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Exclusive: nedge Previews... the Asus P750

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#1
Alex (nedge2k)

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[teaser]

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EDIT: You can find my video unboxing/review of this device here.

Well, HTC's Kaiser has finally hit the shelves and I'm sure many of you out there are wondering what's next? What could possibly outshine a device that's widely regarded as one of the best yet? Well dear readers, about 3 weeks ago a very special device landed on my desk, a device which I'm nicknaming "the Kaiser killer"!

The device in question is the Asus P750, some details of which first leaked a few months back. Little in the way of concrete information has surfaced since then but today we're going to change that and give you the full run down on what's set to be an awesome device.

I should mention before we get down to business, the device I have is an engineering sample (the only one in the country in fact!) and as such is subject to change and improvement but I'm reliably informed that hardware-wise, this is pretty much the finished article. Due to that, this article will be a preview only. There's no point in fully reviewing a non-retail device, especially when software-wise, there's a fair amount of room for improvement ;)

Enough of the chit-chat, on with the show![/teaser]


Design & Build

Some of you may remember when when details of the Asus P526 came to light after it won the iF Product Design award. It was a sexy little device and it's bigger brother, the P750 is no exception. The rear of the device is covered in a nice touchy-feely rubberised coating which also makes it's way round to the borders of the front of the device too. The front and rear halves of the device are separated by strip of black chrome and some of the main device buttons also carry the chrome look. It makes a change for me to be able to say that a Windows Mobile device actually looks good and not only does it look good but it feels good too. The device is solid, it fits well in the palm of your hand and in case I didn't mention it enough already, it looks good, really good!


Hardware

So what hardware does this Smartphone-esque Pocket PC actually pack? Well, it has:
  • HSDPA
  • SiRF Star III GPS
  • Wi-Fi (b/g)
  • 3.0MP Camera (with Auto Focus)
  • 2.6" QVGA Touchscreen
  • Forward facing video calling camera
  • 520Mhz Intel PXA270 CPU
  • 256MB ROM
  • 64MB RAM
  • External microSD slot
  • Smartphone-style keypad with backspace button
  • 1300 mAh battery
All very impressive I'm sure you'll agree. Hopefully by the time it hits retail, the P750 will pack 128MB RAM, a 3.2MP Camera and the GPS will have TMC but this is unconfirmed as yet...so don't hold me to it! :D


Software

Software-wise it's pretty much what you'd expect from a modern Pocket PC. It runs Windows Mobile 6.0 (or Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional as Microsoft would now have us know it), includes Office mobile, has a number of Asus-made applications such as a call filter, a device status monitoring tool, a backup utility and a few third-party applications too, like WorldCard Mobile.

The device also has AGPS (Assisted GPS) software which allows the GPS hardware to acquire a fix quicker via regular software downloads (every three days or so).

Finally, for those wondering how well the keypad works, Asus have included xT9, so it works very well indeed :wub:

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Dimensions

At a mere 57mm(W)x112mm(H)x17mm(D) and weighing in at only 145g (with battery), the P750 beats the Kaiser on almost all counts. In fact, when I first held the P750, it actually felt lighter than my everyday workhorse, the (MoDaCo) Orange SPV C600. Obviously it isn't but the P750's increased width over the C600 means it's weight is spread over a larger surface area, thus giving the feeling of it being lighter :D

(approx. dimensions measured by me)

Accessories

My sources tell me that the P750 will come bundled with the following:
  • Case
  • Desktop holder
  • Car holder
  • Car and mains charger
  • microSD (size unknown as yet)
  • and of course a sync cable
What's uncertain at this point is whether or not the device will come bundled with any Navigation software. The hope is that it will but Asus know that everyone has their own favourite when it comes to Sat Nav software so may instead opt not to ship it with any at all to keep everyone happy. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with TomTom or iGo :D


Release Dates & Pricing

I'm told to expect this device to hit stockists like Expansys within the next two months with network/carrier deals becoming available in Q1 of next year (most likely February). Pricing is a little vague at present but I'd expect it to go for a similar price as the Kaiser (£400-500 off-line).


Conclusion

So why do I think this is a Kaiser-killer? Ever since the crop of Smartphone-style Pocket PC devices from Gigabyte, I've longed for feature-packed device that I could use competently with one hand. This is it. It has almost every feature I could want, it's sexy looking, light, solid and I've only had to pull out the (full-size) stylus a few times in everyday use. I'm not fussed on the design of the Kaiser, nor the fact you have to flip it round to slide out the keypad (that little HTC trait has annoyed me since the Wizard) so for me, the Asus P750 is as close to my idea of Pocket PC perfection as I think I'm going to get.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. What do you think? Any questions?

