OQO 2+ One week Round-Up

Posted on 25 January 2009 by

If you’ve been wondering why it’s been a but quiet around UMPCPortal for the last week, you might not have noticed that I’ve been working over at the MIDMoves project. Myself and three others have been playing with MIDs and have left a good trail of articles and media. Check them out if you haven’t already done so and keep watching as there are other events underway and planned for next week.

One of the highlights for me was having the newly announced OQO Model 2+ in my hands for an extended period. It really hits the mark as far as a ultra mobile PC is concerned, offering not only hand-portability but desktop capability too. It’s no exaggeration to say that the OQO and it’s peripherals offer one of the most productive desk-to-hand options I’ve ever seen.

IMG_7769

During the week I’ve done some battery life tests and screen drain tests. I’ve tested the keyboard, used it as a desktop, used it mobile with the 3G connection and even tested it out in various pockets. It’s about time, now that I’ve handed the OQO over to Nicole for testing, that I make a summary of my experiences.

First of all, I need to mention that the OQO 2+ we have at MIDMoves is a dev sample that was used at CES. It’s not a final production sample and therefore it’s impossible to talk about battery life, noise and heat with any degree of accuracy. I have been a little disappointed that the device wouldn’t reach 3hrs online on a single charge but I also get the feeling, after looking at detail at power drain on various components, that there’s another 10-20% to be squeezed out of the device. That’s just a feeling based on experience but if it’s right, it would mean that 3hrs online can easily be achieved and for me, that’s an important landmark. The same goes for heat and noise. The version I had was a little warm and noisy but if 20% could be cut from the power drain then the fan and warmth would be well within acceptable levels for me.

I had the 1.8Ghz OLED screen version of the OQO 2+ with the 64GB SSD. It was running Vista and at 1.8Ghz it performed extremely well. I used it as a desktop with the stylish docking station and an external 1400×900 monitor and the fact that it was a ultra mobile PC was almost transparent in my usage scenario which includes multiple Firefox tabs and maybe 5 or 6 other programs running at the same time. Startup times were, relative to other Vista/ultra mobile PC solutions I’ve tested, very good although I still cant help thinking that XP would have been more productive. I generally need an OS to host Firefox and a few other app’s in the most efficient way possible so cutting the background processes in half, memory requirement to to 1GB levels and reducing background disk activity seems sensible to me.

IMG_7765 IMG_7768 IMG_7767

The screen was quite amazing. In terms of brightness it wasn’t much better than other solutions I’ve seen but side-by-side with the Wibrain which has an amazing LED-backlit screen, you can see some contrast advantages. I doubt many people would worry about that difference but the other two advantages of OLED are definitely worth having. Firstly, the viewing angle is near 100% in every direction. Secondly, the screen power consumption is proportional to the amount of white on the screen which means you can tailor colours to improve battery life. At full brightness on a white screen it took no more power than a normal LED screen but with a good percentage of the screen dark, the power consumption was extremely low. Considering that most web pages are based on a white background, the OLED might not bring that great a power advantage but as it’s no worse than anything else I’ve tested, it only has advantages. One specification that I found annoying though was the 800×480 screen size. It really felt like a step backwards for me as I’ve got used to 1024×600 on a 4.8″ screen. Sure, you have to pump up Firefox to 120% magnification to make a bit more comfortable for reading but it means that fonts are super sharp and importantly, nearly all notification boxes fit on the screen. 800×480 means you have to use the +/- buttons and switch in and out of the interpolated 1024×600 mode. While not bad, it’s a bit of a pain when you’re used to higher resolutions.

The touchscreen was slightly heavier than on many other devices I’ve tested and I would put it right in the middle between the HTC Shift, one of the lightest touch screens I’ve tested, and the ASUS R2H, one of the ‘heaviest’ touchscreens I’ve tested. Playing around with the sensitivity didn’t seem to make much difference to me though so maybe that’s something that needs to be finished for the final version. Even so, it wasn’t bad for a finger and might even be interesting for those that want to make notes with a stylus.

