Samsung Q1EX TabletPC unboxing, Q&A, thoughts.

Posted on 28 April 2009 by



q1ex-3 Ever since we outed the Samsung Q1EX I’ve had trouble positioning it. After an unboxing (see below) a 4-hour live Q&A session (1hr video below) I still cant see why Samsung created the Q1EX. It’s a fine tabletPC  but in the last 3 years they’ve learned a lot about the UMPC market and they know that Tablet PCs can be a hard sell. What made them go back to the no-keyboard form-factor?

From a TabletPC perspective, the Samsung is actually a very good all-rounder. I called it the ‘20% device’ in our live Ustream Q&A because that about sums up the improvements overall. 20% less weight, 20% less cost, 20% more GPU, 20% more battery life, 20% better looking!! All excellent incremental changes for the TabletPC market but there are silly things that appear to have been left out.

A 1.3mp cam on the rear means it’s no good for Skype video and not high enough quality for photography. The stylus slots into the lanyard which means you need to leave the lanyard attached, affecting the smooth looks of the device. The hard drive is neither fast (in comparison with some of the SSD’s we’re seeing now) nor does it have a very high capacity. The touchscreen doesnt run full tabletPC-compatible drivers meaning the input panel doesnt float and you get low sample-rate handwriting recognition. The organiser pack accessory bulks it out to a size that’s than most netbooks and finally, I managed to push the CPU/GPU combination so hard in a Cooliris test that I got the battery life meter down to 1.5hrs! It bounced back up to three when I stopped playing with Cooliris but it shows that the power envelope of the Q1EX is very very wide.

Full specifications and links in the product page.

On the positive side, the push/scroll wheel is the best implementation I’ve seen yet for an on-screen control panel. Changing brightness, volume, rotation is a breeze. The weight is down to one-handed usage levels meaning you can flip this one into portrait ‘reading’ mode. I was seeing over 4hrs battery life in this, no-radio, quiescent state. Also, the touchscreen has some palm rejection capability. For my ‘pinky on the screen’ left-handed writing method, it didn’t work but it’s clearly a lot better than other touchscreens for handwriting. In fact, one-handed portrait mode usage with a stylus is probably the #1 ‘feature’ over other UMPCs.

Considering that this is entering the market at $750, I would expect to see this discounted like many other devices have been over the last two years. In fact, I think this is very likely. It looks to me like this was a project by Samsung to put a new tablet out there for a specific market, a market-research exercise or even an industry request. Resellers have decided to price-up the device (still below all the other Samsung UMPC offerings) in order to get the most out of the early, mostly commercial, buyers but based on the fact that a VIA-based Samsung NC20 can sell for 75% of the price, there must be room for a sub $500 or even sub $400 price point. That would be pretty close to that CrunchPad that Techcrunch are working on.

What do you think? Is there a usage model that jumps out at you or is this simply targeted as a good quality, well-priced, TabletPC? Here’s the unboxing video…

For a more detailed look at the Q1EX, check out the Ustream recording below. (If the video is not showing below, go to the Ustream page. I’ve been seeing some problems with the UStream embedded videos today.)

Thanks to VIA Technologies for sending the Samsung  Q1EX over for a test.

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14 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    New article: Samsung Q1EX TabletPC unboxing, Q&A, thoughts. http://cli.gs/SQrVdy

  2. Marc says:

    I’ve had a Q1, a Q1P and a Q1U (as you know as you’ve ended up with most of them!). They all made me very excited, but didn’t quite live up to the hope I had for them.

    Sadly the EX doesn’t even get me excited!

  3. Corrupted Mind says:

    Must admit that I’m stumped. My first impression was crunchpad killer but after seeing the crunchpad pics that would mean, thinner, lighter and generally more beautiful. The 60gb HDD is the really confusing thing for me. It suggested that they might be targeting the pro/prosumer digi-cam crowd, but the lack of a 3g radio makes direct upload an issue (also a more obvious step back to CF would be needed). The camera on the back made me think supermarket “barcode reader”, but most UK supermarkets go with a ruggedised touch screen so my contacts there say its a non-starter for them. The camera on the back also makes it a little strange for an ebook reader. I’m really surprised that if Samsung were going low cost they didn’t throw a 16gb flash drive in there instead of the HDD – you have a SD slot which goes to 32GB these days. Also the big proc and GPU on there is a wildcard – I have no clue what you’d need it for other than some HD/BD rips or youtube HD. I’ll be interested to see how this does.

  4. turn.self.off says:

    remind me, how many umpc/mid/netbooks do you have around these days, chippy?

  5. Cristian says:

    I am sorry but I fail to see completely the point of this device and I have the Q1 Ultra and think it’s one of the best UMPCs ever, only followed by the Wibrain B/I1.
    What Samsung has done here is beyone me, the Q1U already has a battery life of over 3h and over 6h wit the extended battery, has the same screensize and much more useful has a keyboard, which while not perfect, perfectly usable for inputting passwords and more important using shortcuts in applications. F
    rom this point the only think Samsung needed to improve on the Q1U would have been to add a backlight to the keyboard and maybe add like on the Wibrain bigger keys and a touchpad.
    What they have done instead is to remove the keyboard completely without adding anything significant and the price is still very high.

