Review: Samsung's 'Origami Project' Q1.

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So. What is the Samsung Q1? Well here’s what it isn’t: It lacks the portability and most importantly the 3G connectivity of a Windows Mobile Smartphone. It lacks the sheer power of a modern XP laptop. It doesn’t have a removable disk drive so you can’t use it as a mobile DVD player. There isn’t enough graphics grunt to play PSP-type games. The touchscreen, while neatly implemented, precludes extensive typing or note-taking. It isn’t a replica NASCAR racer either, but we’re getting off the point.

Here’s what the Q1 is: A chunky, ‘giant PSP’ case enclosing a 900mHz Celeron-equipped Tablet PC with a responsive – sometimes too¬ responsive – 7″ touch screen. There are dedicated buttons for menu, enter, and screen resolution. There’s also a nice little joystick button, and multiway switch. There are stereo speakers, twin microphones, and a small cluster of status lights rounding out the front panel. There’s a handy little kickstand on the back, which would make the Q1 a perfect videoconferencing tool, if only there were a camera built in. The supplied stylus is a rather lightweight affair, which lacks the authority of the one supplied with (say) an i-Mate Jam, but does the job. There’s a couple of USBs and a cunningly-concealed VGA port for adding external keyboards, monitors, or maybe a CD drive. There’s also Ethernet although I’d imagine you’d normally use the built-in WiFi for most practical purposes. Away from an established network your only recourse would be to use Bluetooth to connect to the internet via a mobile ‘phone.

Startup was suspiciously slow on the review sample: I suspected major disk fragmentation but that wasn’t the case. Overall performance was tolerable if not stellar. Internet access was nippy enough using the integrated 802.11b/g card. The bundled A/V browser did a pretty impressive job presenting all the audio and video content stored on the Q1’s 40gb hard disk in one easily-managed interface. It’s quite a nice object. I just couldn’t work out who this device was for, given that you can buy a good basic laptop and a copy of Office for the £799 asking price of the Q1.

If the Q1 becomes a major success I’ll eat my hat. Then again, given the contrariness and unpredictability of today’s technology consumers I might buy myself a rice-paper hat just in case.

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