I’m not sure how they pronounce their name but I guess it’s just how it looks OQO. I’ve had many handhelds, both Palm and Pocket PC based. I like both of those operating systems equally.
There are things the Palm does better than the Pocket PC and vise-versa. Both of them irritate me in different ways as well. What I really want is Windows XP on a hand held. The OQO Model 01 is just that. Far from perfect, I’ve been pretty impressed with this little machine.
The fact that this device runs Windows XP means you have all of the same applications you normally use on your laptop or desktop available to be used. Not that you are likely to use Photoshop on the 5″ screen, but you could! One deterent for using this as a replacement to your Palm or Pocket PC is the price. You can pickup a fully packed handheld for $500 and you can get a good one for under $200. The OQO Model 01 is $1600 and the Model 01+ is $1900.
The OQO is bigger than all other handhelds, but it also sports a much larger screen at 5″ diagonally. It’s not really something that you will slip into your pants pockets unless you are sporting the old parachute pants and unless you are MC Hammer that’s probably not a good idea.
Performance is suprisingly snappy. I wasn’t so sure about the processor since it’s a Transmeta Crusoe, not a processor I’ve had any experience with using Windows. I had no problems running Firefox, Outlook and several other applications and unlike Palm and Pocket PC you can truly multi-task and have several applications open at once. I did some tweaking of Windows to slightly improve the performance, like turning off XP’s themes and turning off a bunch of services that aren’t really used or needed. The 20gig hard drive leaves plenty of room for the OS, applications, documents and mp3’s. There is no speaker, which I think it should have at least a little chincy one for the occasional Windows beep or notification. I connected it to my car stereo through the headphone jack and was impressed with the sound.
One small irritation is heat. It does get warm after extended use. The fan in it tends to ramp up to deal with this heat and in quiet situations it can get rather loud. The battery life is pretty good. Their website says upto 3 hours, depending on usage and this seems pretty acurate. The device has built in WIFI and Bluetooth. I had no problems connecting to wireless access points at home and at work. I don’t own anything Bluetooth so I can’t report on that. One little issue seems to be with losing the WIFI when you turn off the WIFI radio and Windows comes out of Stand By and or Hibernation. An update available on their website seemed to help this, but not totally cure it.
It takes a little getting used to waiting for it to boot up since we are used to instant on of Palm and Pocket PC. Boot time is a little over a minute, though if you hibernate instead of turning off this waiting time this is greatly reduced.
Here is my wish list of improvements:
1. USB 2.0, transferring files through USB 1.0 is slow. The device has Firewire but I don’t have anything Firewire.
2. Heat, not sure how to handle this and still keep up with good performance
3. Boot time. It’s XP so I’m not sure how they can improve this.
4. Lower price. I understand the limitations of this but it’s pretty steep at $1600. If I hadn’t of got my hands on this because of work there’s no way on earth I’d buy it on my own.
5. Speaker. Even a cheapo little one. I don’t want to listen to music through it, but I’m used to hearing Windows notifying me, plus calendar/alarm sounds would be useful.
6. Video Ram. 8mb of video ram just doesn’t cut it these days. It needs to be at least 32 and 64 would be great!
The packaging for the device was very sharp and reminded me of the quality packaging that Apple tends to use. I like how solid the desktop stand is that comes with it.
It also came with a docking cable that is a bit odd.
I plugged a monitor, network cable, keyboard and mouse into the docking cable and it became a full fledged desktop PC.
Since it’s not a Palm or Pocket PC it doesn’t have any sort of syncing software for contacts, calendar and such that you would normally want on a handheld. At my work we use Microsoft Exchange server, so running Outlook 2003 with an Exchange account running in cached mode takes care of this quite nicely. Simply open Outlook while connected to the network with your Exchange server and it gets all of your email, contacts, tasks and calendar up to date. When you run Outlook while disconnected from the network it uses a local copy of your Exchange mailbox and you have access to all those important tasks and appointments!
The transreflective screen means it looks absolutely great even in direct sunlight! Windows runs at 800×480 and with an external monitor attached it can run 1280×1024.
As far as input is concerned there are several ways to interact with Windows. The keyboard has an eraser head pointer with left and right mouse buttons on the far left. Their placement makes using them quite comfortable. There is also a pen like what tablet PC’s use. It’s performance is a bit sluggish and when you get to the edges of the screen it can be a bit troublesome. Along the bottom edge of the device is also a wheel that can be used to scroll through documents and can be clicked to change volume, switch applications (alt-tab function) and launch applications that you select.
Overall it’s a really impressive device and I’ve been using it alot. I’m excited to see Model 02 that I’ve read is supposed to come out sometime next year. Now, let’s combine all this functionality with a camera and phone (with decent monthly rates) and I will truly be in heaven.
Check out this video from their main site it does a good job of introducing this sharp little device.
- Camera: Canon PowerShot SD300
- Taken: 10 November, 2005
- Aperture: ƒ/2.8
- Focal length: 5.8mm
- Shutter speed: 1/8s