Samsung Q1U Fondle

I`m thumb-typing this on a Samsung Q1U at Samsung Experience.This has been been bloody awful!

I did half of the last sentence with the TIP HWR. I got it crapping out on me a lot and screen vectoring too!

The keys are small, but what makes them frustrating in addition is glare ftom the shiny faceplate! I can’t see them clearly!

This is a 800MHz unit running Vista. System reports 2.0 Windows Experience Index.

Calling up Control Panel was fucking slow!!! I mean critically painful!

I haven’t tried anything else yet.

Unit is joy to hold. Feels lighter than the Q1 Classic. Weight balance is extraordinarily good. It looks much smaller than a Q1 Classic, but there’s one next to it and only the height is really different.

OK, I will post this now then do a fondle. I will do the next post from home tomorrow morning. Tap-tapping this is a bitch!

Update: Greetings from the Apple Store! Thanks to the generosity of Steve Jobs, I will be updating this Fondle report right now instead of in the morning.

First, the slowness of the Control Panel building was not my imagination. The Q1U had to be reset rebooted and when the Samsung rep called it up, he thought it had finished after 4-5 icons appeared. I had to tell him, No, wait, it’s sloooow. And it still was, even after a reboot!

Second, we could not find a way to cycle through the offered three resolutions, which are the same as the Q1 Classic, except in reverse (highest res is now default instead of lowest). All he could do was go to Control Panel and Display Properties (I think it was, under Personalize). And all that offered was highest and lowest, not the in-between! The rep said they’d just gotten them in on Sunday and haven’t been able to get intimate with them and told me to come back later in the week and he’d probably know by then. If any of you have already read the manual, tell me what it says so I can try it out. I will probably stop by Friday or Saturday for a follow-up fondle.

Third, the screen is to die for. It is razor-sharp and at full brightness it is damned bright. There is none of the “soft-focus” of the screen that the Q1 Classic suffers from.

Fourth, believe it or not, there doesn’t seem to be a Return key in the mini-keyboard! I kept having to call up the TIP and switching to the on-screen keyboard to put in a Return! Again, if you’ve read the manual… Shift is also not sticky (like on the OQO). But they’ve given you two Shift keys, one on each side, so the trick is when you want to capitalize a letter that’s on the left side, use the Shift key on the right. I did not see any Caps Lock key, although there is a NumLock key. There is also a Sym key for things such as @.

Fifth, it still has the VGA-out port, even though I somehow missed this in the printed press kit specs.

Sixth, the stylus is very nice. It fits in the lower right, parallel to the bottom. I’d classify it as a good standard PDA stylus. I like it.

Seventh, I went to MySpace and played a music file. Via the built-in speakers, it was rather disappointing, delivering what I felt was AM-radio quality sound. I put in my headphones and sound quality was better. I can’t give any detail about loudness because I forgot to set the embedded MySpace player to max volume. The Q1U I did set at max volume.

Eighth, I went to YouTube and played a video. It was a wee bit choppy. I’ve just played the same clip — Gerry Anderson UFO: Exposed — on this black MacBook and it was absolutely smooth. OK, this tells me that the Q1U won’t be the absolute best for video. On the MacBook, it was streaming and smooth. On the Q1U, it didn’t matter if it was streaming live or playing after I’d allowed a good portion of it to pre-load, the video just wasn’t 100% smooth. Was it bad? No. It’s acceptable. But if you are thinking of using a Q1U for video, you might have to change your plans.

Ninth, that keyboard again. Take a TicTac and hold it on its end. That’s just a wee bit bigger than the Q1U’s hard keyboard keys! Did I have trouble using the keyboard? A little. It was the glare that really annoyed the shit out of me. This black MacBook keyboard, with direct overhead lighting on it, has zero glare. I wish the Q1U keys were like that – in fact, the entire Q1U case should be MacBook matte-black! My fingers are not fat or huge. People with larger hands than mine (hello, James Kendrick!) will not be able to get good use out of that keyboard. As it is, I found extended text entry to be so annoying that I’d probably not use that keyboard for anything other than entering URLs and extremely-brief SMS-like emails. Samsung has addressed the It Lacks A Keyboard Crowd, but I think the keyboard is more of a gimmick than anything very useful.

