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Well, at the start of the summer holidays, I bought an OQO Model 01+. An Ultra Mobile PC (or UMPC as theyíre known), something which most people see as a pointless bit of kit (myself includedÖ I saw it, thought WANT and bought it). I didnít really see a use for it at first, I already had a laptop, a computer, so why did I need it?
This left me in a predicament what to do with it. At first it was just an MP3 player and games machine for at workÖ fair enough it was cheaper than buying an iPod touch, but the battery life is nothing in comparison (And Worms Armageddon gets a little tedious after a while). Maybe use it as an MID? Well I can see that happening, but as a student paying £15 a month for an internet connection that most of the time wouldnít exist is a waste of money, so it got me thinking...
As some of you know I am a poet, and I like graphics a fair amount. Unfortunately there was no chance it would run Photoshop with a 1GHz processor and 512Mb of RAM, though I did get Office 2000 working on it through a USB disc drive so poetry it was.
It was (and still is) a novelty item, I took it anywhere and people asked me what it was and how it worked, granted I used it as an MP3 player to get to work (a 15 minute bike ride is nothing on the battery) and just wrote on it on my breaks. Now that Iím back at college Iím glad I got it, it fits in my pocket perfectly and I can carry it around with me without getting backache (though that may be from carrying the 6 pints of water I have per day, more than my laptop), and Iím now selling my laptop as a result.
Surprisingly itís easy to use, you get a nipple like on the old IBM Thinkpads as a mouse and a left and right click down the left hand side. It actually looks like youíre playing with a games console until people look at it up close, especially with the built in stylus, then it looks something like a Nintendo DS, especially because of how slimline it is
Writing is a lot harder than I was used to, I had my laptop keyboard with low travel keys and this needed a good push to get the keys to work, though Ctrl, Alt and Shift have a hold function, so they work until you press another button, which is a nice feature. After a few weeksí use itís easy to get used to having to type with your thumbs as opposed to your fingers, though the novelty does wear off after a while.
The screen quality isnít bad, though saying that it is only five inches, and itís surprisingly more usable than some netbooks Iíve used, (hereís looking at you, Asus Eee). The build quality and design behind it is top notch, you see a pain with using the keyboard originally, but you soon see that if buttons werenít hard to press, people with bigger hands (like me) would surely struggle to push only one button at a time. Opening the sliding mechanism is like cocking a rifle; itís got a well-oiled, smooth yet industrial feel about it, when I first got it I sat there for a good half an hour just playing with the slidey bit when I first got it.
The entire thing is made out of some sort of light metal alloy and it fits nicely into your hands (which at first is uncomfortable, though you do get used to it). It's pretty slimline and light, and comes with a fair amount of connectivity options; Wifi, a USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm headphone socket and Firewire port seem like a significant lack of features, and they are until you add the bundled expansion cable, which gives you VGA out, Ethernet, Serial, another USB port and full-sized firewire, as well as a socket to plug the lead into (which it takes up when it slots into the OQO)
As for the specifications, Iíve already mentioned the 1GHz processor and 512Mb RAM that struggles to handle anything more than two Firefox tabs and Microsoft Word, but thatís alright, thatís all itís made for. The 30Gb hard drive is more than enough for a few songs (I have 2,000 songs on there right now) and documents. It runs the (now) 8 year old Windows XP flawlessly, and I have to say that itís the only computer Iíve ever owned that hasnít had a problem with it, at all. the 800x480 screen is hardly generous, but it works, and it's pretty good quality for a machine of it's size. the onboard graphics happily go up to 1280x1024 on an external monitor
There is only one major flaw with this in my opinionÖ The original RRP was over £1,200 (around $1,800), and fair enough itís a nice bit of kit, but thereís no chance on this earth I would buy what is essentially a novelty for that price. Fair enough it does have itís other flaws, such as whenever a download starts or youíre on an instant messenger service the fan goes to full speed and becomes stupidly loud, and the parts where you put your fingers become unbearably hot, but these are minor design flaws (and besides, most people will use the supplied desk stand to stop third degree burns and a trip to A&E)
Well, what do we reckon? Are they worth getting? Look at it this way: they're (spec-wise) an Asus Eee 701, (30Gb Hard drive, 1GHz processor, 512Mb RAM) but a lot more portable, a fair amount more unique, and actually run XP without problem. Unfortunately, they also get very warm when used to their full, and the typing wouldn't be as fast. Also £100 extra 2nd hand is a lot more to pay. It's up to you whether the advantages balance out the disadvantages or not, but I for one am glad I got this over a netbook
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