Air Gliding Lessons
By Seow Tein Hee
We can guess what the comments would be when you first lay eyes upon the ASUS P552w. Doesn't it look familiar to a certain other device? In this case, we do share your sentiments, but we should also pay attention to the details and judge not a book by its cover. The P552w has the power of a high-end device, sans the aesthetic appeal of a high-end device. This is understandable, and we'll show you why.
Designed to Glide
If you are one who places little value in a device's exterior, the P552w will probably fit your needs perfectly. With a choice of either black or white, the P552w's aesthetic layout is as simple as Forrest Gump, allowing us to swipe atop its 2.8-inch flushed screen with ease. The Call and End buttons, grouped with the five-way navigation pad and the ASUS Launcher and OK button, are oddly positioned way below the screen, and thus you'll see a noticeable waste of real estate space between the screen and the buttons. Factor that in, and we found ourselves stretching our hands more and extending our thumb to reach the bottom buttons.
Thankfully, the Volume buttons on the left profile are easy to reach and press, and like most ASUS devices, it comes with a Hold button on the right profile to lock the device. This is particularly useful, since the Power button on the top was too small and flushed to be anywhere accessible. And speaking of accessibility, the microSD card slot won't win our votes here, being located underneath the battery and below the SIM card slot.
Similar to many manufacturers, ASUS has seen the user interface trend evolving and tried to follow that with its own ASUS Launcher interface on top of the basic tweaks done on the Today screen. We got to give some brownie points for ASUS' inclusion of the carousel-like ASUS Launcher, but not for its "Gester" (it's Gester, not Gesture) technology due to its confounding zoom in/out feature. Instead of zooming in/out a picture through a diagonally swipe, we found ourselves moving to the next or previous picture image.
As far as we know, the P552w has joined the ranks of many such as the Samsung Omnia and the BlackBerry Bold as a device with one of the higher speed processors. In this case, we found the Marvell Tavor 624MHz processor bundled with 128MB of RAM and 256MB of ROM on the P552w. Sliding through various applications on the P552w, we were pleased with the minimal lag from application loading.
But, what was a cause for concern was the amount of time we get out of the P552w with its 1100mAh battery. As expected, the P552w was only able to clock up to slightly more than a day of usage with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and sporadic usage of its SiRF Star III GPS chip on top of its primary cellular function (such as calls and SMS). This is unavoidably one of the biggest trade-off from a speedier device, i.e. battery stamina.
In the search for a new toy, the consumer usually looks at a few core factors found within the product: performance, ease of use, and probably the one and most important factor - pricing. Now, if we were to take a look at the track record from ASUS and its Windows Mobile lineup, we've seen how the Taiwanese company has kept itself in the race with its competitive pricing.
Tempting as it may be with its S$668 pricing for the ASUS P552w, one must note that though the device was able to deliver accordingly to its performance and price, a question mark still remains in the ease of usage department. Try before you buy is our final recommendation.