The Samsung Q1EX is due to head on to its next review appointment so it’s time for me to round-up my coverage of it by giving you some performance test results and an overview. It should at least give a reference point for future VIA Nano-based products and an idea of where this device fits in. It’s a difficult device to position but when compared with peer devices, it offers improvements all round at a good value price.
Overall performance levels as measured by CrystalMark are in the netbook class which is good for a UMPC. I saw CPU results coming in at what I’d normally expect from a 1.3Ghz Atom Z-series CPU but similar clock-for-clock results when compared to, say, the older Pentium-M. It’s nearly twice as powerful as the VIA C7 at the same clock speed according to the results. The summary is shown below and the details can be seen here.
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.
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.)
Smaller than I thought it would be and looking well designed (as always with Samsung devices) it’s the Samsung Q1-EX being reviewed by VIA’s ‘How To Be Mobile’ crew.
LaptopMag reviewed this recently and weren’t too impressed that the split mini thumboard was missing but as I said before, I think this one is targeted at a specific industry segment where it will fit perfectly with dedicated software. It may not be the perfect consumer UMPC but I’m eager to test it out with my ‘business’ hat on and see how the VIA Nano and VX800 chipset perform.
File this post into the better late than never category.
Samsung started into the UMPC market with the original Q1 [Portal page] from there, they upgraded to the Q1 Ultra [Portal page] which added a split keyboard, increased the screen resolution, and made some other upgrades. Now Samsung is getting back to its roots with the Q1EX which was spotted at CES 2009.
The Q1EX looks like a more refined version of Samsung’s original Slate UMPC, the Q1. They dropped the split keyboard from the Q1 Ultra and moved to the Via Nano platform for processing. They were able to get the price down to a pretty reasonable price, but they made some compromises like battery life and no more keyboard.
Laptop Mag got their hands on a Q1EX for a review session. They found the price to be more reasonable than the predecessors, but didn’t like the reduced battery life and lack of an effective method of text input. I would say that the unit is definitely an upgrade over the original Q1 which would be great for anyone who enjoyed using one. There is also a pretty cool organizer case which has a keyboard that attaches to the Q1EX to make text entry a bit easier (pictured below).
The Q1UEX has hit the retail channels in the US. $729 for the Q1EX-71G. (NP-Q1EX-FA01US.) Lets take a closer look to see where we stand with this
Resolution: 1024 x 600 [unknown if this is soft orhard touch]
Processor: via nano ulv u2500 [expect Atiom 1.6Ghz performance]
Processor speed: 1.2 ghz
Hard drive size: 60 gb – 1.8 hdd [if it's the same as the Q1U, can be upgraded to SSD]
Memory size: 2 gb ddr2 667 mhz [2GB is good]
i/o ports: 2-usb 2.0 3 in 1 card slot (ms sd(sdio) sdhc headphone out internal mic [No dock]
Graphics: via chrome9 [better than GMA500!]
hc connectivity: 802.11 b/g wireless bluetooth v2.0 wireless [no draft-n]
battery: 4-cell lithium ion [That should be about 30wh - Expect 3hrs max based on what I've seen on the Samsung NC20. The VIA Nano is not a serious contender to Atom in terms of efficiency.]
Operating system: genuine microsoft windows xp tablet edition software: samsung recovery solution iii samsung magic doctor samsung update plus easy display manger easy battery manager easy network manager easy speedup manager mcafee virus scan adobe acrobat reader
Other: 1.3 mega pixel camera wrist strap & usb data sync cable
I estimate the weight at 700gm
No 3G. No GPS.
If this has a hard-touch screen, it makes it a very interesting small tablet PC but at over $700, Samsung are obviously not aiming at a mass market.
I still don’t understand what Samsung are aiming at here. They were prepared to take risks in the UMPC market in 2006 and 2007 but you can’t take risks with tablets in 2009 if you’re not bringing anything new to the party which makes me think that this UMPC is the result of a demand from a specific industry sector.
I’ve been asking questions in my head about this one ever since I saw it crop up at CES. Did Samsung produce this as a new UMPC concept or did a big customer put an order in for a specific device for a big project? Or are they trying to re-ignite the tablet pc or jump the ‘reader’ market?
For UMPC and TabletPC fans though, this could be interesting. Navigadget have spotted a GPS in the specs (indicating that Samsung might be targeting the transport industry?) and if it’s got a heavy touchscreen, it could be a great little TabletPC option.
It seems strange that Samsung, with their knowledge of both UMPC and Netbook markets, would produce a new UMPC out of the blue so my feeling is that Samsung are aiming at a specific customer with this one which means pricing will come with the usual premuim.
We should be getting hold of one in the next month so we’ll bring you the full details then. In the meantime, check out a few pics, some details and a possible price at Navigadget
As we expected 7″ without keyboard. More as it develops…….
Update: VIA Procesor. Maybe its for developing markets if its a C7? Or maybe its a Nano?
Update2: Its a VIA Nano CPU.
Processor: VIA Nano U2500 1200mhz
HDD: Samsung HS082HB
Network:Bluetooth Pan network adapter, Marvell sd8685 wireless LAN sdio adapter
Imaging devices: USV2.0 1.3M UVC WebCam (seems to be in upper middle of the back of the device)
Update 3: GottabeMobile have an article confirming it’s the Q1EX. GPS, Wimax are included and it gives 4.5hrs battery life.4.5hrs is dissapointing for such a, seemingly, thick UMPC but maybe the Nano gives it the ooomph required for on the go video processing? Something for new-media journalists?