By November 22, 2007

Asus P526 (Pegasus) review


Moving onto our second device from Asus, I’m looking at the P526.

Asus P526

Asus P526

Again, this is, as far as we are aware, a full retail unit, boxed, and with a final ROM.

The Asus P526 was kindly supplied for review by our friends Devicewire.

What’s in the Box?

I’ll not go into too much detail, since Matt’s unboxing video is available for you to look at.

Inside you’ll find:

  • The P526
  • Mains Charger
  • USB Sync/Charge cable
  • Application CD with Activesync and software pack
  • Hands free headset
  • Standard Battery
  • Manual & getting started guide
  • Asus P526 Specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6.0
  • 201Mhz Texas Instruments OMAP 850
  • GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900
  • 2.6″ LCD touch screen with backlight, 240 x 320 dots resolution with 65,536 colours
  • 64MB RAM, 128MB ROM
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • 2.0mp camera
  • Built-in numeric phone keyboard, 20 keys
  • microSD card slot
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g
  • SiRF Star III , 20 channel integrated GPS
  • Dimensions: 58 x 110 x 15.4mm
  • Weight: 115g with battery

    This phone certainly looks the part, and I was very impressed when I first opened the box.

    Although this candybar runs Windows Mobile Professional (touchscreen/pocket pc), it looks very much like an average smartphone. The usual phone keypad is present, and there’s nothing to suggest the screen is touch sensitive. It just looks like a normal candybar smartphone.

    The screen is of decent, if not outstanding quality, and although the screen isn’t as sensitive as I’d have hoped – it is very accurate, at least in the short time I’ve used it.

    Although on the small sizd, the keypad is very nice to type on. It’s very tactile, and it is possible to write a text by feel alone. No wobbly keys, it feels well made and expensive.

    Asus P526 Keypad

    Asus P526 Keypad

    We also have the regular call keys, a C (or back) button, and the ASUS Launcher button (more later). We can also see a thin row of 4 other buttons. The outer of these are the softkeys, and to the left is the windows key. Finally on the inner right hand side, we have a direct button to the voice control software.

    At the bottom of the device, we have a standard mini-USB plug just like the other ASUS device and also exactly the same, a 2.5 earphone jack plug. I’m really happy that ASUS have gone with such common connections. Weirdly I couldn’t get my HTC charger to work with the P526 though, which is even more odd when you consider that the M530w worked fine with it. USB charging worked fine though.

    Asus P526 bottom

    Asus P526 bottom

    On the right hand side, towards the bottom is an easy access microsd card slot. Phone shaped/sized devices commonly have these hidden away under the battery – so ASUS get another star from me for sticking it on the side! Above the card slot, we rather strangley have the device reset button, recessed behind the outer cover. You’ll need the stylus to press the button, but its still an unusual place to put it!

    Asus P526 right side

    Asus P526 right side

    Moving up we have the standard camera button, and then – “the switch”. Once the phones in use it’s fairly obvious that this mysterious little switch is a keylock. Not seen one like this before, but I like it. Unfortunely the keylock is a little bit buggy – again more on that in the review.

    The left side is fairly barren – just an OK button and the same up/down/click rocker switch as found on the M530w

    Asus P526 left side

    Asus P526 left side

    On the reverse we have the 2mp camera – but no flash, the speaker grille (ASUS must like these!), and a cover. Under that cover? The GPS external aerial connector. Yup, it’s a very small phone, but they’ve managed to get GPS to fit somehow.

    Asus P526 camera

    Asus P526 camera

    Finally moving to the top of the device, as you might expect – nothing but a power button.

    Asus P526 top

    Asus P526 top


    Theres not a lot to be said really. All the regular additions are there – the voice commander software and a JAVA system are both preinstalled. A wireless manager is there too – looking suspiciously like that found on Ubiquio devices. There’s not a lot in there anyway though – just phone and Bluetooth. Remember theres no wifi to be found – or any form of 3G 🙁 .

    Looks/Size: This phone looks great. I’ve got an ASUS laptop, with exactly the same colour scheme, and together they look really smart. It’s a good size, it looks like a phone, and a nice one at that.

