Asus MyPal A730 Pocket PC review: Asus MyPal A730 Pocket PC

The A730 also has a snazzy-looking and full-featured software tool for taking, editing, and viewing still photos and videos. The application is complemented by Windows Mobile 2003 SE's ability to rotate the display to landscape view.

Aside from the photo-editing app, the A730 offers Windows Mobile 2003 SE's standard applications, such as Pocket versions of Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player 9.0. It doesn't have much in the way of extra software, though. Asus Launcher lets you quickly launch frequently used applications, and Asus Backup protects your data. There are also two games (Solitaire and Jawbreaker) and a few demos on the companion CD.

With the new Dell Axim X30 series setting an ever-higher bar for Pocket PC performance, the Asus MyPal A730 fell short of our expectations. Equipped with the latest 520MHz Intel PXA270 processor, the A730 performed slightly below the midlevel Axim X30, which has only a 312MHz chip. This was largely due to Asus's new and improved visual interface, which offers gorgeous 3D icons and other graphical touches. The new look, however, takes a toll on video performance, decreasing the A730's overall score. Nevertheless, the A730 was plenty fast and exhibited great responsiveness, even when we had multiple applications open simultaneously.

The A730's VGA screen was extraordinarily crisp and beautiful, which more than made up for its relatively mediocre video performance. In short, if you intend to play 3D games on this device, your games will look great but run sluggishly. But if you intend to use the PDA for only general organizing purposes, you will have nothing to complain about. All your contacts, numbers, and dates will look absolutely gorgeous.

There's no free lunch, though. The PDA's gorgeous display resulted in slightly disappointing battery life. In CNET Labs' drain test, where we repeatedly play a video clip with sound and backlight at high and all wireless functions turned off, the battery lasted only 3 hours, 9 minutes. In the same test, the Dell Axim lasted more than an hour longer. Since our drain test was designed to deplete the cell as soon as possible, you'll get more mileage out of your battery under normal use.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo.

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