You tell us....
Put the WiBrain in your car at about the position where you would have a touchscreen and see how useable it is.
IMHO, a 6" touchscreen is about the minimum for practical use.
So, I'm debating which UMPC to use for my carputer and I'm having problems. The devices I'm thinking of are the Samsung Q1, the Fujitsu U810 and the WiBrain. My concern is screen size and it's usability for carputer purposes. The Samsung has a 7 inch screen which I'm sure is just fine but the decvice itself is a little large. The WiBrain, seems like a fantastic device to me. I don't know why but to me it's just cool. Only problem is it has a 4.8 inch screen. I'm wondering if this is just too small to use as a touch screen. Seems like on both Road Runner and Streetdeck, the buttons on certain screens would be too hard to hit with a screen that size. The Fujitsu U810 screen is, I believe, 5.6 inches, which would be a happy medium for the two.
So, I guess the question is: How small is too small? Can I use the WiBrain or is that just pushing things too far?
RE: Screen size on Auto GPS units
GPS units (auto type) is something I've been looking at recently. Trying to decide between one of them- and building a carputer...
I don't know the in's and out's of RoadRunner so far as how useable it will be a small screen sizes but the various Auto type GPS units such as the Tom-Tom, Garman, Navigon, etc with Touch Screen's come in 3.5", and 4.3".
not to throw a wrench in your decision, but I think screen size alone is not the only factor to consider. most umpc's have very dim screens because of the limited battery power available & extended runtimes are primary concerns... as tough as a tiny screen may be to use, it gets even tougher when you see nothing on it at all during the day, I would suggest you consider this aspect as much as size, there are some umpc's with outdoor viewable screens
one way to test fit size is to get a measurement of the screen & then make a paper template, this can give you a good feel for usability I think too...
Yeah, I'll second turbocad6's comment. Maybe you could take screen shots of the screens you plan to use and reduce them to the size you want to try. Print them, cut them out, and set them in position to see if they'll work for you.
Ha ha ha I've done exactly what you guys mentioned, Made a paper template to the specifications of the Wibrain. I hadn't thought of the screenshot method though. It's a fantastic idea that I'll try as soon as I get a chance. In the mean time, I've been using the template to check out the location of the device, mounting options and still thinking of how easy (or difficult) it will be to use the smaller screen. I think I will be ok though. Most of the time, I'll be using voice recognition to control it but, in the worst case scenario, I'll try my hand at creating my own skin. I'm really liking the idea of this device and, according to reviews, it has a great LED backlit screen that works at least as well as the Lilliputs I've read about here. If I were building a dedicated car PC rig, I would not be getting the sunlight readable 7 inch screen anyway. They are just too expensive. From what I can tell, the WiBrain should be good in all but the most direct sunlight. Window tint should help there a bit as well. I'm still debating the purchase (I take months to decide what kind of laundry detergent I want) but I'm leaning heavily toward this device. If and when I make the purchase, I'll post my experiences and let you all know the pros and cons. Till then though, I'd love to hear more feedback.
Maybe it would be easier to suggest things to consider if we knew more about how you plan to use your carPC. Are you considering this small-screen device because you don't want to mount it permanently? Or because you want to be able to carry it around with you as your laptop and just use it in the vehicle when you're driving? Or because you never know which car your folks will let you borrow? (No wisecrack here -- just trying to imagine possibilities.) Or what? Our usability comments would be a lot more to the point if we knew how you'll use the PC and what factors enter into your purchase decision.
For me, screen readability is king. While the Wibrain looks like a really neat device -- I'm impressed with its 1024x768 resolution -- its screen seems woefully small for real comfort, even if it works well in daylight. I've driven with a small Garmin on the dash; shifting to a 5.6" nav unit was way better, and going to a 7" monitor made both of them seem tiny. I want to be able to glance at the monitor, get my information, and return to driving without feeling distracted by a too-small screen.
I'm putting in a Lilliput 10.4 because I want all the screen real estate I can get. The next vehicle I do will likely get an even bigger screen. For instance, look up turbocad6's thread about using a widescreen tablet turned to portrait mode for a giant 768x1268 screen. Bigger is better.
Remember this advice about money, sex, torque, firepower, and other good things in life: if just enough seems good, then too much ought to be perfect.
And give us more information about the things that will enter into your decision.
Mainly, I want to be able to take it with me when I park. I work at an airport and even though I park in a "secure" governmental parking lot, at least one car I know of has been broken into and another stolen all together. Having a built in, touchscreen display, in my opinion, might make it more of a target.
I put a lot of thought into how I would use it. If I'm going to do this I want to use it every time I get in the car like I would a regular stereo. So, what happens if I decide to go downtown with my wife on a Saturday night? I now need to be able to slip this device into a jacket or securely store it in the glove box. I won't be able to put it in a bag like I would going to work.
The other factor for me was usability. I need this thing to have a touchscreen. Now, the OQO, which would have been perfect otherwise, has an active digitizer. This means there is no touchscreen and everytime I want to use it, I'll need to make sure I have the pen. It's also ridiculously expensive. The wife would never go for it.
So now I'm down to three devices. All have their good points and bad. The Samsung Q1 Ultra is a good device but it's a little large and, in the model I'm looking at, it lacks bluetooth and WWAN. The Fujitsu is middle of the road and is a very viable option. The only concern here is the hard touch screen. Reviews I've read have said it's unresponsive at times and you need to use a stylus or fingernail. The WiBrain's is cheap, just as powerful as the others and has the small form factor. It's only problem is the small screen.
Mounting options need to be considered as well. I'd love to be able to get in the car, place the UMPC in it's mount and go. With most options, I'd have to place it in it's mount, plug in a few connectors (USB and power), then take off. The Samsung requires USB and power, the fujitsu requires the USB and, if I use the home docking station in the car and mod the dash to fit it, the WiBrain requires none of the above. I can plug it into my inverter and run the USB to the glove box.
So, that's where I'm at now. I still waver a bit from device to device but I'm leaning slightly toward the Wibrain with the Q1 Ultra in an extremely close second. Again, please let me have your thoughts, concerns and advice. Thanks