OQO Model 01 handheld PC

Compact wonder?

Design-wise the Model 01 is stunning, but not in the stylised mould of a Sony or an Apple product. Instead, it has a very minimalist, almost industrial look about it, giving it the kind of understated style associated with IBM ThinkPads. The Model 01 also has a tactile finish to it that makes it pleasant to hold, despite the fact that it can get quite warm during prolonged use.

OQO Model 01

The screen can be a little stiff when you're sliding it up and down, but when you look at the back you can see that OQO has implemented a rack and pinion system, adding even more weight to the industrial engineering feel of the Model 01. It's touches like this that make me love this device - I can truly believe that its construction was a labour of love, and that design and manufacture compromises just weren't options.

Looking around the chassis, the top edge houses the stylus, while on the right is the battery release button and headphone socket. On the bottom there's a full-size USB 1.1 port and a thumb wheel. You'll also find the power socket along with two connectors for the expansion cable. Finally, on the left-hand side there's a four-pin Firewire port. Flanking the chassis are two wireless antennae for the integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adaptors.

The rear is taken up by the lithium polymer battery. This is good for over three hours of use, and you can press a button to get an indication of charge state without having to turn the device on. Because the battery is slim and light it would be quite easy to carry a spare with you for long-haul flights, but at £115 it doesn't come cheap.

OQO bundles a solid metal cradle with the Model 01, but there's no connectivity. Instead you have to employ the expansion cable that also comes in the box. The far end of the expansion cable sports a D-SUB port for connection to an external monitor, along with a four-pin FireWire port, a USB port, the power socket and a headphone socket.

OQO Model 01

While the cradle and expansion cable work admirably, it's not the most elegant of solutions and I would prefer a proper docking station. Thankfully, one may be coming to the market soon.

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