Tenth, first weird thing. At the Girls Don’t Cry MySpace page, the two large photos appeared on the Q1U as black and white. I don’t know why! I just called up the same page on this MacBook. It loaded appreciably faster and the photos are in glorious full color.

Eleventh, second weird thing. At the top of the screen at the right are dedicated border buttons: UDF, Vol-, Vol+, and Menu. These are sort of like the buttons that were below the screen of the Apple Newton. I managed to kill Menu! After trying a Rotate for the second time, I think I freaked the thing out with the punishment I was giving it and it thereafter refused to come out to play again. Even after the reboot it wouldn’t come back!

Twelfth, in that Menu list, there was no option to change screen resolution. Rotate will apparently do both Right and Left in 90-degree increments. What torment did I inflict on this machine? When I was playing that YouTube UFO video, I asked it to rotate the fekkin screen! I swear, I could hear it gulp! – but after close to ten seconds (it seemed that long, but I wasn’t timing things), it did rotate, while the video was playing! I then rotated back to normal and it did that after several seconds. When I pressed Menu again to rotate the opposite way, it gave me the finger from whatever cave it was hiding in! It wouldn’t obey my finger push.

Thirteenth, with the screen in portrait mode, it’s easy to hold the Q1U in one hand as an ebook. Given its weight, I don’t know how long I’d like to do that, but it’s something for the arms-like-Arnold crowd to think about.

OK, that’s everything I can think of right now. I’ll give everything some more thought and add whatever else I come up with in the next morning.

SECOND UPDATE: Standby. I’ve decided not to create an entirely new post this morning. I’ll be adding to this one instead. Check back in 90-120 minutes…

THIRD UPDATE: OK, here’s the final text for today…

The morning after…

Four things I must address straightaway:

1) The disappointing speaker sound quality might have been due to SRS not being turned on. I don’t recall if it was or not. I had played the same song on the Q1 Classic’s speakers a few weeks back and was impressed by the sound quality. I believe that SRS was turned on that time.

2) I can’t say enough about the weight and balance of the unit. With the Q1 Classic, I’d really get arm muscle strain holding it like I did the Q1U. I held the Q1U in my left hand — grasping its edge — for at least an hour while using it and had absolutely no muscle strain whatsoever. Samsung’s engineers have really done an excellent job with weight distribution and balance!

3) The keyboard glare can be minimized by tilting the Q1U a bit. But really, the entire thing should be MacBook stealth-fighter matte-black. The glare is a huge detriment to using the already-annoying keyboard.

4) The Control Panel was set to Classic View, the one with icons that everyone is used to. I don’t know if there’d be a similarly-incredible slowness with other views.

I really can’t say enough about the quality of that screen. It is really very, very sharp. I don’t know why the Girls Don’t Cry photos came out as monochrome instead of color. I had MSIE open, WordPad open (into which I did the opening text of this post — I wouldn’t do it live into WordPress because past fondles have taught me that Samsung likes to cut WiFi off after 5-10 minutes; you have to re-enter your email address to continue. That is so fucking annoying! Hey, Samsung Experience, learn from the Apple Store!), and someone had opened something that had Korean text in it (which I didn’t bother to close; I don’t know what program it was, either). Could the shared video memory not be enough? I don’t know. Maybe it was just one of those weird things that happens to me and no one else! That happens. The Universe has it in for me.

As for resolution switching, unlike the Q1 Classic, the Q1U lacks a dedicated button to switch resolutions. I think this is a mistake. My eyes have aged and my vision now requires reading glasses for close-up text (I don’t need them typing on this PC with a flatscreen LCD about eighteen inches away, but move things any closer and it all gets blurry). I’d like to be able to drop down to the lowest resolution to enlarge the text for things like typing — or even just reading. And I’d like to do the resolution switching quickly and easily. Perhaps there’s a keyboard combination that can accomplish that. I haven’t been on the net yet to see if anyone has emailed me or posted on JK on the Run about this issue.

