The Samsung Mondi mobile internet tablet that I've spent the last week obsessing over finally arrived today and was given no time to settle in before being put into my light tent for a lengthy photo shoot. I have a lot to say about the device (particularly in response to some of the early opinions/reviews), as well as a round of size comparison shots to share, but I'll save that for another time and take you through the unboxing first.
The WiMAX/Wi-Fi slider is packaged in an attractive full-color box that raised my expectations for what the rest of the "presentation" would be like. I know a box is just a box, but I think packaging is important; it's responsible for a consumer's first reaction to a product and a part of the overall buying experience.
The Mondi is in no way the most poorly packaged gadget I've ever unboxed, but it was disappointing to pull out a plastic container that held everything in an unorganized just-thrown-in kind of way, especially when the outer box looked so nice.
This type of container is fairly standard for consumer electronics, though most companies stack a few inner cartons and boxes inside it to keep all of the contents separate.
Not so with the Mondi, which is treated like an accessory and barely distinguishable in the pile of other plastic-baggied items.
Fortunately, what's actually inside the box more than makes up for the lackluster presentation.
The biggest surprise to me was this car kit, which includes a charger, device holder, and suction-cup mount.
Other accessories include an AC charger, USB cable, 3.5mm headset, installation DVD, and various manuals and paperwork.
And of course there's the Mondi itself, which is glossy and quite lovely in person. Car kit instructions are printed on the temporary screen protector applied on the unit's 4.3-inch touchscreen display; a permanent protector and/or carrying case are not included.
When you look at everything together, it's a pretty impressive amount of stuff. I would've appreciated a case of some kind, especially because I can't find any third-party ones, but I should be able to find something around the house in the meantime.
I haven't turned the Mondi on yet (I'm one of those ridiculous people who like to fully charge a new device's battery before turning it on for the first time), so what follows are just some close-ups and other shots of the hardware. Hardware is only part of what can make or break a device, but it's all I can show you now since I can't comment on the software yet. It's just Windows Mobile 6.1 with Samsung's TouchWiz UI, anyway, so there shouldn't be a whole lot of surprises.
The hardware does look really good so far, though, so it will probably end up being either WinMo or the ARM11 processor that influences mainstream opinion on the device.
Build quality is very high, eliciting an actual "Wow" and a "It looks really nice" from my husband, who is usually pretty indifferent to all of the gadgets that arrive at our door.
The Mondi is smaller, glossier, and feels more solid than I expected it to be. It certainly feels worthy of its $450 asking price ($350 with 2-year WiMAX contract), if you ask me.
The kickstand on the back prevents the Mondi from being able to lay completely flat on its back, but I'm glad it's included. It will be handy for hands-free viewing of videos and for extensive text entry when connected to an external Bluetooth keyboard.
And that's it for now. Based purely on the hardware alone, I'm pleased with my purchase. I have high hopes for the gap that the Mondi will fill in my portable tech-infused life, which I'll share with you later, and feel optimistic that my "long" wait (a week is an eternity when you're waiting for a gadget) will be worth it.
See more Samsung Mondi features and reviews.