Video performance on the OQO was the best I’ve seen on a ultra mobile PC yet. I’ve seen 16mbps H.264play on a Kohjinsha SC3 with no problems before but I’ve never seen HD WMV play back with such a low CPU load. Cyberlink DVD 7 was installed and maybe there were some driver tweaks but if that’s the way they deliver it then it’s fine by me. Test files all played back through Windows Media player. The HDMI-out port will make it an interesting portable HD theatre option. [Note: The Poulsbo chipset includes hardware video decoding for common codecs]

The keyboard is the same as you find on the current OQO 02 and as many people already know, it’s a high quality part. Learning curve is quick and error rate is low. Sticky shift, fn and ctrl keys help a lot and the mouse pointer is easy to get used to. Not quite as accurate as the big mouse pad on the Wibrain but when you consider the layout, you can see why the pad wasn’t used. My only gripe about the keyboard is they they’ve kept the ‘office’ layout and separated the numerics onto a numeric keypad. This offsets the keyboard to the left and after extended thumbing I was feeling an ache in my right hand. I hadnt experienced it when I tested the OQO E2 last year though so maybe it was just a matter of changing from the Wibrain that i’ve been using a lot, to this new layout that meant my hands needed to get used to it for a few more days.

It was a bit surprising that there was no SD on the OQO. Again, this could be due to OQO targeting an ‘office’ environment where SD cards (and cameras) often aren’t welcome but I bet there will be some digital photographers that are looking at the OQO thinking that it would be perfect if it it had an SD slot. USB fixes the problem but I always end up forgetting a cable or adaptor at some point or another.

I’m not sure how much the version I had would retail for. It looks like it’s in the region of $2000 which is NOT cheap. If you were to replace the SSD with a HDD then you’d save $600+ dollars but you’d be in a difficult position with Vista. HDD and XP would pair well together though. As for 3G, it’s a tough call. The built-in option is about $170 but you get a global standard modem (EVDO, GSM and UMTS supported) and you get it built in which means its always there. I would take it and I think most people looking at the OQO as a truly mobile device would take the option too. As for processing power, you would have to think carefully about usage. If you wanted it to be a desktop-capable device you’d have to go for the 1.8Ghz option. If you just want a mobile device for web use then the 1.3Ghz HDD version would be OK and with an added 3G module, that’s the one I would personally choose from the range.

Overall the OQO 2+ is an all-round improvement over the previous version and as a UMPC, it’s still one of the best.

The OQO has been handed over to Nicole now and she’s going to be using it at DLD in Munich for the next week. Keep an eye on MIDMoves for impressions from a web professional who’s probably not as concerned with the specs as I am.

Categorized | News

  • Kahm

    The OQO website doesn’t offer the gobi option on the low end model, at least in the preorder. Have they said that it will be available on the lower model, or are there other options for built in 3g?

    • admin

      That’s interesting and, if true, means that there isnt an OQO option for me!

      OQO havent said anything about this to us but I can try and check it out.

      Steve.

      • Kahm

        I would still consider it without built in 3g – I have a Nokia N95 I can use as an external bluetooth modem. OTOH, I *really* want the 3g option. It’s just that it’s a $649 upgrade for me :(

    • EC

      Yep it says “not available with this hardware configuration”!! Wonder why, I also notice only XP on the 1.33 edition…seems more like a WHY? rather than IF? :(

  • Fixup

    OQO has dropped the ball forever, if the UMID M1 will really be out on March:

    http://www.mobile01.com/topicdetail.php?f=159&t=913441&p=1

    The poster claims that he tested the M1 to last 5 hours with video playing. Overall performance is the best among all the UMPCs he has played with. On sale on March for about $999.

    • JC

      At 6.2inx3.7in, the UMID M1 is not likely to fit in a pant pocket. It is both longer and wider than an OQO. (e.g.., it would most likely stick out the top and dig into your hip if you want to put it in a front pocket.) One of the key appeals of the OQO is that it can fit in a pant pocket. (I don’t own an OQO, but I did borrow one for a week. I kept it in the front pocket of whatever pair of pants I was wearing for that entire week.) If you don’t need something that fits into a pant pocket, I’d argue that you shouldn’t be considering an OQO in the first place.