PS: I wrote this article about two weeks ago and since then have used the P750 as my main device. It's awesome! Apart from the odd software glitches in its as yet unfinished ROM, it's been rock solid in performance and certainly gets some admiring glances. If you planned to shell out on a Kaiser and haven't yet, you may want to wait a little while for this puppy to come our way...it's a beast :D

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#2
J273

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Wow.....i was only just searching on expansys today for a release on this device since seeing some comparison shots on smape.com.

Looks awesome.......I was going to get a touch dual but think i may hold out for this then if its going to be available in the next few coming months.

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#3
J273

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when you say available in the next two months are we talking October/November time or November/December?

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#4
Alex (nedge2k)

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I'm told October/November but you know how these things go...

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#5
J273

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Think ill defo hold out for this then....thanks


Just one thing is it possible to use the GPS without an attached GPS antenna?....as i see there's a port on the side of the handset...does it have its own built in antenna do you know?

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#6
Alex (nedge2k)

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An external antenna would only be needed in areas or extremely poor reception - i.e. inside a building etc. I've never needed to use an external antenna with a GPS equipped PPC and those with AGPS need one even less.

Incidentally, P750 has great GPS performance which I assume will only get better in the final ROM and GPS firmware.

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#7
prajith

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This is the kind of device that i always wanted.
i have been searching all over the internet for a review.
thanks Alex! ;)
and the screenshot shows that it has usb mass storage mode, is that usb 2.0 full speed or plain usb1.1?
finally when can we get a full review?

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#8
FORCEFOXFIVE

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This does look awesome. My Orange contract runs out April 2008. Hopefully it'll be available by then. Just gotta play the waiting game. ;) Web n Walk....here we come! :wub:

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#9
floc_

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I had the first a730W pda from asus... I don't trust in asus anymore for pda. Poor construction, poor battery, poor camera and poor support... Hope situation has changed ;)

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gerryr

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My only concern would be the joystick over a dpad. How does it feel?

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#11
brisbane_guy

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hmm how can this be a kaiser killer when it has no qwerty keyboard??

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#12
gerryr

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I'd sacrafice qwerty for that form factor.

So long as it has some type of keyboard for one handed text entry so I don't need to pull out a stylus every time I want to write a quick txt.

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#13
J273

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I had the first a730W pda from asus... I don't trust in asus anymore for pda. Poor construction, poor battery, poor camera and poor support... Hope situation has changed ;)



Hmm that's put me off slightly.....what do you think to the build quality Alex?

Also is there a black border around the edge of the screen like there is on the treo 750?

Edited by J273, 07 October 2007 - 01:00 PM.

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#14
Alex (nedge2k)

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Ok, full review will be coming as soon as I get my hands on the full retail unit, build quality is excellent (especially for an engineering sample!) and the screen itself goes from edge to edge...no borders ;)

oh and for what it's worth, being able to use a device with one had wins over a qwerty keyboard any day...in my opinion anyway :wub:

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#15
maxnix

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I'd sacrafice(sic) qwerty for that form factor.

So long as it has some type of keyboard for one handed text entry so I don't need to pull out a stylus every time I want to write a quick txt.

Seems to me that smart phone interaction is primarily about voice commands, i.e. - hands free operation.

Keyboards are secondary.

Edited by maxnix, 07 October 2007 - 04:54 PM.

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#16
gerryr

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Seems to me that smart phone interaction is primarily about voice commands, i.e. - hands free operation.

Keyboards are secondary.


If I understand you correctly then I'd have to disagree. Any voice command features in Smartphone are also available in PPC.

What Smartphone gives you over PPC is the keys to allow you to type/ txt without having to use a stylus.

Edited by gerryr, 07 October 2007 - 05:15 PM.

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#17
magic_peanuts

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I use my device primarily to reply to emails on the road so for me QWERTY is essential.

So near to my perfect device now - just add a sliding QWERTY to this or GPS and WM6 Pro to the Wings and we're there.

When this was first rumoured earlier in the summer, Sirf III was touted for the GPS hardware, can you confirm this is the case?

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#18
Alex (nedge2k)

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I use my device primarily to reply to emails on the road so for me QWERTY is essential.

So near to my perfect device now - just add a sliding QWERTY to this or GPS and WM6 Pro to the Wings and we're there.

When this was first rumoured earlier in the summer, Sirf III was touted for the GPS hardware, can you confirm this is the case?


Yep SiRF Star III is pretty standard these days and the P750 packs it.

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magic_peanuts

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Yep SiRF Star III is pretty standard these days and the P750 packs it.


I beg to differ...neither the Kaiser or Ameo have it, hence the interest.

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#20
Alex (nedge2k)

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I beg to differ...neither the Kaiser or Ameo have it, hence the interest.


Really? Should have checked on that one :wub: Ok, it's pretty standard on non-HTC devices, which are more my area these days ;)

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