Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When Size Matters

A recent poster asked why I chose to buy an OQO Model 02 over the Sony UX. I think the UX is an incredible micro-PC and Sony has done alot to promote microcomputing and UMPC's. However, the question is a fair one and I thought I'd bump up my response to this blog posting. When it comes to UMPC's, adding a fraction of an inch here and there really adds up. Read on...

The UX, while small is almost twice the volume of the OQO. At first blush it seems that the UX is roughly the same size as the OQO but in actuality it is not.

The UX dimensions are:5.91”(W) x 3.74”(H) x 1.27-1.50”(D)
The UX volume is:33.16 cubic inches
The weight of the UX is:1.2 lbs.

The OQO dimensions are:• size: 5.6"(W) x 3.3"(H) x 1.0"(D)
The OQO volume is:18.48 cubic inches
The weight of the OQO is:1 lbs.

As you can see here, the volume of the UX is 33.16 cubic inches and the OQO is 18.48 cubic inches. That's quite a bit smaller. It means that the OQO will literally fit in your pocket while the UX will not. Also, the UX weighs 20% more than the OQO.

These two factors add up. They make the UX quite mobile to be sure but not nearly as mobile as the OQO. I would not be apt to pick up the UX and just take it with me as I head out the door. While I would be with the OQO.

This is an important distinction that I think other UMPC manufacturers need to consider as they design their future UMPC form factors. If you're going to design something like the UX, you may as well scale up the screen to 7 inches like the Q1 because I'm not apt to carry it around anyways. I believe the OQO hit the right size to make the transition into a new category of mobile computing, which is why I believe it is currently the only UMPC that can address these ultra-mobile use cases.

Just my thinking though. What do you think?


SpaceRiot said...

I think you are absolutely right. I have just been in the process of deciding between the UX and the 02, and size was a - if not the - key factor. The assessment of most other factors like screen resolution, battery life, ergonomics, weight, and so depends, evidently, on the use scenario. And there, volume - or even perceived volume, I would claim - is key.

I bought the 02 and find it to be very well designed and very well built. It delivers fully. Only "issues" are the well-known and to be expected ones... battery life, a somewhat noisy fan (not at all bad in my opinion) and that's it. And both of these are of course linked to the inherent physical properties of the unit. The ones that make it so very portable and usable in a true portable scenario. As you clearly state in your excellent review.

Aside: Do you know, that when you press and hold the Function (FN) key, you can use the thumbstick to scroll pages? You probably do. That is also a lot better than finding the scroll bars every time. :)


nbalthaser said...

Hi SpcaeRiot: Thanks for your post. To be honest, a reader pointed out to me that the UX is not 1.5 inches all around (the handles are a bit thicker than the rest of the body) and that is the number I used in my calculations. Agreed. However, the negative space created by the handles is still space that is taken up when in a bag or pocket (your pocket won't know the differnce as it stretches to accomodate the handles) thus I calculated the displaced volume at 1.5 inches.

I did *not* know that you can control the thumbstick to control scrolling with the FN key. That's great to know! Thanks for the tip!