      The 18.6mm thickness is extremely appealing though. It’ll be interesting to see what the verdict on its keyboard is. The design makes the UMID look like it’s intended for table top use.

      It looks to me like the OQO and the UMID M1 can easily coexist. (The Aigo is much closer to being a direct competitor to the OQO if they do, in fact, come out with a version that comes with Windows 7 pre-installed.)

      • EC

        I’ve said this before and will say it again, anyone who has had the OQOs and tried the UMID will have to admit that they’re not at all in the same category when it comes to overall quality feel and build quality, this despite acknowledging certain shortcomings of the 2+.

        I’d like to ask though what other UMPC/MID can you find out there that was released two years ago and uses the same hardware (yes excluding the screen but that doesn’t change the external looks/size really) that gets the same attention as the OQO now two yrs later!? Also on this keep in mind that this is a 2+ and not an 03, so more like an “02 second edition” to use and older MS term :)

        As for the 18.6mm thickness of the UMID that’s not really the whole story you can find pics I took of the UMID at CES here http://www.flickr.com/photos/33606573@N06/sets/72157612716290861/
        There you will also find a picture showing a US 5 cent (with diameter 21.21mm) having less of a diameter than the UMID is thick in the thick end.

        I am typing this on my Aigo with XP over 3G and while the keyboard is ok it’s nowhere close to what I like, OQO 02 and TMo Sidekicks have the best thumb boards. Another thing I want to point out is screen resolution.
        I am currently runnin 800×600 and even at that I end up using the stylus quite a lot, just because there’s nothing to move the cursor without it and using your finger on a UI not intended for it on 4.8″ and 800×600 (or more) when on the go (or even when sitting still) is quite difficult to achieve what you want to.

        • EC

          Sorry, I want to complete this thought by saying the 2+ has just the right combination there (unlike the Aigo/Compal or UMID) of *BOTH* touch screen AND track stick (though I personally don’t love those track sticks).

        • Fixup

          I agree it is stupid without a mouse, but there is a very easy and simple workaround – AutoHotKey, allowing you to use some keys to simulate a mouse. I use AHK on my OQO02 so I can have mouse buttons on the right side.

          I also agree OQO has a superb building quality but I don’t care as long as I can carry 5 oz lighter, 5 mm thinner and 3 hours more battery.

          For me, I want a single pocket PC for all. OQO 02 is quite there except it is not meanwhile a laptop like the UMID. With oqo I have to hold it all the time, very hassle while I need to write something down on a paper or read a book.

          OQO is the best two-hand mobile PC, no question about that, but the UMID seems the only pocketable laptop/notebook. The former is more wanted by some users, but the latter is what I’ve been waiting for.

        • EC

          >I agree it is stupid without a mouse, but there is a very easy and simple workaround – >AutoHotKey, allowing you to use some keys to simulate a mouse. I use AHK on my OQO02 >so I can have mouse buttons on the right side.

          Well on the 02 / 2+ there *IS* a mouse (though personally I’m not too fond of the track sticks they work just fine). What I’d love to see is the kind of optical mouse found of for instance Samsung Omnia: (starting at 1:55 or so) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOg1uU1tT-c

          >I also agree OQO has a superb building quality

          I wouldn’t know as I never tried to build anything with the OQO’s I’ve had :)
          As for the BUILD quality yes OQO’s are up there, though they’ve had some “baby problems”.

          >but I don’t care as long as I can carry 5 oz lighter, 5 mm thinner and 3 hours more >battery.

          I’m not sure what you are talking about but if it is the UMID, you might want to check my post above and see that the UMID is *NOT* thinner than the OQO, also with the supplied two cell battery it will not outperform the OQO, that’s a given.

          >For me, I want a single pocket PC for all. OQO 02 is quite there except it is not meanwhile >a laptop like the UMID. With oqo I have to hold it all the time, very hassle while I need to >write something down on a paper or read a book.

          SINGLE pocket, vs…double pocket? :)

          The UMID is *NOT* a laptop, anyone taking it as such will be disappointed it’s not designed as such it’s not intended as such nor is it marketed as such, it is as the name indicates (even TWICE in the name) an MID. If you want a portable small laptop you will have to look to Netbooks or the new Sony Vaio P. There is no getting around that. There are all UMPC/MIDs not laptops!

