Thursday, September 06, 2007

OQO 02 - feedback after a month of use

My comments on the OQO as follows:
1) Processor power - The VIA Esther 1.5GHz ULV processor runs well enough. Running two external screens starts to tax the total system capabilities, and the Intel 945 internal graphics card, together with the slow processor sometimes stutters before refreshing the screen.

Polycom PVX also complained that the processor is too small to initiate or receive video calls. Still awaiting a response from Polycom on this. I am convinced that the processor is powerful enough.

2) The five inch screen is quite small for inking on, and if you select an A4 electronic sheet in Windows Journal to write on, it is difficult to fit many words on one line. So the OQO is not nearly as good as a LE1700 for inking on.

3) Screen resolution options: Native screen resolution is standard UMPC 800x480, but you can use 1000x600, or even 1200x720 should you so desire. A nice function is to zoom in or out using dedicated zoom buttons, and thus I tend to run in native (easier to read), and zoom out if an application does not scroll properly or hide its OK/Cancel buttons(typically older applications).

4) Accessories Since this was a trial purchase, I went the whole hog, and purchased probably a bit too much.

Default package contents:
Belt clip case
Wacom pen, which stores in the belt clip case.
Charger VGA & Ethernet adapter.

Purchased accessories:
Belt clip case (I didn't know).
Docking station, including three USB ports and DVD writer. Docking station supports DVI and VGA (DVI through an extension cable supplied with docking station).
Three screen protectors
Spare Wacom pen
Double capacity battery
Spare charger to use at home/travels
Aeroplane/car charger.
Charger adapter to charge a battery only.
Tether cable since the device is so small. May walk very easily.
USB data cable Stowaway Bluetooth foldable keyboard

If there are future purchases, I would recommend the following:
Default package
Docking station
Screen protectors
Double capacity battery
Spare charger to use at home/travels
Aeroplane/car charger.
USB data cable Stowaway Bluetooth foldable keyboard

Tether cable fits the device, but does not fit the device through the docking station - thus useless.
5) How do I use the device? Device was used as my primary system for two weeks, and apart from the occasional screen refresh pause as mentioned before, worked fine. USB devices plugged in was a USB powered adapter, supporting a mouse, keyboard, electronic whiteboard and webcam.

I do not have a roaming profile, but a local one per machine. I also used the OQO as my second device. Synchronising offline content was easily achieved with Wireless on the Company Wireless network. My Outlook .pst personal folders were copied over from my primary laptop on a regular basis with the USB data cable. Then, going home, all I needed to do was open Outlook to build a current .ost, and I was away.

I have used the OQO to deliver presentations and training, without any issues. And of course lots of Oohs and Aahs from participants.

People with new, powerful machines will find the OQO too slow to use as their primary device, and in our company I see its place as a companion device for people that travel regularly.

6) Screen brightness - In full sunlight the OQO viewability is very good, whether the viewer is wearing sunglasses or not.

During all other times, I tended to lower screen brightness to optimise battery life, and full brightness is really bright.

7) Battery life With Wireless and Bluetooth switched off, I was able to obtain the quoted 3 hours (normal battery) and 6 hours (double capacity battery).

Whilst I normally Hibernate my devices, Standby works really well with the OQO, as hibernation takes up to two minutes to complete. I was hesitant to put it into the belt clip case in case hibernation fails and the device overheats.

With wireless and Bluetooth on, battery life halved - much the same as other devices.

8) Other features
Screen rotation - works well, but I tended not to use it.
Keyboard backlighting - Lifesaver at home in bed. Great feature.
Stick pointing device and mouse buttons - works very well. Great design.
Separate Num pad - Excellent.
Windows XP Tablet edition - not required. Normal Windows XP would work, although I would still purchase a Wacom pen. But you lose inking. But you still gain the portability.

9) General
I can strongly recommend the OQO 02 as a companion device for people that will appreciate its low weight.

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