My First UMPC Hands On Experience

At the Maker Faire today, I visited the UMPC Experience Area in the Microsoft section of the Faire. When I arrived, there were only a few attendees near the UMPCs, so I got to spend about 20 minutes with the TabletKiosk eo prototype. Later, I spent a few minutes with the Founder and Samsung prototypes. I did not try the ASUS. Near the end of the day, I attended a 30 minute presentation on the UMPCs.

  • All 3 devices seemed responsive and not sluggish at all during my interactions.
  • The Touch Pack program launcher is very pleasant.
  • DialKeys will take some getting used to, but I think it will be only slightly less usable than the treo keyboard.
  • Attendees seemed a little skeptical, but impressed.
  • The Founder UMPC is really thin compared to the Samsung and eo.
  • I agree with JK when he says that you can rest your hand on the screen without it interfering with your writing. That’s nice!
  • The screen zooming is faster than I expected and much more readable than I expected, although several control panels (touch optimizations, system) become blank grey windows at the scaled 1024 resolution.
  • Browsing the web with the UMPC form factor was great.
  • I like the touch point mouse embedded in the eo. I’m guessing that some old DirectX full screen games won’t respond well to the touch screen, so an external mouse or a touch point is going to be useful in those cases. The Samsung doesn’t have a similar feature.

The portrait mode, dual microphones, stereo speakers, CF slot and Ethernet port are clear advantages for the Samsung over the eo. The eo’s cradle option and touchpoint are its advantages. I don’t know how the 900mhz Celeron M (Samsung) compares to the 1 Ghz Via C7 Nano (eo) and I don’t know how the two graphics chipsets compare. If anyone has that information, please speak up. Also, there is no confirmation on the US price and date for the Samsung Q1.

For now, I’m really happy with my eo preorder. If the Samsung is a lot faster and only slightly more expensive, then I will be really bummed.

Update: I missed Robert Scoble at the Faire. Too bad – I would have congratulated him in person for being absolutely right about the UMPC.

3 responses to “My First UMPC Hands On Experience”

  1. jeff todash says :

    I find it strange that people never speak of the obvious problems. HEAT, No Power Management and slow performance. I guess Founder did their job and floated some incentives to the blogosphere.

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