          YES I AGREE 100% about the added benefit of the CLAMSHELL design and I advocate that as well but as I’m sure you’ve noticed already not everyone looking for a device like this wants, that as evident from another post on here, everyone doesn’t even want/need a keyboard (unlike myself).

          >OQO is the best two-hand mobile PC, no question about that, but the UMID seems the >only pocketable laptop/notebook. The former is more wanted by some users, but the >latter is what I’ve been waiting for.

          Agreed but let’s not confuse this sector of products any more than it already is, by calling the UMID a laptop/notebook. Unless your LAP is only 6-7″ big there’s no reason to call this a laptop :) The term MINI NETBOOK as been thrown around, and that I can see how you can call it. But to be accurate it is a UMPC or MID in the CLAMSHELL form factor. Even the much larger Flipstart was never marketed as a LAPTOP. You know an old term “handtop” would be the most accurate if you MUST have a …top name :)

          But ONCE AGAIN the UMID is NOT as thin (18.6mm) as UMID claims, not even in the thinnest end where if anything it is close to or same as the nickel 21.21mm however in the battery end it is MORE than the OQO is!

          Please study the information available here:
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/33606573@N06/sets/72157612716290861/

      • EC

        Here is a more realistic size of the UMID next to the OQO 02

        It’s kind of an “average” number the 30mm since it’s very obvious that it’s way over 21mm thick in the THICKEST end (most likely OVER 30mm) but around or slightly over 21mm in the thinnest, due to it’s sloped and thinner-thicker design its a bit hard to make a fair assesment but here is one:

        http://www.sizeasy.com/page/size_comparison/21511-UMID-M1-estimated-thickness-vs-UMID-est-thick-thin-end-vs-OQO-02

        Yellow representing the thickness in the THIN end and the red the THICK end. But like I said due to the thin->thick design it’s hard to get a fair representation of it in a SQUARE BOX formation.

        • Fixup

          Obviously when I say “laptop”, I mean you can put it on top of something (e.g. table) to free your hands for other tasks. With OQO and alike, my two hands are always occupied; if I leave it on a table, I cannot see the screen well and I cannot type in anything.

        • EC

          >Obviously when I say “laptop”, I mean you can put it on top of something (e.g. table) to free >your hands for other tasks.

          I am not sure how “obvious” that is to someone but yourself :)
          This is why I replied saying that CLAMSHELL or if you insist on a “..top” term then HANDTOP would be the more appropriate term in English so as to not create any additional confusion. There already is all too much confusion with the UMPC/MID terms and others!

          >ith OQO and alike, my two hands are always occupied; if I leave it on a table, I cannot see >the screen well and I cannot type in anything.

          The 01 came with a passive stand and the OQO 02 is designed to be used with the avtive holder, also the executive leather case’s lid can be used as a “leg” but yes, I agree and this is also the reason I PERSONALLY prefer CLAMSHELL designs.

          However once again, it is quite obvious that this is NOT the case for the majority of UMPC lovers, or else we’d see more clamshells than sliders!

        • EC
    • Kahm

      I thought the UMID was a viable option as well, but it has too many downsides. I’m trying to replace a Sharp Zaurus, so pocketability and easy thumb typing are my main requirements. The Umid is just too wide to do either for me. Also, the Umid only has a touchscreen, while the OQO has the touchscreen and trackstick. Also, the killer is no real USB port on the Umid!

      • EC

        I agree with your assessments totally, except I’m a bit confused by the “too wide” part, unless you mean it’s too wide for THUMB TYPING? You said “either” so I wasn’t sure what you meant, as I’d expect the wider the better for TOUCH typing, no?

        On the flip side of things, we must all know by now that there is no device that meets all our wants, sometimes I have my doubts if we will EVER see a device we dream of, just because either the market won’t buy it in quantities enough to support development AND production of it, or because technology will move on to the point where smart phones, info and programs in the “cloud”, along with alternative display solutions (pico projectors? foldable/rollable displays?) and/or alternative OS’ will come in and push the UMPC/MID as we see them today aside?

