Tag Archive | "benq"

Weekly Netbook Roundup

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Welcome to this week’s netbook roundup. In this space every Monday I’ll highlight netbook new items from around the web.

Earth – Highlights From Day Four of my Mid Moves Tour

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The final day for myself on the road for this iteration of the Mid Moves tour. I’ve left myself one classical element to explore (Earth) and for the fourth mode of transport I’m turning to the Underground, specifically the Glasgow Underground.


Mid Moves (Ewan) – Day 4… Earth from Spence Ewan on Vimeo.

With all the fun uses of Mids out the way in previous highlight shows, today was the turn of the workhorse applications… IM, Email, Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations. Just like a regular computer for any office based worker.

Fingertips or Stylus Tips

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One of the big differences between the Compal MID and the BenQ S6 devices is what they expect the primary input mechanism to be. While both of them have touch screens, the design of the user interface shows one clear difference.

The Compal is designed to be used by a stylus, while the S6 is geared for the much larger (and less accurate) finger.

For a long time PDA’s were all stylus controlled in the US (think of the Palm and early Windows CE machines), and a lot of this was down to technology. Screens were in their infancy and had a low pixel per inch density. Your pointer could wander round a bit and still hit the target, even when standing. In Europe it was all about the clamshell with a full keyboard you used on a desk or cradled in your hands. It took until the Psion Series 5 came out that the stylus as part of an interface took off.

In all those cases it was the ergonomics of where a device was going to be used that determined how useful the stylus would be – the small Palm and Windows devices could be comfortably held in one hand while the stylus was used, while Psion arguably produced machines to be used at tables.

So what of the MID devices? Both the S6 and the Compal are geared towards being used in the hand – the Compal’s screen doesn’t tilt and while the S6 has a small kickstand the location of the scroll strip and buttons under the thumbs gives away the design brief. Neither device is suitable to be used one handed mainly due to their size. So two handed it it, and in my mind that means you’ll be standing (more than likely walking), when using the device.

And a stylus in that situation is pretty useless. The Compal’s interface has buttons and target areas so small that even a little bounce in your step and you’ll be missing where you were hoping to click. Having an on screen mouse/cursor is also very strange, and I think shows the roots of the Compal UI is in a desk based system, with easy access to a stable mouse.

It’s certainly not as well suited to working on the move as the S6 is. With large round buttons, which just happen to be about the size of the pad of your finger, it’s clear that the designers of the S6′s UI have thought about where the S6 will be used and decided that a lot of the time people will be “walking and mid-ing” and ensured that any frustration will not be because of the UI.

(Although web forms are still tiny, and BenQ did see fit to include a stylus for situations like that)

Having used both devices, the S6 is certainly the more comfortable UI when out and about. Although the Compal feels much more like a full blown computer that has more potential the rough edges will take away a lot of those potential advantages in the eyes of the consumer.

Music On The [MID] Move

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I’ve been having a look (or should that be listen) to the music capabilities of the BenQ S6 MID device. With a stereo headphone socket and a music player as part of the built in software, the device can be used as a portable music player.

But is it any good?

A good music player needs to have a couple of areas where it has to perform. The audio quality, the navigation of music on the device, and transferring music from another computer.

Audio quality output is good, the speakers on the device happily fill my kitchen and taking it outside there’s enough volume to listen comfortably when in the park. It’s when you start listening on headphones that there’s a problem. The headphone socket (which also carries the microphone socket as well) is only a 2.5mm jack socket. The standard size on pretty much any consumer device is 3.5mm, and my favourite headphones (including my custom moulded monitors) are all that size. While you can get adaptors, I fail to see any design reasons to go for the smaller jack plug that benefits the end user.

Looking through your music on the device is not a pleasant task. Although all my MP3 files have the correct ID3 tags, with the artist, album, track numbers and album art, the S6 does not use any of that information. Once you open the media application and start navigating music, you are using the directory structure and filenames of the MP3 files, with little option to search through the meta-information.

The controls only show up on the screen when you tap the play icon next to a media file – this places the controls over the the screen for a few seconds before disappearing again. It’s not at all intuitive. What’s more, once you switch away from the media player, there are no on-screen controls you can pop up to control the music.

Finally, transferring music to the device. I had to resort to using a blue tooth transfer from my PC to get a connection to the memory card or internal memory of the S6. While I know many people will be able to do this, it is not a consumer ready solution.

Compare the hoops you have to jump through when compared to the iPod Touch and iTunes, the ease of controlling the music, and searching through with your eyes or filters, and you realise that the BenQ has some work to do to make the S6 acceptable as a music player.

