Ubiquio 701 ultra-mobile PC
The UMPC finally beats the laptop?
Review It's almost a year since Intel and Microsoft launched the Ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) as a new category of handheld computer. Chip maker VIA touted an early reference design, but its offering was quickly eclipsed by Samsung's Q1 UMPC. But the VIA machines didn't disappear entirely and has now popped up again, this time as the Ubiquio 701.
The 701 is a classically styled UMPC, looking like a half-size Tablet PC or a large personal media player. It's decked out in shiny black plastic, which gives it a slightly cheap feel, but all the key features - a full version of Windows, a laptop-class processor, a hard drive, wireless connectivity - are here.
The 701 starts up for the first time with its 7in screen set to a resolution of 800 x 600. It doesn't look right, since it's clearly not the panel's native resolution. A trip to the display properties panel provides two other choices: 1024 x 600 and 1024 x 768. Again, neither are native resolutions. But there's another way of changing the screen size on a UMPC: the pop-up settings bezel, and its screen sizes options are 1024 x 600, 800 x 600 and 800 x 480. Selecting the latter finally presented me with the screen's native resolution.
When I tried Samsung's UMPC, the Q1, last year, I found its 800 x 480 display severely limited: dialog boxes disappeared off the upper and lower edges of the screen to the extent that you can't see their buttons. You can switch to a larger, non-native resolution and view them complete, but they lack the sharpness of the true screen size.
The 701 beats the Q1 one important respect: its mouse control. The Q1 forces you to use either your finger or the stylus. The 701, however, has a button to the right of the screen that works just like the tiny joysticks you see on some laptop keyboards. It'll steer the cursors all around the screen, and you can tap it to click.
Does no-body sit watching TV while browsing the web?
Got one of the Origami devices specifically for browsing the Internet while watching TV instead of burning a hole in my jeans with a laptop. It's too expensive, currently too heavy and takes too long to boot up, but at least the screen size is right (tried this with PDAs and they are awful), the processing unit is not on my lap but stands up free so I don't bake my nether regions. I don't need a keyboard for browsing and I can Skype while watching Wales trounce England.
It is the minimum space for hand bagage on planes yet still allows me to take powerpoint presentations with me that I can still be editing to the last minute, and I can stream video (and maybe in the long term apps too) at home across the wireless network to it without needing a separate optical drive.
If these things got to a decent price we might get a few for home use, so we can all browse at the same time.
Like the poster above, there's few applications which someone requires on the move that there isn't already a well optimised device for.
Why play video or mp3s on a UMPC when the battery life would be awful?
For office applications a Windows Mobile device will do.
Nice, but ...
It sounds nice, but, like most UMPCs, seems like a solution looking for a problem. My wife used a tablet PC at her oncologist's office, but that was a specialized application. And $1225 with a keyboard is a little much for a 1GHz, 512 MB, 40 GB machine. And no optical drive. You can get a small laptop with much more horsepower here and still have the money left over for an external keyboard, mouse, monitor and software. Maybe the ubergeek will go for it. Or the business man who thinks he needs the latest in technology to get the edge. (The bizgeek) But I don't see an advantage for me.