By October 8, 2007

Samsung Q1 Ultra (quick) review

A brief look at the Samsung Q1 Ultra

I had my hands on a Samsung Q1 ultra for a couple of days earlier this month and I thought I’d share my impressions. I’m sure that most of you will have seen Matt’s Q1 Ultra unboxing video so here is my quick heads up.


Size: it’s fantastic that Samsung have crammed this entire computer into such a compact form factor

Handwriting recognition: I know this isn’t Q1 specific but been able to use the stylus to scrawl my handwriting onto the screen and have the Q1 recognise it 99% of the time is a real bonus. I could actually see myself using the Q1 in meetings as it’s not much larger than a notepad and with that level of recognition you can take real time notes. I’d have liked the input area to be larger but I’m definitely going to push for a tablet the next time I upgrade.

No Lights:

Speed: I suppose it’s expecting a lot but the Q1 does struggle a bit with a few applications open I’d like to see how the Q1 ultra performs with XP tablet edition


The hardware thumbboards: like struggling with a natural keyboard but having to use a coffee cup to hit the keys, the keys are just too small for quick input the space would have been better used for more screen estate in my opinion


The Q1 feels solidly built and looks pretty good the glossy black finish is eye (and fingerprint) catching

Samsung Q1 ultra

Samsung Q1 ultra

Mobile computing has come a long way, in my kit bag 10 years or so ago was this:

The Toshiba T1910CS and the Motorola 3200 GSM

The Toshiba T1910CS and the Motorola 3200 GSM

I’ve always said that my Toshiba Libretto, which replaced the 1910, was a damn good size; portable but lacking a battery life and the same size as a good old filofax so one of the first things I did was compare it to the Q1u.

Samsung Q1 ultra compared

Samsung Q1 ultra vs Toshiba Libretto

The Q1 comes out very well ideal size (that’s the extended battery in front) and as you can see it runs Vista Home premium. The built in WiFi was great and all in all it’s a pretty good piece of mobile kit.

The review device had been blanked a few times so the Samsung extras, the quick panel to allow you to change various settings wasn’t installed and unfortunately one of the best features, the dial keys, which are two radiating thumbpads on the bottom corners of the display, weren’t available either. I wasn’t able to locate them on Samsungs website so I didn’t get to try them out.

Q1 Ultra keypad

Q1 Ultra keypad left

The Q1 is a great size and weight-wise you can hang on to it comfortably for reasonably extended periods even with the extended battery connected (the batteries have convenient LED charge meters on them so you know how much juice you have left). From a performance perspective Vista Home Premium is probably stretching the specs a little, although it does run Aero there are times when the responses are a little tardy, I suspect enough to be frustrating over time.

Q1 Ultra keypad right

Q1 Ultra keypad right

The inclusion of a Home version of Vista also suggests that Samsung are aiming the Q1u at the home media market rather than the business sector which is confusing to be honest as I’d have though business mobilising their workforce would be a more logical target market than the home entertainment sector.

The revelation for me was the handwriting input and I can see myself using this or something similar in meetings notes taking would be a breeze and so much better than clogging your shelves with notebooks.

Q1 Ultra stylus

Q1 Ultra stylus

With Bluetooth built in you could use an external Bluetooth folding keyboard to speed up input but you’d be in danger of clogging your kit bag.

In a more static location the Q1 offers Ethernet, USB and VGA connections.

Q1 Ultra connectors

Q1 Ultra connectors

So you could use the device in an office environment without a docking station.

I only had a brief time with the Samsung Q1 Ultra and although I won’t be running out to buy one I can see that it will definitely appeal to many especially those wanting true hand-held computing. There were enough enticing features in the platform to make me consider a UMPC.

By the way the HTC shift is out on my Birthday if anyone is feeling really really generous.

Review by: Alasdair

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Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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