- Design, scroll wheel, build quality, Wi-Fi, interface speed
- No 3.5mm headphone jack, no HSDPA
The M530w is a competent, if not outstanding smartphone with a reasonable features list. It doesn't wow, but handles most jobs with a minimum of fuss.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
Looking very similar to Palm's Treo 500v, the ASUS M530w offers a comparable feature set to Palm's entry-level model. The M530w runs Windows Mobile 6, has a 2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a microSD slot for extra memory.
ASUS has done an admirable job with the design of this unit. We are fans of the trusty scroll wheel and the three-way scroll on the left side of the M530w does an excellent job – though we would have preferred it to be placed a little lower. Combined with the well-laid out controls and five-way navigational pad below the display, navigating this handset is a breeze. The keyboard is a mixed bag – it's fairly comfortable to send long winded e-mails, but the first and last column of keys are very close to the edge.
The unit is fairly thin, but unusually wide, so the orientation of the display is short and wide which is a little unusual. Build quality is notable and it definitely seems like it could handle a few knocks and bumps. The M530w doesn't have a touch screen, so it runs the standard WM6 OS rather than the Professional version. The speed of the interface on this unit is impressive, with no noticeable slowdown, even when running multiple applications. ASUS has included 64MB RAM and 256MB ROM in addition to a 416MHz processor.
Features wise, the M530w offers everything typical of a current Windows Mobile smartphone including e-mail access, Excel, PowerPoint and Word Mobile applications for viewing but not editing documents, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player for audio and video playback. For e-mail, it's easy to configure mail servers that run Microsoft Exchange 2003, while you can also use standard POP3 e-mail accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. Access to Windows Live, a voice commander, remote presenter and the usual array of PIM features are also included.
The M530w is 3G-capable, but it doesn't support HSDPA. Call quality is what we expected – it's not clearer than a regular mobile phone and volume could be a little louder at the highest setting, but it's passable. The inclusion of Wi-Fi is a great bonus, as many smartphones in this price range often overlook it. Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support and USB 2.0 round out the connectivity options. For multimedia, a 2.5mm headphone jack instead of the standard 3.5mm is disappointing as the included headphones are poor. A microSD card slot sits underneath the rear battery cover.
Photos taken with the included 2-megapixel camera are decent, but far from sharp or vibrant. Night-time photography is not recommended as the flash is fairly ineffective. There is also a video camera, which captures clips at resolutions up to 320x240, but the quality is average.
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