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Samsung's Q1 Ultra

The design of any portable PC is a set of compromises, and the smaller the device gets, the greater the number of compromises. Therefore, it's no surprise that a device as small as the 1.5-pound Samsung ultramobile PC, the Q1 Ultra, involves quite a few compromises. What's surprising is how useable it is in spite of them.

Samsung Q1 Ultra
(Click image to enlarge.)

The Q1 Ultra is the third generation of Samsung's UMPC devices -- it follows on last year's Q1 and Q1b, which were among the first handheld devices based on the Origami specification jointly developed by Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, and other companies.

If you've ever used a Pocket PC or Palm PDA, some of the features -- and limitations -- of the Q1 Ultra will seem very familiar. Its 7-inch, 1020-by-600 touch screen is about four times the size of the typical PDA screen, but it's still small. The device doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard you can touch type on. And while it's got an 800-MHz Intel processor, performance can feel slow.

But don't let familiarity fool you into judging the book by its cover. The Q1 Ultra is a lot more than just an overgrown PDA. In fact, the Q1 Ultra is packed so full of features that just listing them could fill this review. And when you look at any particular feature, the Q1 Ultra is close to a textbook study in overcompensation.

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