        What do I know? I’m just thinking out loud really, since it seems we’ve been waiting now in anticipation for YEARS yet no device really seems to be as powerful/quite/small/typeable as we would want even NOW :)

        • redbull

          is not umpc just a dream pda ? (what pepol dream abut in 1996 ?) hmm i guss it will allways be a mreakt for devices that have local stoirage and maybe a market fort notsalgic pda becuse ppl still use old palm devices and old ppl is allways scared of try somthing new (dont those ppl taht start to use newton begin be old now ?)wikl it not be nich for todays umpc dream ? just like its made lunix pda/umpc even office or fashoin guys dont buy it ?maybe a copyd dvecies like todays chinnes poroducts today and sombody just ned to write a tranlateeed os for it :)or poor country devices like the negropnt laptop ideas maybe was 1991 dream laptop´;)

        • EC

          Could someone please translate the comment by “redbull”? :)

    • EC

      Why/how would a “poster” on a Taiwan website have a device from Korea, that is not yet released to the public. I’m not doubting that the person who posted it has the UMID in his hand, but I am questioning who this “poster” would be…!? Whoever it is you’d get the feeling that he would have reason to not be totally neutral :)

      Yes UMID claimed some very exceptional battery times at CES also, just like the 18.6 mm thickness, but I think the readers of this site are more interested in realistic facts and figures rather than some that really are not realistic nor..well true (as with the thickness).

      It also seems like the poster is talking about realmedia video that could be any low quality video rendering really.

  • Logan

    Hey chippy,
    Do you think that it’s possible to throttle the cpu down enough to play back standard quality, or maybe a little less, dvd’s? Without having the fan come on.

    • EC

      Logan,

      Are you able to do that on your current laptop? If so what do you have? :)

      You might not HEAR your fan on your laptop as much but try and check and you’ll see the fan is running on just about any laptop if you’re watching a DVD. Aah watching a DVD on the OQO would mean having it in the stand…that’s what you mean?

      • Logan

        Haha, right EC. Truth be told the only laptop I have is a UX380P, if you can call that a laptop. I guess I was thinking mini dvd players. And no, not in the stand, but rather watching ripped dvds on the go, without disturbing others with the “mini-hairdryer” sound.

        What made me ask is he said it played HD videos with low cpu load, so I only presumed that SD videos or maybe lower, for the oqo’s smaller screen, would have even lower cpu load, maybe not quite needing the fan at low cpu speeds, or at least not as much.

    • admin

      If you want to play ripped dvds then yes, i believe it should be possible.

      Steve

      • EC

        Common try it :)

  • Rob Beschizza

    @fauc In-depth OQO 2+ hands-on: “one of the most productive desk-to-hand options I’ve ever seen.” http://is.gd/hguB

  • Anpu

    > 800×480 means you have to use the +/- buttons and switch in and out of the interpolated 1024×600 mode.

    Sorry folks, but I just can’t take it anymore…
    800×480 on the 1024×600 screen is interpolated resolution.
    1024×600 on the 800×480 screen is *not* interpolated.
    It’s decimated, or downsampled.
    Please, don’t misuse existing terminology.

  • Zip

    Hey Chippy:

    What did you mean by this comment?

    “If you were to replace the SSD with a HDD then you’d save $600+ dollars but you’d be in a difficult position with Vista. HDD and XP would pair well together though.”

    What does the drive type have to do with the Operating system. I have an OQO2 business vista and an HDD. Although I am VERY interseted in how W7 can improve the current system. Early reports on OQOTalk are promissing.

  • Unfortunately at that price, the lack of integrated GPS and webcam is a dealbreaker. Plus, why would we buy something like this with Vista when Windows 7 is right around the corner?

    Thrown in the GPS, webcam, some hackintosh drivers, drop the price $1000 and I’m in!

  • Howard Jackson

    Woah, this thing can play HD DVDs/rips? What resolution can it output?

  • @JessePB Its a hot UMPC Still no word on when the OQO 2+ will be released though. I tested it last month: http://is.gd/hguB

  • Ux

    Does it run Mac OS X 10.5.6?

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