The more I’ve been thinking about which new laptop to get, the more I’ve been drawn to the UMPC concept. The lightweight mobility provided by the devices has been very appealing.
Samsung, for example, has a great device called the Q1 that really helped to defined this new genre of devices. Incidentally, Samsung has just announced the upgraded version, the Q1P SSD at CES (more info here at eWeek), that includes a 32MB Solid State Drive (Flash Drive).
The really neat thing about a UMPC like the Q1 is the PDA-like touch sensitive screen that you can use your finger or stylus on. This makes the device much easier to use and more accessible on the fly. It’s easy to pull out, turn on, and use quickly when needed, especially when standing up or on the move. But with a full WinXP install, the systems can run off the shelf software that allows you to do almost everything that you do on your main PC. This is the flexibility that I’m after in my next computer.
My current interest in this category of mobile devices is the Fujitsu LifeBook P1610 Notebook. This device is technically labeled as a notebook, and includes a touch-sensitive 8.9″ screen rather than a standard electromagnetic digitizer found on most Tablet PCs. The differences allow you to use your finger or other stylus rather than the custom pens delivered with Tablet PCs. Also, you miss out on the “hover” mode that the digitizer offers, though I’ve heard that is not a totally bad thing.
The system is kind of a hybrid device, that is technically a notebook, but because of the touch-sensitive screen mounted on a swivel it and the Tablet PC OS option, it can be called a Tablet PC. In addition, the size and weight of the device, along with the functionality lend itself towards a UMPC.
There have been several previews and reviews of the device of the last few weeks, with a nice video review over at jkOnTheRun. The only thing I wish for would be a dual core processor, but that would just consume battery at a ridiculous rate.
So, why am I considering a ultra portable computer as my main PC? Simply because I have no huge computing requirements. I have a decent home system that can accommodate my DVD burning and other processor-intensive requirements. My daily computing needs revolve around mainly web based services like GMail, meme-trackers, browsing, online office tasks, etc… The other things I use are a few local tools for blogging and editing photos and such. So I can get by with much less computing power than most people. The only thing I need is RAM, and the P1610 can top out at 1GB so it should work out quite well.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick one of these up in the next month or two and be able to give some real world feedback. There are so many options, a person could also go for a regular “convertible” Tablet PC with a 12″ screen for the same price point but get more processing power and DVD burning options. Tough choices for sure!
What’s your opinion on UMPCs and Tablet PCs?