Freitag, März 17, 2006

CeBIT 2006: A first Impression of the ASUS P525

Autor: Marc Kersten - Kategorien: Handy / GSM / Windows CE / WM5 / ASUS

Not to be outdone by our fellow cellphone enthusiasts at Phone Daily, we were also able to take a first look at the P525, ASUS second Pocket PC phone (after the P505, which never shipped here in Germany). While our review is admittedly light on pictures, it provides a lot of facts about the inner workings of this device. Under the distrustful eyes of a Taiwanese product manager we could hold this baby in our arms for a full 60 minutes, an eternity by CeBIT standards, where hordes of clueless visitors are vying to touch every single exhibit not securely locked away in a glass cabinet.

Effectively scaring off the crowd around me with my best imitation of a "Wrest this device and you are dead" look, I even managed to use my yardstick and get an exact measurement of the P525: 116 x 58 x 18mm (20 mm of thickness actually, if you include the protrusion of the camera module). Which isn't bad at all, since the smallest Pocket PC phone on sale in Germany, the MDA Compact, is only 8 mm shorter, while not offering any means of dialing and text input through hardware keys. The numeric keypad of the P525 suffers from the somewhat odd placement of the joystick between the numbers 2 and 5 though. Kudos to ASUS, on the other hand, for including word completion software, which, while not being as intuitive as Nokias T9 implementation, does its job quite nicely. It also lets users add new words to the dictionary.

The first thing you experience when you hold the phone in your hand, is its pure elegance and distinctive bronze color. A choice which may actually set a new trend, in a world otherwise dominated by black, white and the occasional silver. Made of high quality plastics and metallic parts, it feels solid and not at all like a pre production model.

Visually pleasing is also an attribute you could assign to the standard 2.8" 64K QVGA display. While the 416 Mhz Intel processor provides enough horsepower, even for more demanding tasks. An overclocking utility can switch between "Turbo Mode", "Standard", "Power Saving" and "Automatic Accord", giving you a choice between longer battery life and Doom at unimaginable frame rates. The built in 64 MB RAM (26 MB available after booting up) and 128 MB ROM (60 MB left for installing software and storing documents) should be sufficient for most users. But you can always extend the memory with an optional MiniSD card. Sorry, no full size SDIO slot here.

While the P525 was boldly praised as a VoIP phone at CeBIT, no corresponding application could be found on the displayed unit. It does have Triband GSM and WiFi 802.11b though, making it quite possible to screw the carriers and use the phone as a Skype or SIP client. To be expected, the P525 also offers Bluetooth, while using the more advanced Broadcom stack, with profiles for business card exchange, keyboards, networking, file exchange, Active Sync and "high quality audio", which is probably just another term for connecting stereo headsets via A2DP protocol. ASUS also deserves praise for natively providing USB mass storage support.

Now on to the real highlight of the P525, its 2 MP camera. "So what" you say? Its good, real good! From what we can tell, it not only offers macro capability (check), the first autofocus in a Pocket PC (check), very good low light behavior (check), a fast shutter release, at least for a PDA (check), pretty sharp and low noise pictures (check), a brilliant and colorful full screen preview image (check), almost no ghosting even when moving around (check) and write times that won't allow you to take a coffee break (check). To summarize: By far the best camera of all Pocket PC phones, that I had a chance to look at yet.

While we reserve final judgement until we get a production model of the P525, ASUS second generation Pocket PC device could make quite an impression on its delivery. Not wanting to be a spoiler, we do have to voice our concern, that the complete lack of 3.5G, 3G or even 2.5G cellular data transmission could seriously undermine any marketing effort, with many competitors being ahead of the curve here.

2 Kommentare:

Blogger greatbal sagt...

i've seen some pictures of this. nice phone.

thanks for the review. :)

i'm not much of a QWERTY keyboard fan. I like the idea of a num keypad. Considering that you have used the phone for around 60 minutes, would you say that they made a good decision in putting a num keypad instead of a QWERTY one? i noticed that the "joystick" is oddly placed between keys 2 and 5. Is it comfortable to use?


21/3/06 17:20  
Blogger MarcTGFG sagt...

I found the keypad to be pretty usable. Actually I am almost as fast at typing on a numeric keypad and T9 compared to a QWERTY thumbboard. Dont forget, there are some people that actually mainly use this for phone calls. It IS a phone after all ;-)

3/4/06 20:25  

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