Posted on 10 December 2009
I’m back to using the N82 as my smartphone. This amazing device that I bought in Jan 2008 is locking me in like no other device has ever done in the past. I was close to buying a Motorola Milestone and after upgrading my Omnia Pro B7610 I though I might stick with that but no, the Xenon flash captures moments and the Ovi Maps guides me to moments that no other device is able to. And it’s small!
One of my big issues with high-end smartphones is their size and price. You don’t buy a Ferrari to go to work in a town office because it’s not practical. You don’t (or shouldn’t) use a 4×4 either. It’s a waste of space, uses too much fuel and is difficult to park. I feel the same way about phones. They need to be phone sized, economical and good value. I need to be able to park them in my pocket. I need them to have fuel to get me home. The N82 is a great, practical smartphone.
Around the house I use the Archos 5 Internet Tablet. It’s like a quad bike. Useless forpublic roads but great for some jobs around the locality. Fast web, long battery life, big screen, great social communications apps and entertainment in a very small package. I published a big review of it the Archos 5 IT this week which highlights how multi-faceted it is.
Away from the house I’m using two devices. The U820 (AKA Loox U/50) is my short-term productivity device. My UMPC. It’s the device I carry with me if I don’t have any work planned. I’m able to use it almost anywhere and it’s been a fast, reliable, ultra-mobile solution. It sits on it’s docking station ready for action. I’m not sure how I could improve this device right now. The Mifi 2352 usually charges alongside the U820 and comes with me everywhere the U820 does.
I’ll usually take the U820 to work away from home too but mostly I would be using my Gigabyte T1028M. It’s a modded 10” touchscreen netbook that has fantastic 3G reception, a rugged and fast runcore SSD drive and an extended battery. It’s a device that I’m looking to upgrade. I need to keep the same features but advances in technology and falling prices mean that I think I can now get all of this with more processing power and a bigger screen for a smaller size. I’ve been looking at sub 1.5kg 12” devices to replace it and actually, there aren’t many in the market yet. The Sony Vaio X11 is offering a lot of what I want and I’m itching to test one out. Saving 600gm (40%) in weight would be amazing but is it worth 1400 Euro? Over 2-years of increased productivity I think I could justify it but i’ll wait until I’ve done some more testing on the Viliv S10 first. If Viliv make a 2.0Ghz, SSD, 3G version of that available for under 1000 Euro, I’m in!
Posted on 07 May 2009
After a very successful and stress-free install of Windows 7 on the U/B50N (U820, U2010) UMPC yesterday, I’m now giving it a full test as a desktop PC with full size monitor and keyboard. Using the dock, the screen keyboard, mouse and power can be left plugged in and I can grab the UMPC whenever I need to take Twhirl to the kitchen!
The Loox was already an impressive device but with Windows 7 it’s working so much better. Quick, clean, enjoyable. Not as fast as XP but the trade-off is worth it now. Battery life appears to be better. It ranges from under 5W (wifi-on, screen on, idle = 4hrs) drain through 7W (average Wifi browsing = 3hrs) up to 10W (2hrs) if it’s pushed for videos. Boot time is about 60 seconds until fingerprint swipe and another 30 seconds on top until it’s stable. Far better than Vista was. All touch features are working including floating tip and the on screen keyboard is great in portrait sofa-surfing mode! Even the fingerprint reader is working for Windows login. There’s no audio output on the dock which is a little annoying but USB audio dongles are dirt cheap and there’s always the A2DP route so it’s not a major hassle. With the 1.6Ghz processor (1GB RAM) it’s fast enough for my journalistic and social networking activities although there’s clearly room for improvement in disk speed. A fast 64GB SSD would make this almost unbeatable. (The 2Ghz version with an SSD will be the ultimate grab and go desktop!)
This isn’t a cheap setup by any means but it’s one of the best engineered, multi-scenario UMPC packages you can buy. From tablet to thumbing to table-top and desktop. It’s up there with the 1.8Ghz OQO 2+ and docking station setup I tested. I’m enjoying the U/B50N so much that when I’ve completed the Viliv S5 review (that I’m supposed to be doing right now!) I’ll schedule a full review of this. When the UMID Mbook goes back to Mobilx this week, the U/B50N will become my main UMPC. Thanks very much to Conics for the long-term loan of the U/B50N. It’s been a pleasure but I really can’t stop thinking about the 2Ghz version you have!
End of day update:
This is very cool to work with. I always like a dual-screen setup and theres a great feeling of efficiency here but don’t expect this setup to be without limits. I put the Fuji into high-power mode (no speed stepping) and the fan got annoying (in my silent, out of town room while I was concentrating on an article) and there were one or two stutters too many. I think, however, these are coming from my RF keyboard and mouse rahter than the UMPC. I need another session with a hard-wired keyboard.mouse. If you need ONE PC for mobility and desktop and you want to use it a lot, i.e. you need quality, this is probably in the top three with the Sony UX and OQO. I dare say the 2Ghz with SSD and windows 7 will be the ultimate one-pc setup.