    Pointless device and considering Samsung’s poor marketing for the Q1 Ultra, I don’t see this selling well. A updated Q1 Ultra marketed at photographers with a price tag of 500$ on the other hand would sell very well if Samsung would market it, I get a lot of interest and questions regarding the Q1U from photographers.

    Josh Reply:

    jealous that a new model came out,hahaha

  6. Brianflys says:

    I like the Q1EX, reminds me of the old Motion LS800 while a little smaller, lighter, higher resolution, and more powerful (but passive display). With the Organizer accessory (on order, hoping to get it soon) the Q1EX provides tablet capability when you want it, and even smaller footprint when you want that. My personal interest is as a vertical application for an aviation navigation system. The size and performance is perfect for the cockpit. My review/comparison of the Samsung Q1EX to the Fujitsu P1610:
    http://brianflys.net/2009/04/18/review-samsung-q1ex-vs-fujitsu-p1610-running-anywhere-map-pro/
    The Q1EX is being marketed now as a aviation GPS navigation solution by Control Vision (with 32GB SSD) called “Anywhere xSST”:
    http://www.anywheremap.com/ultramobile.aspx

  7. KJ says:

    I’ve been looking for a windows based navigation and mobile media device. The Samsung form factor seems to be great and you get the speed of the VIA CPU. The addition of a touch based navigation SW (StreetDeck, Mobile Version of Garmin or Microsoft Streets and Trips) seems like a good idea. With the addition of ODB sensor, backup USB camera, you can get an inexpensive whole car navigation unit. The $750 price is high but for $600 that would a good deal. Change to a SSD and Windows7 you get all the benefits of a small resource foortprint for fast navigation and in car entertainment. The Viliv S5 StreetDeck demo looks so tempting. I would love to see the Samsung and the performance of the higher speed VIA CPU.

    Viliv S5 StreetDeck demo

    http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2009/03/streetdeck-on-viliv-s5.html

  8. squirrel says:

    The screen and weight are intermediate and thus insufficient. The right idea of converting tablet into handheld device is given by Always innovating – to put half of the battery into detachable keyboard block. Thus the screen can be enlarged to 9″ or even to 10″ and weight can be reduced to “near Viliv-5″ level (500 gm)

  9. jstu says:

    I recently purchased the Q1EX to be used as a CarPC. I really like the 7″ screen and while the $750 price point is a bit high, it was more justifiable than $1,000+ for the Q1 Ultra. No, it doesn’t have the keyboard, but using it as a CarPC on my dashboard, I like the clean look of it. A thumbpad will suffice while I’m on the road… and will probably be easier to input than the split Qwerty.

    Based on initial photos, I had hopes that this would have GPS enabled, but a quick email to Samsung confirmed that while the hardware may be inside, the “GPS feature was scrapped during production”. Bummer! Here’s hoping that someone more technically inclined than myself can put together some drivers for it and get the GPS enabled after all.

  10. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    Found: Samsung Q1EX, unboxing, Q&A, thoughts by UMPCPortal http://tinyurl.com/czc8nz

  11. Tom Mac says:

    Been there, got the T-shirt!

    Why go there again?

    TM

  12. Joseph Kim, MD, MPH says:

    I’ll stick with my Q1 Ultra for now. I think Samsung has gone backwards with the design. What a shame…

  13. timon says:

    Samsung has canceled the mouse and direction key as well as mini keyboard in Q1-ex, which was a regretful thing.

    It is an error.

    Q1 ultra its mouse and direction key are especially important. I am using Q1 ultra to fast browse the images in the outdoors, with through its mouse and direction key as well as mini keyboard (such as the “Esc key”, “Space bar”, “Enter key” etc).

    The touch-screen is not better efficiency that than the use of those mouse and direction key as well as mini keyboard. I was not to talks many text of input as its mini-keyboard.

    The successor Samsung Q1 ultra P01 its processor is a Core Solo U1500 and a better performance. But I hope that the future Q1 ultra has a Core 2 Duo SU9600 or SU9300 processor and a GS45 chipset, and the mouse, direction key as well as mini keyboard should keep.

    In the playback of many large images there already needed a Core 2 Duo SU9600 or SU9300 processor and a GS45 chipset. Nowadays, the digital cameras were 10M or 20M pixels, and 30M pixels will be coming soon.

    Also, I hope that the future Q1 has a new accessional function:
    It should also be able to act as a real mini monitor (7-inch and 720p support, WXGA 1280×800 or 1280×768), with HDMI input port (the computing part running can be stopped). It can be connected to camera HDMI output port, and its inside batteries have to support as the outdoor application of the portable monitor.

  14. Andy says:

    i remember how last year a senior mgr of samsung announced a new gen umpc for 2009 with revised ergonomics/ui….lol….reminds me of a car manufacturer who stops making convertibles because people complain about wind noise from the fabric roof…