Microsoft has a habit of coming up with ideas and then leaving it to the hardware manufacturers to make it happen. In recent memory we’ve had the home display, which died a death and the Tablet PC, which is still around but not in the form MS first imaged. The latest is the UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC), which is a computer literally in the palm of your hand.
Samsung was the first company to launch such a device earlier this year and this version, the SSD, is essentially the same model but with one important new feature – it has no moving parts. This has been done by the addition of a solid state hard drive.
The original Q1 came with a 40GB mechanical hard drive like any other computer. Now we have 32GB of NAND flash, think of it as a giant USB memory key inside your computer and you won’t go too far wrong. Aside from no moving parts, it offers faster boot-up times and considerably quicker read/write times.
We’re reliably informed that Write speeds are twice what you can expect from a mechanical drive, while Read speeds also four times as fast. Performance is a vast improvement over the older model and you’ll even find the unit weighs less 745g compared to 800g.
Power consumption of a SSD is lower than that of a standard drive but with a battery life of little over three hours, we didn’t see much difference from the original.
Aside from the change in hard drive, the Q1 remains the same. You’ll still find a sleek black design, which id built around the 7-inch touchscreen. The only real problem with using it is the software, which is slow and sluggish. You’ll find that Samsung has shipped a USB keyboard, which we used more than the touchscreen by simply propping the Q1 up on a desk – it has a small stand built into the back for such occasions – and using it as a mini-computer.
The Samsung Q1 SSD goes some way to solving the problems of the UMPC format. True, such innovations come at a price and you’ll find the SSD is almost twice the price of the original version but is it worth the price hike? Well, it’s certainly a more productive machine, it’s lighter, it’s more likely to survive any accidental drops and it’s faster to use than the previous version.
If you work for a company who likes to be ahead of the ball, then you’ll be able to get them to invest in one for you but the average consumer is likely to wait until prices come down.
It’s not so much a case of not being worth the price, most users simply won’t see the real advantage, at least that’s how we see it.