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!
So what hardware does this Smartphone-esque Pocket PC actually pack? Well, it has:
- 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
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
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
(approx. dimensions measured by me)
My sources tell me that the P750 will come bundled with the following:
- Desktop holder
- Car holder
- Car and mains charger
- microSD (size unknown as yet)
- and of course a sync cable
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).
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