Gadget users today are somewhat spoilt for choice and functionality.  Tablet PC's are increasingly looking to scratch that consumer itch, from out of the ether (China actually) comes the Millennius SmartQ Tablet, promising web access everywhere and the choice of dual boot operating systems.


Certainly on paper the Millennius SmartQ ticks a number of must-have boxes for those looking at the tablet computer market.

It brings Dual Boot OS with Ubuntu Linux and 2.1 Google Android a 7.0 inch touchscreen, 8GB of storage via a free SDHC card (maximum expandability to 32GB), Wi-FI and Bluetooth, USB and HDMI 1080P video playback.

The onboard processor is an ARM11 600MHz with 3D graphics support whilst memory consists of 256MB DDR II Ram with 128MB Virtual cache.

Design wise however the Millenius is a disappointment.  Like that tech gadget you got from your grandmother at Christmas time, sometimes the excitement wears off soon after unwrapping.

The 200mm X 120mm X 24mm pearl case weighs in at 480 grams and just doesn't press any excite buttons when handed around.

Speaking of buttons, there are three on the front panel, effectively a '+' a '-' and a 'home' button.  On the bezel side there are three more buttons, depending on which OS you boot into they perform different functions, but one is primarily supposed to be power.  These side buttons have minimal response making it difficult to know if the option has been selected.

Up top of the unit is a 3.5mm head phone jack, a USB 2.0 port and HDMI connection - the SmartQ package includes a shortish HDMI type C cable as an added bonus.

CONTINUED on PAGE 2



The card reader will take SD, MMC, MS, MS-Pro along with the SDHC card mentioned earlier, and networking wise the   SmartQ runs 802.11 b/g as well as Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, but don't believe the box when it says Internet Everywhere.  There is no 3G support other than via the USB connection if you happen to have a 3G modem.

The SmartQ falls down as a gadget in today's world mainly through first impressions; aesthetically it looks cheap, with the reactive touchscreen's dull appearance adding to the lacklustre visuals.  Boot up time for the OS's feels woeful, Android in particular takes over a minute to get to main screen, non-instant-on just feels wrong in a portable device.

But the reality is, it is cheap.  This is a AU$300 device that is being compared to an Apple iPad, Microsoft Tablet or - more appropriately - an AU$1000 Samsung Galaxy TAB.  It is not a fair comparison.

The resistive touch screen  (resolution of 800 X 480) is more akin to using a GPS unit than a fully fledged tablet computer.  No multitouch commands here.  Once the machine is booted, the screen responds okay to finger jabbing, with the experience enhanced when using the supplied stylus, or USB attached keyboard.  It is still a brow furrowing time to be had.

Android thinks it is running on a phone, so the 'power' button instead adjusts the 'Ringer Volume' and both OS's suffer from the lack of an on-board accelerometer, meaning changes from portrait and landscape mode are a manual affair.  But there I go again comparing the SmartQ to much more expensive gadgets.

The trouble is, this is a gadget for a geek.  It's running a fully fledged open source mobile platform as well as Linux, it is made for enthusiast tinkering.  But the SmartQ's sluggish nature means it won't please a large demographic, neither enthusiastic geeks, nor couch sitting surfers will feel an attraction to using the SmartQ.  So unfortunately, this attempt at market snatching will be consigned to the 'not too bad for a first attempt' pile of forgotten gadgetry.  

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

 

 

 

 

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