First Looks: Asus P526 Pegasus (with GPS)

Mapping the Future

Mapping the Future

With the rising popularity of smartphones amongst general consumers, manufacturers are pulling out all the stops by flooding the market with a myriad of "smart" products. To that end, Asus introduces the latest iteration of their smartphone genre, the P526 Pegasus. Though sharing a name that's similar to the Asus P525, the newer P526 is not touted as its direct successor. Join us as we go through the details of the P526 to discover its new propositions.

On the Road

Thus, it is of no surprise that smartphones today are greatly preferred by consumers with mobile Internet and information organizing needs. Asus' latest answer arrives in the form of the new P526 with GPS capability. In charge of interpreting signals between GPS satellites and the handset in GPS mode is a Star III GPS microcontroller from SiRF Technology which, as we quickly discovered, provided accurate directions and quick satellite fix during our field tests with Mapking navigation software. Worth noting is that although the Asus P526 comes with GPS capability, navigation software is not provided. Anyone looking to utilize the P526 for navigation purposes will have to purchase and install navigation software on their own. The good news is that the P526 comes preloaded with the new Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system.

The lack of navigation software might not be much when one considers the P526 does not come with Wi-Fi connectivity and 3G support but only Bluetooth and EDGE. This tells us two things: the P526 is a stripped-out Pocket PC Phone designed for budget conscious consumers and that it's meant for basic, sporadic Internet usages.

Ironically, even with a newer and more robust Windows Mobile 6.0, the P526 only has a 200MHz TI OMAP850 processor, which pales in comparison against the P525’s 416MHz Intel XScale variant. The slower processing power quickly became apparent when overall responsiveness started waning as a result of multiple applications running in the background simultaneously.

Redeeming Points

Looking beyond its shortcomings, the P526 does have a few redeeming features. For one, it's lightweight and comes with a plain but aesthetically pleasing design. Following that, the P526 offers three set of inputs from its scroll wheel, number pad with T9, and stylus (touchscreen). There's even a "Hold" button to prevent accidental dialing. Screen is impressively clear and easy on the eye, though a slight hitch would be frequent short lapses in registering inputs from stylus. Also impressive was its fairly lengthy battery life that lasted nearly three days with moderate use of GPS.

Final Thoughts

GPS phones are slowly gaining a foothold in the cellular market, but light ones such as the P526 are still rare. Sadly, with the lack of both Wi-Fi and 3G, the P526 won't be winning the hearts of many just yet, which is just as well considering it is aimed at a different consumer group from that of Wi-Fi enabled smartphones such as the Asus P525. So, the price of the Asus P526? Well, an affordable SGD$898 (~USD$530).