We recently had chance to sneak a look at the Asus P526. Although there wasn’t enough time to look at the internals and do a full review, we did manage to bag some excellent photos of the device and get a good overview.
Although this may look like a Windows Mobile Standard (i.e. Smartphone) handset, the P526 actually runs Windows Mobile 6 Pro. Asus have done a great job with the design of the phone too, it looks sleek and well-built in equal measure. The numeric keys, for example, are curved and easy to locate. The soft-keys above are on a thin metal “bar”-type arrangement but pressing and locating them in a hurry isn’t a problem.
Now, the observant amonst you will have noticed a distinct lack of navigation pad. Most of us will be used to having a stick or pad to move around the device, but this just doesn’t include one. Instead the key with the circular symbol on the very lower-left can be re-assigned as a task-switching button to cycle through applications or, if you prefer, to quick-launch applications.
Asus have also added a call filter and some Remote Presenter software, letting you control presentations from your laptop over Bluetooth. Smart.
Navigation control may still seem tricky to some, even with the task switcher / quick-launch software, however Asus have also put a navigation wheel on the left-side of the phone. Although this doesn’t spin all the way around, it will move you up and down screens. On some applications it’ll move right / left to. Following the initial “upgrade moments” it does work rather well and you’ll find yourself tapping away at the screen a lot less than you thought. Push up, push down, click in.
Asus have also included a rather neat “lock” switch.
With one simple click up it’ll lock your phone, then with a click the other way it’ll unlock it. No key-sequences to worry about, no screen-bashing, just a simple click. You can see this below – it sits above the camera button and I was very impressed by it. Sometimes the easiest solutions are the best. Top stuff.
Below the camera button is the microSD card slot and in-between you’ll find your
reset switch. Down in the corner is the stylus.
Although there was no GPS software on the Asus P526, the in-built GPS picked up satellites relatively quickly within Google Maps.
Here you can see the network activity lamp and the earpiece.
The 2 megapixel camera, seen below, takes pretty decent photos. Behind the flap
is the external aerial, whilst behind the speaker is behind the grill. The
camera and the base of the battery compartment has a small "leg" to stop
Down below is the audio port and miniUSB / charger port along with the stylus.
Up top is the power button. Luckily you won’t be fiddling with this much – the
"lock" switch we mentioned earlier automatically wakes up the screen.
Packaged and built well, the Asus P526 is an excellent mix of classic Smartphone
usability and Pocket PC flexibility. It’s not all good news however, you’ll be
using a USB 1.1 connection and when you’re mobile there’s no 3G or WiFi, just
GPRS and EDGE. The 200Mhz CPU isn’t blisteringly fast but does cope with GPS
well enough and the screen resolution is pretty damned sharp too. Inside there’s
the entire Office suite, Live Messenger, Windows Media Player and Clearvue for
checking your PDF files. The Bluetooth hardware gives the remote presentation
facilities along with all the usual wireless headset and handsfree features.
Link – Asus P526 @ Devicewire (Currently £288.99)