First Looks: ASUS P525 PDA Phone (Wi-Fi)

Wi-Fi to Cut the Deal

Wi-Fi to Cut the Deal

Smart phones are getting very popular with businessmen and executives, especially models with push-email and Internet browsing functions. Armed with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, these handy handsets are all but a mere button away from the Internet. Of the two however, 3G is the more pervasive, being commonly found in modern handsets over Wi-Fi. ASUS on the other hand believes there are more immediate benefits in implementing Wi-Fi over 3G and the result is the P525.

Sleek Finish for the Image Conscious

Clearly targeted at business executives, the P525 is fashionably designed with a dark brushed metallic finish. Though smartphones with touchscreen displays are not traditionally known for being sleek or lightweight devices, the P525 manages to look manageable enough. Other than skin deep attributes, the ASUS P525 can be found powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system and happens to be one of several models to feature a standard numeric keypad with T9 support. This makes it inviting for new converts who are not yet used to writing with either a stylus or a QWERTY keyboard. For seasoned smartphone users, the large 2.8-inch touchscreen LCD is an absolute joy to behold. Not only does its size make it easy for data input, it also makes for effortless browsing of web pages, documents and video clips. Stylus need not always be used though as the P525 is equipped with a 5-way joystick, making it friendly for one-handed usage.
There is a 2.0-megapixel camera (with autofocus feature) located at the back of the phone next to the camera’s built-in flashlight for basic photo imaging. The small mono-speaker next to the camera is both a speakerphone and ringer. There is a dedicated ‘Hold’ button that locks the keypads when not in use.

Software of the Business Alike

Besides the usual Mobile office suite that comes with Windows Mobile 5.0, ASUS has thrown in several nifty applications that they think are invaluable to its specific consumer demographics. First up is the ‘Biz Card Recognition’ application that helps users compile and organize namecards digitally. By utilizing the onboard camera, name, address and contact details can all be electronically captured and stored directly into the contact list. And to keep data secure, ASUS has provided ‘My Secrets’ encryption application that encrypts files into a folder that is only accessible via password authentication. Lastly, because the P525 has Wi-Fi built in, ASUS has bundled in SKYPE software to empower users with free or low-cost wireless international calls.

With a good software bundle, pleasing looks and numeric keypad rather than a QWERTY keyboard, the ASUS P525 is a smartphone that is more compelling than other PDA-phones in offering mobile phone convenience. Though its Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to achieve Internet connection wirelessly, the lack of 3G support means it’s next to impossible to really achieve true mobile Internet – unless the city you are in has citywide Wi-Fi infrastructure installed. And as much as we enjoy one-handed usage with the 5-way joystick, its odd positioning means the ergonomics of button 2 and 5 are compromised. A jogdial would have been a more ideal tool for navigation.

Nevertheless, the ASUS P525 is a competent smartphone that’s primarily targeted at those who know they will mostly work in hotspots areas where the integrated Wi-Fi connection would be an invaluable asset to their daily roster of travels and meetings.