This is a guest submission…
For the past 4 years I have patiently waited for a tablet that satisfies my need for portability and my regular computing needs. As a teacher, I actually use the touch interface to communicate with my students. Without a touch screen, I have to plug in my trusty bamboo tablet and I loathe carrying extra stuff while on the road. Predictions that 2010 is the year of the tablet inspire me to watch the chatter of best new tablet. And I can’t thank Apple enough for releasing the first (and probably second) generation of the iPad if for no other reason than the also-rans will push a product to market just to capture the iPad spillover. Yet, none of the tablets on the market now, nor those immediately in production can beat my 4 year-old Samsung Q1.
Which is ridiculous. Seriously. As much as I love it, this thing is 4 years old.
Now the Q1 has slowed down a bit since it earliest days, but it also has the impending doom that is windows with all it’s stickiness and I’ve not been clever enough to permanently remove some of the hidden programs that turn themselves on – I gave up years ago – I can admit the programs have outwitted me on this machine. Since my regular machine is an iMac, each time I boot the Tablet it becomes more apparent that no one was thinking about user benefit when designing Windows.
But I must use PowerPoint for several of my classes, need the touch screen for online classes and so . . . I have a windows tablet to consolidate objects.
So here are the essential specs – keep in mind this is fully-laden European Swallow at this point.
- 2GB RAM – manually upgraded from 512k (probably went over spec)
- 60 GB
- It has wifi – picks up a signal better than my blackberry
- 900Mhz Celeron processor
- Windows XP for Tablet
How I use it
For 2.5 of the 4 years the only time it booted was for brief business trips. For the past 1.5 years it has been used for 4-5 hours/day, everyday. I use PowerPoint and a VGA projector to teach students face-to-face so the machine is schlepped back and forth, plugged in, booted and abused for a few hours then shut down, unplugged and tossed in the backseat of my 4Runner for a rough and tumble ride home. It also joins me for relatively brief business trips. It is protected by a carry case that allows me to keep the external keyboard with the machine in one tidy package.
Despite the sloth-like performance at boot up and the rare registering of touch issues, the Q1 still beats out the competition….
- Solid build. This bad boy has been on flights around the world and dropped to the bottom of bags that were not always treated kindly. Shoved under chairs, thrown in overhead bins – still alive and well. Screen registers just fine. No broken pixels. All’s well with the build – even the plastic is in good shape – glossy black.
- Touch screen does just what a I need it to do. I teach online and write on a whiteboard. The Q1 allows me to leave the bamboo tablet at home. My handwriting is as recognizable as it is on paper.
- Great keyboard, solid build, satisfying clickrate, matte finish. Granted, the keyboard plugs in via USB. The extra carry case allows me to wrap the keyboard neatly with the Q1. While this is bulkier than I’d like, it is still (strangely) thinner than most of the PC tablets in the market today. Which is crazy. Did I mention this is 4 years old?
What is even crazier is that my students report they hear me better on the Samsung using only the provided internal mic than they hear me on the iMac even with my fancy external mics.
The biggest drawback is the screen size. At 7″ diagonally, the screen is a mite small. The rendering at 1024×600 is sufficient, but regular desktop users may have trouble converting. The second biggest drawback is battery life. I’m exaggerating when I say it’s 15 minutes . . . but not by much. Don’t go grab a coffee and think you can write a blog post without the warning window popping up. Even if you are a fast writer.
So as you wait for the second generation of iPad or if you have a need for a fully functional Computer (not just an app device) with touch screen, consider grabbing a used Q1. It is a fully functional PC and even with 4 years behind it, still beats the current crop of tablets.