Asus P750 review: Significant other

GSMArena team, 24 June 2008.
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Asus P750 360-degree spin

As we mentioned, the Asus P750 is a rather hefty, but the multi-tap keypad certainly makes it come out as a more conventional handset. The P750 measures 113 x 58 x 17.4mm. That's marginally smaller than the HTC TyTN II, which happens to pack a full hardware QWERTY keyboard and a slide-and-tilt 2.8" display. We found the TyTN II barely pocketable, so we guess the same definition holds true for the P750 too. Still, the P750 is a good 60g lighter than the TyTN II, so that should count for something too.

Design and construction

Asus P750 is made of some really nice materials - bushed metal on the front and matt black plastic on the back. Some of the keys are metallic too, and all that creates a distinctive high-end feel.

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Asus P750 all around

Asus P750 gets delivered in a really rich retail package - a thing you rarely see even with expensive PocketPCs. The P750 package offers a leather holster for the handset, stereo handsfree, USB data cable, a car charger, and... you'd never guess… a windshield mount holder.

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The Asus P750 retail package

We already commented on the 2.6" TFT display being slightly below the current 2.8-inch industry standard. It has QVGA resolution but users report that the display can be unlocked to work in true VGA mode, as it's originally a VGA display forced to QVGA resolution. You can find more about that in the final chapter of this review, right before the conclusion.

The display is not very good under direct sunlight, but that holds true for most of the mobile phones out there. We suffered no legibility issues using the P750 as an in-car navigation solution.

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The Asus P750 display

The frame around the display is made of brushed metal. Above the display there is a video-call camera and a stylish earpiece grill, which seems etched in the metal plate, reminding a bit the Nokia 6500 classic.

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There is a brushed metal frame around the display • video-call camera above

Below the display is the nice and ample keypad, which is great for typing in case you don't fancy the virtual keyboards that Windows Mobile offers. Asus have not preinstalled any thumbable virtual keyboard, so you would need the stylus if you are to use those.

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The Asus P750 keypad is excellent

Back to the hardware keypad, it's worth noting the metallic keys on the first row make a real nice accent on the metal front. Usability suffers a bit however, as they don't have any backlighting and are thus difficult to use in the dark. Other than this obvious flaw, the P750 keypad has a nice, strong backlighting.

There is only one key on the keypad, which might get you wondering with its circular icon. It's the Asus' very own ModeSwitcher key and you can learn more about it in the interface chapter of this review.

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The keypad in the dark

On the right side of the P750 there are several interesting controls. First, there's the GPS antenna slot to plug in an external GPS antenna for better reception.

The slider there allows you to both put the handset in standby mode (a single slide upwards) and to lock the keypad (a single slide downwards after that). You'd be better off with the keypad locked, since almost any accidental key press takes the device out of standby mode. That solution is among the most convenient that we've seen on a PocketPC - toggling the standby screen is among the most frequent tasks on any device of this type.

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The slider is an ingenious solution

Next to the slider in question is the reset hole (for restarting the device with the help of the stylus) and the camera key. Unfortunately, the camera key function is not customizable and it's permanently set to activating the camera upon a short press. That can be quite annoying, as you should be extra careful not to press the key when you don't need the camera.

The microSD memory card slot is right next to the camera key and it is pretty easy to swap cards. We tested the Asus P750 with both a 4GB and an 8GB microSDHC card and it handled them trouble-free.

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The camera key starts the camera even upon a short press

On the left side of the P750 there is a three-way scroll wheel, which is many people's favorite single-handed method of navigating the menus. But since the keypad on the front panel packs a full-featured D-pad, the scroll wheel becomes pretty redundant here.

Next to the scroll wheel there is a shortcut key for activating the voice dialing or the voice commands. Fortunately, if you don't need those features, this key can be reassigned.

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The scroll key is made redundant by the D-pad • voice dialing key can be freely reassigned

The top of the handset is clear of any controls whatsoever, while the bottom houses a standard 2.5mm audio jack and a standar miniUSB connector. The stylus is also tucked at the bottom.

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Nothing on the top • the bottom hosts a 2.5mm audio jack, a miniUSB connector and the stylus compartment

The back cover of the Asus P750 is made entirely of matt plastic, which evades fingerprints with an unexpected ease. The 3 megapixel camera lens and the loudspeaker are encased within a metallic frame.

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The matt black plastic on the back feels great to touch • the camera lens and loudspeaker add one more accent to design

Below the battery cover you will find a Li-Ion battery with a capacity of 1300 mAh. The manufacturer promises up to 240h of standby time and up to 6h of talk time. Overall, the Asus P750 is not a spectacular performer when it comes to battery life. It lasted 2-3 days on a single charge.

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The battery life is average however the energy saving architecture of the GPS chipset is amazing

We tested how the battery performs with the GPS on and it managed to surprise us by lasting a little over 6 hours in still position. It's a really nice achievement and credit should probably go to the SiRF Star III chipset used. The competing HTC Touch Cruise, which is based on the Qualcomm 7200 platform managed to last for only 3.5h in exactly the same conditions.

You should of course be expecting less in real-life usage in a moving vehicle.

In conclusion, we would like to point out that the Asus P750 is indeed a big fellow, but its excellent build quality, choice of materials and ergonomics make it a wonderful PDA.

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Asus P750 held in hand

Take the jump to the next page for more on the software part of it.

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