Asus Mypal A636n review
I have been a proud owner of a Casio Cassiopeia E-115 for years. This is a Pocket PC 3 device, which I still use daily. I wanted to add a GPS and network card, but unfortunatly it isn't worth it to invest in this PDA any longer. Those things alone cost as much a new PDA, so I recently bought a new PDA. For me there were two devices to choose from: the Asus Mypal A636N and the Mitac Mio P550. I chose the first.
Both PDA's are much alike and have the following features:
- internal GPS antenna with the SiRF Star III chip
- internal WLAN 802.11 b/g support
- infrared port
- USB 1.1
- Bluetooth 2.0
- Microsoft Windows Mobile 5
- SD/MMC support with a maximum of 2 GB memory space
The two biggest differences between the two devices are:
- different type of CPU (The Mio has the Samsung 2440 400 Mhz and the Asus has the Intel Xscale 416 Mhz)
- different battery life. The Mio can operate about 4.5 to 5.5 hours against 7 to 8 hours for the Asus)
The better battery life was for me the reason to choose the Mypal.
The North America website of Asus says that the Asus Mypal A632 has Wifi support. This is not the case, so don't think it is a better deal because the two pda's are not exactly the same. Only the A636N has wifi support.
When I bought the A636N I didn't realised that it was a complete set. I expected having to buy an additional car adapter and gooseneck but those were included in the box. The Mio comes also with everything you need to make it more easily to operate the PDA device in your car.
So lets look at the A636N.
Picture of the frontside of the box
Picture of the backside of the box
Picture of the box contents
Picture of the A636N in action
The display is marvellous, even at 7 percent light intensity it is very clear.
Picture of the back
Picture of the Mypal and the Stowaway infrared keyboard
Wifi support is ok, but could be better. It's sometimes very slow and when you disable wifi support when it's trying to connect to a hotspot, the whole system hangs. Another irritating wifi feature is the random jump to another hotspot feature. This can be turned off, but it should just pick the hotspot I have selected.
First the GPS features are great. The GPS manual is not. GPS configuration is not even mentioned in the manual. Here are the settings that work for me:
- Programs: com 7
- Hardware: com 5
- Baudrate: 4200
You should enter com 7 for the software settings, like TomTom.
The GPS antenna looks cheap and it feels like that. It has only one connection point to the back of the device and in my opinion it isn't very strong.
Picture of the antenna, it feels like you expect it to
Fortunately most of the time the antenna doesn't need to be unfolded, so my advise is only to unfold when needed because most of the time it works without. It is known that GPS performance is poor in a environment with high buildings and small streets. The A636N is not an exception. You can boost the performance by using an external GPS antenna.
The battery is very good. The first days it lasted beyond 9 hours. When I use it sometimes it can do with a charge once every three weeks.
The power button is on top of the pda. My Casio has the power button on the left side so you can push the button with your left hand tumb when you are holding it in your hand. With the Asus you need to turn the device to turn the power on or off. You can insert the stylus in the pda on the left side which makes it more difficult for a right handed person to insert the stylus. For a left handed person inserting the stylus should go more smoothly. The hold button is very nice and it works almost like the hold buttons you can find on cd/mp3 players. It is only usable for mp3 playing, because the display is turned off while you use the hold button.
Although I am critical in this review, I do recommend the A636N. It is a great device and a very complete package. The long battery life is one of its strongest points when compared to the competition. You should buy one if you wat to buy a complete PDA. And when you do, make sure you order a screen protector and a Stowaway keyboard as well.
New the Asus Mypal A639! This new Asus PDA is almost the same as the A636N but has 1 GB of ROM memory. Check it out at PDA Comparison.
Here is nice overview of the Mypal A636N.