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Samsung Debuts New Ultra UMPC

Samsung takes another shot at the Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) with an updated model. Can the Q1 Ultra overcome the major shortcomings of its predecessor, which was named one of the biggest tech flops of 2006?
Samsung takes another shot at the Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) with an updated model. Can the Q1 Ultra overcome the major shortcomings of its predecessor, which was named one of the biggest tech flops of 2006?Sorry, but first I have to take a pot-shot at the name. I get that Samsung is trying to spread a brand image of sorts with its "Ultra" line-up of super slim phones and other skinny-waisted devices. But can we really call this new device the Ultra Ultra Mobile Personal Computer? The Ultra Ultra? Seems a bit over the top to me.

Strange naming conventions aside, a first glance at the spec sheets shows that it has made at least some improvements. The new Q1 comes in four flavors, starting at $799 and going up quite quickly depending on the options you choose.

All four versions have the same basic, thinner form factor, including: integrated split-QWERTY keypad, mouse, and user-defined function keys; 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR; and 1.3 megapixel camera, seven-inch wide WSVGA LCD touch screen, and instant-on. After that, things begin to change a bit. It uses 600 MHz and 800 MHz processors, backed by 1 GB of RAM, and 40 to 80 GB of hard drive space. The lowest priced model comes with Microsoft Windows XP. You have to upgrade to get Vista, the faster processor, more storage, and the factory optional HSDPA cellular modem. The completely spec'd out model goes for close to two thousand smackeroos.

One factor that Samsung worked to improve is the battery life, which has been boosted to 4.5 hours (from 2 hours) on a single charge. This will help get users get through at least half of a workday before needing to plug in. Four hours compares to most standard laptops. It would have been nice to see closer to 5 or 6 hours of battery life, but its small form factor limits the size of the battery.

Of course, it comes with a slew of ad-ons, including thicker batteries, docking station and an optical drive. They sort of negate the purpose, though. If I want a super slim device, I don't necessarily want to carry around a bag full of extras to get full functionality. And for the price, you just might be better off with a small laptop that's fully provisioned.

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Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer