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Samsung Q1 Ultra HSDPA review: Samsung Q1 Ultra HSDPA

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The Good Allows you online access anywhere.

The Bad Keyboard is virtually useless; too pricey.

The Bottom Line The Samsung Q1 Ultra HSDPA is an interesting evolution of the UMPC concept, but still flawed by the fact it's difficult to use. It's OK as a second PC, but most users will get better use out of an ultraportable laptop

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7.5 Overall

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The Q1 Ultra HSDPA is the third major iteration of Samsung's oft-maligned ultra-mobile PC. The original was essentially a proof of concept designed to show what was possible with a handheld device. The second version, the Q1 Ultra, added sorely missing features such as an integrated keyboard, and the third, the Q1 Ultra HSDPA, is the first to include mobile broadband so you can access the Web from virtually anywhere. It's available from online for around £945.

The Q1 Ultra HSDPA is fairly attractive. The glossy black exterior, large screen and assorted buttons give it a more modern appearance than the original Q1. The main difference between the two models is the inclusion of a split keyboard. The Qwerty half sits towards the top left of the screen and the UIOP half on the right. It's a good idea, but the execution is woeful -- the keys are far too small and pressing one often means pressing two or three simultaneously.

The thumb-operated mouse joystick below the left keypad is a shambles, too. Sure, it works, but it's so clunky that selecting icons is more of a chore than a pleasure. It's certainly not as effective as an ordinary mouse nipple or trackpoint, which is a real shame.

They keyboard is virtually unusable due to the small size of the keys and the mouse is difficult to use

If you don't get on with the mouse and keyboard, there's always the touch-sensitive screen to fall back on. You can either use your finger or the bundled stylus. This works well for launching applications, general navigation and text input, thanks to Vista's handwriting recognition abilities. But neither of these is a replacement for a proper keyboard or mouse.

The Q1 Ultra HSDPA has the same array mic system as the previous product -- which is great news for all three of you out there who fancy dictating essays on a UMPC. There's a front-facing camera for taking self-portraits and video conferencing, plus another 1.3-megapixel camera on the rear for taking snaps of someone other than yourself.

Its most appealing feature is the SIM card slot under the battery. This gives you the option of going online whenever and wherever you want

There's also a flip-down stand at the rear that props the unit up front of you, at which point you could utilise the two USB ports and the D-Sub video output. One could conceivably attach a keyboard and mouse, perhaps even an external display. If you're doing that, you might as well buy a proper PC.

The most interesting feature in this iteration of the product is the SIM card slot below the battery, where users are expected to supply their own 3G SIM. This worked flawlessly in our tests, transforming the Q1 Ultra HSDPA into a go-anywhere Internet kiosk. Typically, we managed connection speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, which is pretty good for a mobile device.

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