First Looks: ASUS P535 PDA Phone

GPS on the GO!

GPS on the GO!

Forget those big and bulky in-car GPS systems; if you haven’t already bought one, we have a recommendation that is much smaller, lighter, portable and is also a good substitute for your mobile phone. What we are referring to is none other than ASUS' latest smart phone, the P535. This is the first PDA phone from ASUS with a built-in GPS receiver and it works with almost every GPS application to assist you in finding your way around. Can the P535 pull it off for ASUS again to be considered as a "Top 100" candidate like its predecessor, the P525? Read on.

Beauty in a nutshell

The P535 offers a large 2.8-inch LCD screen for easy viewing. Input is provided by a bi-directional keypad and a stylus, no different from any other PDA smartphone based on Windows Mobile 5.0 OS. Like its predecessor the P525, the new P535 was styled to be different from other handsets competing in the same segment. Instead of going with the industry preferred color scheme of black, the P535 has been made available in a cool shade of silver, giving it a fairly classic look. All the buttons, located south of the screen, are colored in the same shade for a uniformed look. The bi-directional buttons are quite stiff and when depressed they do give off an unusually loud 'click'. This is a byproduct of a mechanical motion no doubt, but the engineers of ASUS could have made it quieter to make the P535 more enjoyable to use.

Seasoned PDA phone users will find the P535 slightly different from those they have used before as the Start button has been replaced by a Task Manager button. This short cut key allows one to make a quick selection from main applications such as "Today", media player and screen rotation.

At the back of the phone, you will find a 2.0-megapixel camera with auto-focus capability. A built-in flash for taking photos in unfavorable lighting conditions can also be found.

Lost in Transition?

The P525 was a great phone in many ways but the P535 moves that up a notch by including GPS functionality for those who drive or travel frequently. With PDA, phone and GPS capabilities all rolled into one slim and portable shell, the ASUS P535 represents a new breed of mobile phones you can expect to arrive in numbers in months to come. What's even more attractive is that GPS software (with Singapore map) is bundled as standard. Backed by a simple setup process and dependable navigation assistance - a result of the new SiRF Star III GPS module, we are pretty certain even the most skeptical of drivers will eventually be bowled over by the P535. 3G is not supported, though it does have GPRS and 802.11 b/g wireless LAN for data-over-air connectivity.

Closing Thoughts

For all the capabilities it has to offer, there's no denying ASUS has an exciting product with the P535. Battery life, as expected from such devices, was less than desirable, lasting about 1.5 days with Wi-Fi Internet browsing. It may be somewhat of a niche product but any domestic sales person or executive who is out on the roads longer than the time he/she spends in the office would have a very different opinion to share. Moreover, with applications like the business card reader and "MySecret" features retained, the ASUS P535 is all the more an irresistible tool for mobile warriors. For those keen, this all-in-one companion retails for about US$755.