Mobile computing Customer challenge #6 Chippy’s new UMPC.

Posted on 04 August 2008, Last updated on 11 November 2019 by

The Q1 Ultra has been my main mobile device since I switched from the Raon Digital Everun some months ago. It has been a near-perfect solution for me and having the SSD, HSDPA mods and optimised Windows XP solution has elevated it above all the other UMPCs I’ve owned or tested. It’s even convinced me that a 7" Windows-based ultra mobile PC is more suited to my business needs than the 4.8" Carrypad device I wanted before. That’s a very significant change in my requirement that I’ve already started to write an article about because it means that i’m no longer looking for a MID as my single Ultra Mobile computing device. I’ll try and finish that article this weekend.

q1fried But…the Q1 Ultra is dead now (RIP, friend) due to an accident with my charging solution last Friday. The overheated MP3400 charger appears to have shorted and killed the battery charging circuitry in my Q1 so now the Q1 only works on mains power. The Q1 Ultra charging circuit appears to be beyond repair (see image.) so now I’m in the position of having to choose a new UMPC. Here’s what I’m looking for…

My requirements:
  • 7" 1024×600 soft-touch, high brightness.
  • 4-hour on-line battery life. That’s ON-LINE, not marketing figures!!
  • Weight: 900gm or less.
  • OS: Windows XP (In every case I’ve seen, XP has been faster and more productive for me than Vista.)
  • Keyboard: Split, slider or clamshell considered.  Slate with split keyboard preferred as it matches my mobile needs. Keyboard can be added at any time although I realise that ‘lapping’ is a problem with this setup.
  • Price: 1000 Euro.
Nice to have
  • SSD – 8Gb (No data storage required)
  • HSDPA
Usage scenarios
  • Bed, Sofa, garden
  • Tabletop
  • Bathroom (there’s nothing like listening to an episode of TWIT while soaking in the bath!)
  • Car (Video for passengers, occasional Navigation)
  • Mostly consumption of web content including video.
  • Some forum, IM and email work
  • Occasional (when out on business) keyboard work for blog posts or notes.
  • Photo storage and editing via SD card.
  • Photo transfer from phone via BT to home network.
  • The device needs to be able to perform efficiently doing most Windows-based tasks
  • No office suite requirement
Purchase options
  • Gigabyte M704.  Not quite 4 hours battery life but still an option.
  • New Q1 Ultra. Premium+XP is tempting for basic video work but it’s damn expensive.
Other options
  • Wait for a new 7" device and use SC3 + Everun in the meantime. SC3 is not so good for lap-based work though.
  • Wait for new device and use the Medion Akoya.
  • Upgrade Kohjinsha SC3 with extended battery and Windows XP. (currently not available. Will take too much time to set-up.)
  • Clevo TN70M Silverthorne-based mini notebook. Not currently available
  • ASUS 901 with Windows XP – No touchscreen. I would miss it. 1.1KG is also a bit too heavy for one-handed use.
  • Gigabyte M912 with Windows XP – Too heavy. Not quite 4 hours battery life. Not available yet.
  • Reduce my requirements? Haha!

I was going to switch to the SC3 for the time being but some time with it at the weekend reminded me how battery life is so important. Performance isn’t up to my requirements either. The form factor is great (apart from lapping) but without that battery life, I can’t rely on it. I switched over to the Wibrain for a few hours after that and then found it getting warmer than I like to have in two hands. The main problem though is that it can’t handle table-top operations. 7" is entry-point for that. Basically, the Q1 Ultra is the only choice for me at the moment so right now, i’m looking at to see if I can get the cheap Q1 Ultra C from Hong Kong.  Psychologically, it will be difficult to spend money on the same device but it says a lot about a computer when, after 1.5 years, the best option is to get the same one! For many, the device is far from perfect. For me, it’s really hitting the mark. At least i’ll have a lot of spares if I buy a second one!

Oh the frustration of choosing a new device! Has anyone got any ideas for me? Did I miss something?

41 Comments For This Post

  1. Melmo says:

    What’s the part number on the burnt out chip? Looks like a voltage regulator, and since it’s a fairly large part perhaps you can do a diy repair.

  2. Kevin C. Tofel says:

    I think you owe it to yourself to at least try the Q1 Ultra Premium. 5-6 hours of battery life and should meet most (if not all) of your other requirements. Mind you, I said “try”… I realize it’s not a cheap device. :)

  3. chippy says:

    You know what will happen if I try it!!!
    Steve

  4. quick says:

    Based on your requirements the Q1U-Premium with XP is best suited by far for your needs, especially if you throw an SDD in there.

    It really was worth (for me) the premium price 1241.99 USD no tax free shipping is what I paid. For you I don’t think it’s even sold over there and, if it is it’s marked up and with taxes it’s going to cost an arm and a leg.