Benq S6 unboxing and testing.

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s6unboxI really want to test out the BenQ S6. There’s no keyboard on it but its by far the cheapest 3G-enabled MID available. 299 Euros for a 3G, Wifi, Firefox MID is great value. Unfortunately it’s only available in Italy which is why I haven’t had hands-on yet.

Ewan Spence at MIDMoves, has unboxed one and is using it for two days as part of his MIDMoves tour. The unboxing video is up already but keep checking for updates on Ewans stream at MIDMoves.

Unboxing the S6.

Unboxing The Benq S6

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Day three and four of my Mid Moves tour and I’m switching devices. The Compal and it’s slide out keyboard stays behind, and is replaced with the BenQ S6. What’s in the box in hear you ask?

Let me show you…


Mid Moves (Ewan) – Unboxing the Benq S6 from Ewan Spence on Vimeo.

Now to see how the S6 copes on the road. If you’re keeping track, today’s element is AIR and the transport is BUS.

OQO Model 02+ First benchmarks.

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oqo2pluscm The first of the MIDs are arriving at the doors of MID Moves doorsteps and one of the first to get attention is the OQO 2+ with it’s OLED screen and 1.8Ghz Atom CPU. Jenn has pushed out some benchmarks already and you can instantly see the advantage over lower-clocked Atom CPUs. In fact, that ALU figure is higher than I expected. Disk results there look fairly average so I’m wondering if Jenn has the HDD version. Actually I’m hoping she has the HDD version!

As I type, Jenn is twittering [follow her mutterings] in the background so although it must be past her bedtime, I know she hasn’t been able to put it down yet!

Source: MID Moves

P.S. Jenn has the Benq S6 too. It’s the cheapest MID on the planet. Euro299!

Specifictions and details in the database: OQO 2 Plus. Benq S6.

OQO 2+ on it’s way thanks to Intel and MIDMoves.

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oqoe2 One advantage of running an Intel-sponsored MID event is that I get some nice kit to play with. In fact, the whole team gets some nice kit to play with on the tour. Between Jenn, Nicole, Ewan and myself we’ve got 4 different MIDs to test out. The Compal MID (not sure which ‘brand’ this will be yet) the Benq S6, the ClarionMiND and the OQO 2+. There’ll be 2 of each to be shared out and I’m getting an OQO 2+ and a Clarion Mind. The devices have been shipped by Intel from the US and we’re expecting them very soon. Jenn is also getting an OQO 2+ and I guess, as she’s in the US, she’ll be getting it first so watch closely over at Pocketables.net

The MIDMoves tour starts next Monday, the 19th and MIDMoves will be the place that we’ll all be reporting about the devices first. If I have time before the tour I’ll fire up the studio (still warm from CES coverage!) and do some live work with you. If I don’t have time during the tour, expect lots of coverage after it.

If you’ve been following MIDMoves, you’ll see that I’ve been getting into final planning. Roaming 3G costs have meant that I’m having to change my tour itinerary but there are some exciting things happening. In my latest post, I’ve been talking about geographically aware applications and services.

Benq S6. First 3G MID launches in Italy.

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How long, just how long, did we have to wait for this? It feels like years! The first Atom-based MID in the western world finally launches. I’ve been trying to keep in contact with Benq about this since we spoke in depth about it at IDF but where does the information always come from in the end? A UMPCPortal reader of course! We don’t need no stinkin PR people ;-)

So what have we got? Via an article at Toms Hardware Italy (translation) we’ve tracked down the product page. It looks like its available NOW! More details after the pic…

s6

Read the full story

Benq Aries 2 MID to launch ‘this quarter’ in Europe.

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Benq recently won a design award for their Aries 2 MID (that we’ve seen before) which prompted a few news releases, one of which included the line "BenQ also claimed that the new MID model would be launched in Europe this quarter."

aries2

A businessweek article included the image above. It’s certainly looking attractive! Other snippets of info include a mention of the ‘shake’ interface where windows respond to a shaking action and a mention of an auto-rotate feature. Benq calls this the ‘Free Surf’ user interface. Obviously they’re making a big deal of it so it needs to be good!

Aries2 won the Bronze Award in the Interactive Product Experiences category at the 2008 Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) held in the United States.

I’m hoping we’ll see this at IDF and IFA later this month. No lets aim higher than that.  I’m hoping to see this on a UMPCPortal live session ASAP ;-)

For the latest specs and news, check out our Benq MID info page.



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