We've all dreamed of owning a portable device that can organise, entertain and enrich our lives. Over the years, we've seen dozens of contenders for this role, but the vast majority of them fall into the same category as the Hindenburg: miserable failures.
Two of the most high-profile devices in this category are the Apple Newton and the Samsung Q1. Though separated by over a decade, they share a form factor, work in a similar way and were designed with the intention of redefining how users interact with computers.
The Apple Newton was spawned in 1993, years before the Palm Pilot was a twinkle in Palm's eye. The project was as ambitious as they come. The Newton team not only created a new breed of portable computer, but combined several early technologies, such as PC Card slots, advanced handwriting recognition, a touch-screen display and a stylus. The model we're pitting against the Q1 is the 1997 Newton MessagePad 2000. This was a later revision of the MessagePad line and represents the Newton at its strongest.
The Samsung Q1 is also a pioneer. It could be viewed as a Tablet PC that's fallen into a hot washing cycle, but the vision of the ultra-mobile PC is just as maverick as that of the Newton. A joint development between Microsoft and Intel, the UMPC project was aimed at providing all the functionality of a full-blown desktop PC, in a device about the size of a paperback book.
We're regular users of the Q1 and being massive hoarders, we've just rediscovered a Newton stashed under a mountain of dust beneath the bed. We happen to think they're both amazing, but opinion in the CNET.co.uk office is divided as to which of these portable gizmos is superior.
Having nothing better to do with our time, we've decided to throw them into the ring for a head-to-head comparison. In this feature we'll take an in-depth look at their design, usability, reliability, input, output and synchronisation capabilities, and any special powers that help them stand out as the best-ever handheld.
So whether you're a 1337 Windows haxx0r or a Mac fanboy, sit back, squeeze some extra butter on your popcorn and let battle commence!
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