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Ubiquio 701 ultra-mobile PC

The UMPC finally beats the laptop?

The 701 has Bluetooth 2.0 on board for wireless devices, and a pair of USB ports - one on either side of the UMPC - for peripherals needing a fixed connection. Below the left-hand side USB port you'll find a Wi-Fi power switch; around the other side the USB port is accompanied by the power control, volume keys and an earphone socket. The power control doubles up as the hold control. The telescopic metal stylus slide into a bay at the bottom of the unit.

The 701 retails through Ubiqiuo's exclusive UK supplier, Expansys, for £560. An extra £70 gets you the 701 and the Standard Accessory Pack, which comprises a portable USB keyboard and a leather case to keep the two devices in. You also get some cable ties and a screen-clean kit, but who cares about those? The Accessory Pack is worth it for the keyboard.

Ubiquio 701 UMPC - back

You'll also need an optical drive, of course, since one isn't bundled. Yes, you can share a desktop PC's DVD drive over the WLAN, but that's not a simple solution.

What is included is a self-assembly plastic stand, which works but isn't as handy as the fold-out stand that's built into the Samsung Q1. You can also tuck the 701's stylus into a hole in the back the device to create an ad hoc stand, which is fine as long as you don't need the stylus.

The 701 doesn't have the well-built feel that the Q1 does. It also lacks the Q1's integrated Ethernet port, CompactFlash card slot - or any memory card bay, for that matter - and VGA connector. Still, of the two units, the 701 would win my money. It's cheaper and, more importantly, is a darn slight easier to use than the Samsung thanks to the superior control layout and that oh-so-useful joystick control. Of course, Sony's Vaio UX1 has all these too, looks way better and has a built-in keyboard, but it's almost four times the price of the 701.

The 701's processor is a VIA C7-M clocked at 1GHz and backed by 512MB of memory. There's a 40GB 5,400rpm hard drive for storage. I ran PCMark05 on the machine and got a score of just 517, which is pretty poor. This isn't a performance-oriented machine, though since it's more expensive than plenty of fast budget notebooks, perhaps it score more highly.

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