From a distance the P1610 looks like a fairly standard Lifebook laptop. But get closer, and you suddenly realise it’s tiny. Not as small as some UMPCs, but with an 8.9inch touch-screen display that can be folded back through 180 degrees to make the P1610 a tablet, it’s plenty small enough.
Plus, and take note here Samsung, this design means there’s enough room on here for a proper QWERTY keyboard, that you can actually use with your fingers. This allows the P1610 to be double the machine the Q1 is, and provides better input options than the thumb-pad enabled Q1 Ultra.
In action the keys, which out of necessity of the 230x170mm footprint, are smaller than on standard laptops, are a tad clumsy, but after a bit of typing you some get to grips with their foibles. Also, the touch-screen interface provides you with other input options if you are only adding a few words to a document.
At around a kilo it’s also light enough to carry without having to book regular appointments with a chiropractor. Sadly, it’s also quite light on eye-catching specifications, with a sluggish 1.2Ghz Intel Core Solo Processor and 1GB of RAM in our review sample.
It also boasts up to 80GB of hard drive storage, but there’s no room for an internal optical drive which, considering its extra size over other UMPCs, is a bit of a shame. Connections are also limited, but with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on board it’s well set for the wireless variety
Keeping things simple
Apart from the cramped keyboard, which is still better than no keyboard, in use the P1610 is smoother than a cashmere sweater on the pull. Okay, so if you start trying to work out Pi to the millionth digit things are going to get a tad sticky, but if it’s Word documents, email and the internet you are after this little beauty is ideal.
We got about five hours out of the supplied battery, which is pretty impressive, although it does make the unit a bit larger. Also, if you start running graphics heavy software you’ll probably have to knock a couple of hours off of this.
A few minor glitches and a quite high price aside, this is a great compromise for people looking for an incredibly compact computer, but who don’t want to get bogged down in tedious hours of learning hand writing recognition.