    Awkward daily usage: No direction pad! OK, it was worth a try – but this should never have got from the design stage. Using the phone is an absolute nitemare. Scrolling through text, or moving menus up and down can ONLY be done using the rocker switch on the side, or the touchscreen. Neither option is natural – and the small touchscreen can be a problem, unless you get the stylus out everytime.

    No 3G: Er… iPhone anyone? What a glaring omission. These days this in itself is an absolute killer for many potential buyers.

    No wifi: This doesn’t bother me as much, but I know it will put off a number of people – especially considering the lack of 3G.


    Well at least with this device, ASUS’ built in internet/mms auto config tool worked!

    The first boot again started up ASUS’s custom installer app to install a few “packages” (No reboot required here though), and up popped the auto config tool, which as I said, did actually have the UK networks in the list this time.

    The software list on the device does pretty closely match that found on the M530w. It’s sparse, but one nice extra on the P526 is the ASUS launcher software. Think of your standard Nokia dumb phone menu – the launcher is a nice replica of it. It is pretty decent actually – and does make it easier to navigate around the phone and its various settings. I still found things a little clumsy though, due to the missing direction pad.

    Internet access is GPRS only, and typing any kind of web address in with the phone keypad is torture. If this device dropped the touch screen and used the Standard version of windows mobile, it would be fine. However, due to the awkward way Professional edition handles input methods makes this phone a awkward to use at times and it’s especially noticeable with website addresses.

    Perhaps this can be improved with software updates – but right now its a bit of a mess. Speaking of updates – I hope one is due soon. A couple of nasty bugs have also shown up in the few days I’ve had it.

    Firstly the keylock method is very nice – a lot easier than the “device lock” today screen applet. However, it does seem to occaisionally get itself in a mess, at which point the touch screen becomes active, and “touchable”, while the hardware buttons remain locked. The keylock switch is still in locked position, so not exactly ideal if you take your phone out of a pocket to find you’ve called japan for the last hour!

    Our second nasty bug is the backlight. It seems to have a mind of its own. The summary would be – if it turns off, it’s nearly impossible to turn back on. The timeouts and settings make no difference, and when this happens, you have to turn the screen off completely (tapping the power button), then back on.

    These issues add up to a device that takes some getting used to!

    So far then I’ve sounded rather negative. However, being positive for a minute – this phone gets attention. You might struggle to pick it out from the Nokia N series of phones really. Its a nice looking business phone, and here in the office, people seemed to like it.

    The GPS also works really well. It doesn’t get a very strong signal, but worked fine in the car using TomTom. Tracking seems to be very accurate and a signal is acquired quite quickly. It’s here that the Asus P526 starts to make sense. A Windows Mobile Professional device, in a candybard form factor that includes touchscree AND GPS!

    The problem is that WM Professional OS does not seem suited to a device that will be used as a phone. On a PDA with a qwerty keyboard it’s ideal, but touch screen is not a suitable method of navigating around on the P526 and requires the use of the sylus and the buttons to get anything done. This, coupled with the lack of direction pad, just makes doing anything on this device hard work.

    In terms of reliability, bar the silly little bugs, the Asus P526 fairs well. I have been very critical of it but the phone remains stable despite me forcing it to run ActiveSync, TomTom, Google Maps and whatever else I had running at the time. The bugs I’m sure can all be sorted in time – I’m just surprised they weren’t picked up on before the devices hit the stores.


    Having enjoyed the Asus M530w so muc I have to say I was expecting more from the Asus P526 and was quite disappointed to be honest.

    The P526 just wansn’t my cup of tea and I really struggled to get to grips with the lack of direction pad and the WM Professional OS on this style of device. That said, I know that this device will be popular given its form factor and integrated GPS. It’s just a shame that these come at the expense of WiFi and, more importantly, 3G.

    However, I’ve seen enough in both devices to be hopeful for future ASUS releases. I’ve used ASUS motherboards, an ASUS laptop for a while now, and I’d like an ASUS phone in the future.

    Unfortunately, it won’t be this one.

    Review by: Matt

    [Post tag(s): , , , , ]

    Posted in: Reviews

    About the Author:

    More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
    Loading Facebook Comments ...

    Post a Comment

    No Trackbacks.