    So I definitely understand your apprehension in paying the price for one right now. Price wise and timing wise you would be better off buying another Q1U for cheap, used or whatever…

    Good luck

    quick

  5. chippy says:

    Quick, Kevin.
    Yes, the Premium is really up there. I’ve already asked a few distributors if they have it in Europe. Whats the US cost now? $1400? As i’m traveling over there, I could pick it up over there.

  6. quick says:

    buy.com has it for $1241.99 USD with no tax free shipping that’s about the cheapest it can be found. That’s about 796.82 EUROs. If you can get it shipped to a US address.

    Buying in store will run you probably $1400 USD with tax though, if it can even be found in a local store that is…

  7. imzadi says:

    What about M912M chippy? Are you still going to get this led-backlit screen?

  8. chippy says:

    Yeah, I’m still going to get one of those in Sept. It will be a backup/holiday PC. To be honest, I doubt i’ll use it much but I still want one. Maybe I can introduce my wife and daughter to touch and tablets!

  9. martin says:

    Why is SC3 not suitable for lap based work? Is it too small or is it something else?

  10. chippy says:

    To be honest, it’s a bit too wobbly and small for lap work.

  11. ArchiMark says:

    What about the other lil’ Kohji, the SX3 (8.9″)?

    Too big for you?

    Just a thought, Chippy….

    ;-)

  12. chippy says:

    Its a possibility but what I really hate is the thought that so much space is being taken up with a DVD drive that could be battery space! 1.2KG too.
    Steve.

  13. Vicente says:

    Ditto on the REPAIR. That’s not looking like a terribly difficult soldering job even for an amateur like me with just a fine-tip soldering pencil. An electronics tech would have that component replaced in 2 minutes.

  14. chippy says:

    I could solder it out/in but 1) I need to find out the part number (Its burned out on the top) 2) Order it 3) a couple of hours work. 4) Risk that it still doesnt work.

  15. ecsk2 says:

    Are there any dissected high quality pics of this board out there? FCC?

  16. Fixup says:

    U2010?

    You can replace that burned chip, I did something like that before, very easy.

  17. chippy says:

    U2010. Mmm. Attractive but I need 7″ screen so that I can do arms-length work. Its up there though as a possibility though you’re right. Thanks.

  18. Richard says:

    Shh, don’t tell him he can repair it.

    Chippy, I’ll gladly take that clearly dead device off your hands in exchange for a few shiny pennies.

  19. chippy says:

    I’m thinking ‘spares’ because I have a bad track record with UMPCs. THis is the third or fourth that i’ve killed!

  20. focus says:

    If you not drop old things you will newer buy new ones :)
    What about the new device of raon digital,seen on aving?!

  21. chippy says:

    There’s no chance it will be available in a few weeks but yes, i would be VERY interested in that.

  22. Marc says:

    Have you tried seeing if Samsung will repair it? For a fee of course…

    The Q1U still seems to be the device you need.

    Assuming you can use your HSDPA modem again, then even without the cheap HK deal the price of a Q1U new isn’t too bad now:

    http://saveonsamsung.com/product/id/410508/NP-Q1U/002/SUK

    £561 before VAT, well below the 1000 Euros target and that is with 2 batteries, and organiser pack.

  23. Marc says:

    Ah, just revisited the ‘cheap’ deal. That’s really cheap for an 800Mhz model!

  24. Cajun_Mike says:

    Chippy, I think like you do and as you know I’m leaning towards the Gigabyte M704. I would just like to see if the Q1 Ultra is as bad to type with as you say. I wish someone local had one for me to play with. If I could try typing a few paragraphs to see how bad it is, it sure would help me with my selection process. :(

  25. chippy says:

    The 704 is really the sensible choice. Unfortunately I didnt get to do a video of me typing but I can assure you it was a lot lot better than on the Q1 Ultra. Just having the numerics available without having to ‘FN’ is a bonus!

  26. Cajun_Mike says:

    Chippy, the Gigabyte M704 is almost half the price of the Samsung Q1 Ultra here in the U.S. I can get the 704 for less than $800, whil the Samsung is going to run me close to 1,300.

  27. chippy says:

    That’s why it’s the sensible choice!
    But you can get cheaper versions of the Q1 Ultra. (800Mhz like I had) I’ve seen them for $800 in the U.S.

    Steve.

  28. Barron says:

    How about the kohjinsha sh8 with an extended buttery? It does make it a bit heavy though

  29. chippy says:

    5hrs browsing use with extended but I find that to be too akward in terms of sizing.

