'll be so great, especially with the limited graphics capability in such a small machine.

      On the outside of the unit you'll find a little joystick, handy for gaming and some other control buttons, for display resolution and bringing up menus to change other settings.

      Without the keyboard and bulky case I think this is a great mobile device for playing games with limited graphics requirements (and of course no requirement for the CD to be in the drive, there IS no CD/DVD drive), it's also great for watching movies on the move. But if you are watching movies on the move, well you're not going to see many movies. Tiny unit means tiny battery (3 cell), you have about 2.5 hours before you need a charge, less if you have the wireless switched on.

      It's worth mentioning that the wireless worked very well, as did the bluetooth.

      The screen never seemed to be bright enough, an annoyance when watching movies, unless in the dark.

      Of course the lack of a CD/DVD drive can make it tricky to install some software, you'll need to buy a firewire or USB drive to go with it.

      The Q1 also came with a carry strap, which was useful so when you're holding it you don't drop it so easily. Using this thing on your lap isn't so easy, with no base/monitor hinged together you have something similar to a picture frame stand on the back with 2 settings. Neither work on your lap and the limited options make it awkward on a table. It does have a VGA output though, if you have a monitor to attach it to, but then why would you bother with such a small notebook?

      A slightly strange inclusion was a Compact Flash card slot. No other cards were supported. I think they had visions of memory expansion or HD expansion via this slot, but it ended up being useless. Strange to include CF otherwise, as it takes up such a large amount of space and is used in so few cameras.

      In concusion, I liked this tiny notebook, but it did feel like more of a toy. Since getting a new laptop this hasn't left the cupboard, so it's impracticalities did kind of kill it. Later versions had a higher spec and tiny keys next to the screen, I'm not sure what future this kind of device will have since the emergence of the cheaper sub-notebooks.


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