Friday, June 6, 2008

OQO model 2

  • Pros Great to look at. Easy to use. Solid build. Good extras
  • Cons Screen lacks resolution. Pricey

UMPCs often feel plasticky and a bit fragile, as though, in an attempt to shrink everything down, structural rigidity has gone out the window. OQO, however, has gone in the opposite direction with the e2 – it feels like a little black brick with a five-inch touchscreen stuck on it.

That said, it's still not too heavy, tipping the scales at a close-to-size-zero 454g. And it feels robust, so you can confidently slip it into a briefcase and not be scared about what happens to it during the day.

If you're considering buying the e2, chances are it appeals because of the rather nifty slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It's incredibly responsive, and even though getting your thumbs to the middle keys is a bit of a stretch it's an excellent way of firing off emails or even crafting Word documents.

The sockets are a bit odd. We understand the idea of cramming as many options as possible into such a small body, but instead of a high def-friendly HDMI plug surely a second USB port would make more sense?

Add-on bonanza
There are plenty of extras on offer though, including a rather nice docking station that holds the e2 proud on your desktop so you can view it with ease. It also supplies extra USB connectivity and the option of adding an optical drive.

In use the e2 works wonders. Okay, so it's no competition for even the most compact of standard laptops when it comes to processing power, but our sample was relatively quick to boot up – a perennial UMPC problem – and didn't have us reaching for a coffee every time we tried to access a file.

The screen is pretty large, but its low (800x480) resolution means it doesn't set the world alight for either work or play. It's good for viewing videos stored on the 60GB hard drive during your 'down time', but has only just enough detail for serious document editing.

A reasonable if not breath-taking four-hour battery life rounds off a decent package and ensures the e2 is a very impressive UMPC, if a slightly expensive one.