  30. HG says:

    I say you use the SC 3 and order the extended battery for it. You could run the SC3 in Vista basic and disable some of the high resources that Vista uses which basically give you a Windows XP performance. From what I what I get is that the video drivers on the SC3 are not optimized and needs new video drivers. I dont know if this is true or not, so wont know until I receive my SC3 and hopefully it performs better than my Fujitsu U810. If it does I will order the extended battery.

  31. chippy says:

    Hi. I’ve spent a lot of time optimising Vista and thinning it down but it’s still not performing like my Q1 ULtra with XP. Maybe, maybe drivers will help but I doubt it.
    As for the extended battery, i don’t really like the idea of it extending so far out behind a device that already extends out past the screen hinge.

  32. Toby says:

    Hi Chippy.
    Isn’t the main problem that the Q1 Ultra Premium doesn’t come with HSPDA?

    I too think the Q1 Ultra Premium (with XP) is the ultimate solution, but the lack of inbuilt HSPDA is the only drawback. So just is how easy it is to mod it?

    Hoping Chippy you might be able to produce a video or step-by-step guide to modding the Q1 with HSPDA? I’ve not yet found a detailed enough one for a novice like me!

    Off to the states shortly too, so hoping to purchase my Q1UP :)

    Cheers.

  33. chippy says:

    HSDPA on the Q1 Ultra is no problem. I did the mod on my previous Q1. The reception with my antenna wasnt brilliant so sometimes I had to thether to get the better reception from my mobile phone but most of the time I was in good reception areas.

    I saw a HSDPA mod article on JKontherun recently. Have a look there.

    Steve.

  34. xemone says:

    Hey Chippy, based on currently available options, I suggest a new Q1 Ultra. Considering the usage scenarios you listed, it is the best options. I’ve never used one before but I do know it’s loaded.
    And by the way what is to become of your faulty Q1 ultra? I don’t think it’ll hurt to ask if you won’t mind donating it to someone like say “me”, would you? Would be great to have a umpc. Just a thought.

  35. chippy says:

    Aha. Donating a broken device. Guess what, its a PITA for a company to give faulty equipment away.
    I’ll probably keep it for spares anyway. My track record with UMPCs is pretty bad as I usually give them a very hard time!

  36. HG says:

    Chippy by the sound of it; it sounds like the SC3 is not a good tablet PC? Is it that bad? performance wise? I have the U810 now and the Samsun Q1P which I sold 3 days ago. I was hoping that the SC3 was better but sounds like I might need to cancel my order of my SC3 which I placed yesterday. I know you say the Q1 you had was really good performance but that had XP on it. You think you could install XP on the SC3 which I know would take time because of the drivers etc… to get it to work. By the way any chance you can post what is the Wi-Fi and BT chips? Also I had tried to use Skype on my Fujitsu U810 with the video and doesn’t work well at all. Any chance you can try Skype with video or just a regular call with the SC3 and post if good or bad. I might just have to get something else don’t know if it would be to late to cancel order if you show that this SC3 is not really working out. Thanks.

  37. Jim says:

    I would suggest the Q1UP-XP If you loved your Q1 Ultra I guarantee you will LOVE your Q1 Ultra Premium.

    HSDPA upgrade is easy by the way.

    I love mine and can’t say enough good things about it.

    Expensive yes but a purchase I doubt you will regret.

  38. Andry says:

    What about HTC shift?

  39. Cave says:

    Since you said your UMPC usually take some beating, I think there is 2 other options:

    1. Get an Q1U or Q1UP-XP (I have one and love it), and than add a otterbox case which fits both Q1U and Q1UP and can take some beating.

    http://www.otterbox.com/pc-tablet-umpc-cases/samsung-q1up-case/?cid=43501

    2. I remember seeing somewhere Panasonic is making a Toughbook UMPC which can take a lot of beating.

  40. dJjenerate says:

    Chippy,

    I’d have to agree with focus above… the new Raon that goes to production next month seems to meet your requirements (pending real-life battery figures of course) and doesn’t contain any of those mickey-mouse atom chips that are showing up everywhere – A big Plus in my book… other than that a Q1UP with 2GB and HSDPA upgrade could suffice!

    My $0.02,
    diJenerate

  41. mw65719 says:

    Chippy,

    regarding the repair of your Q1U: Why don’t you just hand it over to your dear Skandinavian friend?
    JKK should be able to do the repair for you after doing so many mods to all kinds of UMPCs and netbooks.

    Just a thought …

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. IDF Fall 2008. Mobile computing Warm-Up. | UMPCPortal - The Ultra Mobile Computing reference site says:

    […] for kit, well I had panned to take the Q1 Ultra with the Q1 keyboard but seeing as that died, I will be taking a netbook. The UMPCs I have just won’t be good enough for the keyboard work […]

  2. sonson says:

    hello…

    Thank you! I would now go on this blog every day!…

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