ASUS P835 Review

ASUS’ mobile handset division is a hardcore business oriented segment of the community. The P835 is no exception. Irrespective of the camera and large display the handset is designed for business and maybe a little bit of play as well. But how well does it serve the purpose and is it worth its Rs. 31,000 pricing? Here’s my opinion.

Form Factor
The ASUS P835 is a rather generically designed handset.It looks quite like the Omnia, except for the navigation system. The Omnia came with an optical mouse pad and ASUS has decided to go with a trackball like the BlackBerry's. Its large 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen sports a 480 x 800 pixel resolution with 65K colors. Just under the display are a set of four touch sensitive shortcuts. These don’t light up so you’ll have to memorize their placement. Call Answer and End buttons are located on either side of the trackball. The leather finish on the bottom of the handset gives off an air of sophistication.On one side at the top are the volume/zoom keys followed by a switch for a screen lock. A microSD card slot, camera key and slot for the stylus are on the other side. A five megapixel camera lens and speaker are on the rear end. A mini USB slot which is universal for the charger, USB and handsfree is located at the bottom.
As generic as it may be, it really isn’t a bad looking handset. But we can’t go judging a book by its cover or a mobile by its flashy looks, so here’s the P835, under the hood.

Features and Performance
The handset runs on a Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS and is powered by a Qualcomm 7201A, 528MHz processor. ASUS has also included two separate UI’s to use which is totally unnecessary. One provides quick access to functions and can be accessed via a shortcut key located below the screen. It’s well laid out and quick but not fluid when it comes to navigating through it. The other UI is Glide which is proprietary to ASUS. It’s got three variations. Unfortunately none of them, except the default stays permanent. The default version makes the desktop look very cluttered if you’ve got other shortcuts as well.
If I selected the business look for the desktop and I got a call and disconnected, I’d wind up back at the default desktop. It was really annoying. What a waste, having two very intuitive UI’s and not being able to use them properly.

The touchscreen experience was also not very consistent. You’ll never know when to use the track ball and believe me there are specific occasions when you’ll have no choice. At times I was completely unable to access any options in the Programs section no matter how I tapped the screen (with or without the stylus). For some reason the screen became useless for selection and I was only able to scroll, I had to use the trackball for selection. This was also the case with certain applications like EziPhoto. In the settings option, even though icons are large enough for even my stubby fingers, they refused to be selected, even with a stylus; once again it was the trackball to the rescue. Trackball navigation itself was not as good as on a BlackBerry.

I wasn’t too thrilled with the onscreen QWERTY keyboard. It will take some getting used to. Or you can just use the stylus, which means using both hands. There’s also a Half QWERTY option as well as a phone pad which was the easiest to use. The Windows Mobile handwriting options were also present with a Block and letter recognizer and a Transcribe option. Sadly they were a little too slow.

To put it in a nutshell, you’re going to have to use both hands most of the time while using this handset. My presumption was that in this day and age of touchscreen technology, the stylus would become redundant. Apparently that’s not true. How unfortunate.