Print 12 comment(s) - last by jkresh.. on Oct 30 at 3:10 PM

Only UMPC gives its impressions of the new ASUS R2H

The last time we visited UMPCs, Samsung had stuffed a 32GB Flash-SSD drive into its Q1. That device features a 7" WVGA screen, 802.11g wireless, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and an ultra-low voltage Celeron M processor. The device is priced at $999 USD with the standard 40GB HDD and around $2,600 USD with the Flash-SSD.

Now we have another UMPC to talk about: Asustek's R2H. We first saw the R2H at this year's Computex and came away impressed with its build quality, screen and features. For those keeping score, the R2H features a 900MHz Celeron M processor, 768MB of memory, 60GB hard drive, 7" WVGA screen, 802.11g, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, fingerprint reader, onboard GPS, two USB 2.0 ports, a 6860 mAh battery and comes with a 2-year limited global warranty (1-year warranty on the battery).

Only UMPC has posted its impressions of the 2-pound device and they came away mostly impressed. Battery life, which has been a thorn in the side of most UMPCs, was actually quite manageable. Only UMPC was able to achieve run times of 2 hours and 12 minutes with all wireless functions turned on and maximum screen brightness. With all wireless functions turned off and with power saving options enabled, Only UMPC was able to achieve nearly 3 and a half hours of runtime. If there was one thing that the reviewers had a real problem with, however, it was with the over abundance of preloaded software which taxed the 900MHz Celeron processor:

The moment I switched the device, things were pretty much as expected. It takes you through the regular windows setup stuff (just the last part) and when the system is ready to login, I should say it took a while (about 2 mins ) for the UMPC to be ready for use. I kinda felt like booting up a new PC / Notebook from DELL, the stuff is loaded with tones of software in the start up.

While UMPCs are intriguing devices, they haven't quite lived up to expectations when it comes to sales. The high price of entry is one of the reasons and meager battery life is yet another. With customers having access to $500 notebooks from reputable manufacturers, $1,000 for a UMPC seems like a hard pill to swallow. Hopefully the situation in "UMPC Land" will improve with next generation "Vistagami" devices.

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By thegrimreaper3 on 10/30/2006 10:17:59 AM , Rating: 2
I just don't see the market for these. I mean yes, they are incredibly small and can be used for travel but they are still to big for your pocket which means you still need a bag in which case i don't understand why you wouldn't just get a 11.2 inch Sony Vio and have a 100x better machine at your fingertips. It just doesn't make any sense to me. Can someone tell me the advantages to a slower overpriced pc just because its slightly smaller than the small laptops?

RE: Market
By Frank M on 10/30/2006 10:30:42 AM , Rating: 2
The only place where I could see this being useful is a workplace where you're forced to stand. You really can't use a laptop on your feet. Beyond that though, I don't see any reason to own one.

RE: Market
By jon1003 on 10/30/2006 10:33:52 AM , Rating: 2
You could use a tablet notebook PC also in that case...

RE: Market
By encryptkeeper on 10/30/2006 11:12:01 AM , Rating: 2
We have too many devices that all do the same thing. Why would you want a UMPC for 1000 bucks when you can get a Blackberry for a quarter of the price that does the same thing? You'd be able to watch movies on this UMPC, which is cool but why do that when you can pay 90 bucks for a mobile DVD player.

RE: Market
By sdsdv10 on 10/30/2006 2:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
You'd be able to watch movies on this UMPC, which is cool but why do that when you can pay 90 bucks for a mobile DVD player.

True, but then you have to bring all your DVD's with you. A more accurate comparison would be with a PMP (or PVP) with a built in hard drive. Units with a ~4" or greater screen (since the Asus unit is 7") and 30GB HD run about $300-$600 (depending on model and features). If you buy the high end Archos unit with Wifi for $600, this is only $400 to get a "fully" functional computer, including a higher resolution screen.

RE: Market
By thirdtenor on 10/30/2006 11:58:24 AM , Rating: 2
If I was buying a GPS for the car or getting a new car and thinking about adding an expensive navigation option I would consider this device. Sure, it's more expensive than all but the most expensive navigation devices but the flexibility to run any [windows] software you want is attractive. I bought an expensive PPC phone with bluetooth and wifi for this purpose (about a year ago) and it was about half the cost and did not include the GPS. The main problem is the screen size a daytime visibility. If the asus has a bright screen that is viewable in the car (on 12v power) then it could be a good option.

I think it would also work great as a home automation/control device. Crestron, Philips Pronto and similar devices are just as expensive.

Of course you still have buy software (though there are some decent free/cheap solutions out there) but the same is true of a PocketPC.

Lastly, I'll wait to see some more reviews and the actual street price before I think about this new toy.

By bildan on 10/30/2006 11:43:16 AM , Rating: 2
I DO have a very specific need for a UMPC. No other device can do the job I need done. Basically, I want a powerful, big screen PDA running a full featured operating system. The only thing preventing me from buying one now is price. I expect the price to come down eventually.

The ASUS looks good but I need to be assured that it can run on external 12V power and that the GPS has a jack for an external antenna. WiMax or other high speed wireless internet access would be nice. The screen size is OK but I insist on really good full sunlight readability and I wish the bezel was narrower to reduce the overall size and weight. Size and weight ARE important to me.

If I can run on external power, battery life is a non-issue.

By Lazarus Dark on 10/30/2006 1:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
this is the one I'm waiting for! I admit I'm a little bit of an asus fanboy but to me this is the sleekest looking umpc so far. The market for this is small for sure but for my specific purposes its perfect and does the job of several devices making the pricetag acceptable. here is how I see it:

1. I was planning on getting a touchscreen lcd to put by my couch for controlling my htpc. But since this has a fully operational windows os I can use the remote desktop over 802.11g to control the htpc. and I can surf the web on the umpc while not using cpu resources on the htpc.
2. I've been wanting a portable media player so I can move my music back and forth and have all my music easily accessible in the car. 60gb isn't that much but with two usb ports I could easily attach another hdd for occasions needing more.
3. My laptop has a 14" screen and I have never found it to be very portable or even very comfortable on my lap. This umpc is a much more portable solution for the things I would use most: web surfing and media playback.

So this could replace at least three devices for me: touchscreen for htpc $500 or more, laptop $500 or more, pmp $500 or more for one with most codec support. so at 1000 dollars it still does way more in a more convenient package than 1500 to two grand worth of seperate devices.

I should be on thier marketing team. =P

By Lazarus Dark on 10/30/2006 1:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
Gaming Capable?
By Assimilator87 on 10/30/2006 11:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
What kind of graphics chip does it have?

RE: Gaming Capable?
By jkresh on 10/30/2006 3:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
crappy integrated graphics (for something this small high powered graphics would take to much power and produce to much heat). This can play a game if its 4 years old, or is not graphics intense (ie if you like fps's look at maybe Half life, forget about half life 2 or anything recent).

I wonder...
By fxyefx on 10/30/2006 11:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
UMPCs have had a tough time of catching on because of their high entry prices. I wonder, are these high prices due to the actual expense of the hardware they contain, or are the companies releasing them just trying to quickly make up for development costs? Many mobile devices, the iPod for instance, have extremely good margins. That is not the case for desktop and laptop computers. Perhaps the companies are making the mistake of asking for mobile-device type margins when really these should be slimmer, as is the case with desktops and laptops.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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