I can’t explain the TIP HWR vectoring I experienced. I’d used the same HWR TIP at Digital Life last year and raved about how well everything worked out. I didn’t experience any vectoring at all then.

The Q1U could use the Palm Rejection Technology James Kendrick raves about with his Fujitsu Lifebook. The TIP would disappear on me because my hand would touch one of the bottom tabs and bring up MSIE and make WordPad drop to the back. This was very, very annoying.

Another annoying thing was the dedicated mouse button on the left side. It’s more like a flattened joystick. After trying it out, I hardly used it thereafter. It’s main purpose is to allow hovering, so in that respect it’s needed. With a touchscreen, I’d rather navigate with the stylus as much as possible. I wound up using the dedicated Left and Right mouse buttons on the right side a lot. See my rant below about the fucking ghostly mouse and spinning circle!

I give the hardware itself — even with the wee keyboard and glare — very high marks. It really is nice to hold and it just looks tiny! My ideal unit would be one with just a thin frame around a touchscreen and just an On/Off button (I expect this is what Apple will do!), to make it even smaller, but the Q1U hardware is an improvement over the Q1 Classic.

Software-wise, I felt Vista was a huge pain in the ass. I kept getting a spinning circle whenever I touched the screen! I would tap on a button and instead of something happening, I’d get this fucking spinning circle and a ghostly image of a mouse. That fucking ghostly mouse!! Why was it there? I know this is my own ignorance, but that ghostly mouse just confused the hell out of me. I didn’t know what it wanted me to do and I couldn’t find a way for it to go away. The Samsung rep said it can be set to not come up. I’m sure if I knew what it was there for, I’d have found it useful, but off the bat it was confusing, and not at all intuitive. As for that spinning circle, one time I accidentally tried to scroll the screen as if it was a Nokia 770 — by putting the stylus on an area of the screen without text and dragging down. Well this wound up — of course! — selecting text. That’s when I got a fucking spinning circle that was huge — like an inch in diameter! I was already sick of the damned spinning circle and there it was, bigger than ever!

Comparing my overall experience between past fondles of the Q1 Classic and the Q1U, the Joy Factor for the Q1U was much lower — that ghostly mouse and spinning circle made everything just irritating as hell. There really was no joy. I guess if I could find the correct settings to get rid of those two things, I’d find Vista better to use, but I still prefer XP and I’d rather be using that.

Microsoft really needs to do loads of work in sheathing Windows in a UMPC-specific skin. I still can’t believe the TIP soft keyboard has thin, small letters. How much of an overhead would it be to make the characters BIG and FAT? I don’t want to have to hesitate to look at a soft key to see if I’m hitting the correct one. And yes, dammit, I had my reading glasses on the entire time I was fondling the Q1U! There also has to be an easy way to get at commands that are used the most: Copy, Cut, Paste, Select All and the like. And fuck using that circular Start button to call up that dipshit popup menu. That’s just one more step to delay satisfaction. It’s a speedbump that shouldn’t exist on a touchscreen unit. I know there are loads of utilities to enhance Windows on a UMPC, but this is work Microsoft itself should be doing. I shouldn’t have to bog down everything by adding a ton of patches. A UMPC should not require the kind of bandages PalmOS needs!

So, would I buy it? Really, that’s a tough question now. I really did not enjoy my Vista experience last night. Unfortunately, Samsung Experience only had two Q1Us and both were running Vista. I’d like to get my hands on one running XP. I’d like to try that UFO YouTube video on a Q1U running XP to see if there is any difference in playback. I’d also like to call up the Control Panel to see if there’s a similar delay.

Anyway, if you can get to New York City, get to the Samsung Experience and try it for yourself.

Update: There’s a separate new post in which I report on my second fondle.

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