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Reviewed - Asus R2H UMPC
Posté le 12 décembre 2006 à 00:07:53 par gpspassion.

Reviewed - Asus R2H UMPC with SiRFstarIII GPS

WinXP, 7", 800x480, 60GB, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS

The ASUS R2H is the first UMPC (ex-Origami Project) device with a built-in GPS receiver and as a result was much anticipated. It may sound a bit odd when it's easy enough to add a Bluetooth GPS, but as most of us who've used PDAs or PDAPhones with a built-in GPS it's hard to go back to carrying a separate device. Let's start with a few pictures :

Compared to PDA of various sizes

The GPS Tab in the "Launcher"

You need to activate the GPS each time you boot up the R2H

Running SiRFdemo, a tweaker's favorite - see this guide


Running "Autoroute 2007", European equivalent to"Streets & Trips 20007" that Microsoft claim are optimized for the UMPC platform...

...not the GPS tab for sure as you need to move up to the non-native 800x600 to get access to the route calculation or recalc

once you're under way you do get access to 4 specific UMPC buttons :
Sound off, Repeat instruction, Recalculate Route and Day/Night


A longtime favorite of GPS users on PDAs, the UMPC version is impressive on the 7" screen !

The usual screens are back with some nice graphics

Good rendering of our favorite website as well ;-)


The R2H relies on the powerful SiRFstarIII chipset and on a flip-out antenna, which is certainly a good idea to acquire the weak signals from the satellites as far away as possible from the heavy RF interference of the other components. ASUS must feel confident that this will do the job as they have not added a connector for an external antenna. In my limited testing I did not find the R2H to have any sensitivity problems and given some time it was able to get a cold fix in my office, much like other SiRFstarIII receivers, albeit in a little more time. So far, no problems holding the fix while driving.

As seen in the pictures above, I ran Autoroute 2007 on it (European version of Streets&Trips 2007) and in spite of Microsoft's claims of UMPC optimization I had to switch out of the native 800x480 mode to have access to the navigation menus in the GPS tab. In full screen mode, you do get 4 buttons not present on the PC version. Still, even with its latest improvements, Autoroute 2007, is quite a letdown in terms of GPS Assisted Navigation compared to anything by Garmin or TomTom.

Intellinav/iGuidance v3 is much better in that respect and it's quite a sight to see it in its full glory on a 7" screen. Feels like looking at a paper map. The usual advanced features are there, route list, avoids, speed alerts based on road type, 2D/3D, etc...

First test drive yesterday and other than a temporary placement against the windshield, the results were good with iGuidance v3.

Next to the Nuvi 660T with its 4" screen

For a start, the touchscreen of the R2H is very insensitive and you'll need a stylus to operate properly, unless yo have sharp fingernails. I understand this is done by design to avoid unwanted taps or "wavy" writing, as is apparently the case on the Samsung Q1. Not very convincing as you're basically back to the PDA constraint of using a stylus, just not for the same reasons. The other obvious problems for GPS navigation is how you fit it in your line of sight as you would with a PDA or an AIO, the same problem I had when I drove around Arizona with my old Fujitsu ST1200 TabletPC connected to a Magellan GPS. You might as well have an ultra-compact laptop on the passenger seat. Not really a problem in itself, but as could be expected the battery life is not very good. With the standard 2 cell 3430mAh battery, running iGuidance, GPS ON, static position, Wifi Off, yields 1h40 minutes. This can of course be improved with the 4 cell 6860mAh battery.

While the R2H is an impressive device that comes with many useful accessories, including an extra battery, its weight (even with the 2 cell battery), permanent fan, tendency to heap up and generally inconvenient text entry modes (other than the USB keyboard), makes it a bit of an "odd animal" and the addition of a GPS module doesn't do a lot for it as the software offering is weak. Instead of adding a GPS module, a GSM/CDMA/UMTS module would have made it a more useful device overall, especially since the old PCMCIA slot.

If you have questions or comments, you can use this thread of the forums.

UPDATED 20061220

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