capsule review

Asus MyPal A730W

At a Glance
  • Asus MyPal A730W PDA (520MHz, 128MB, SDIO/CF Card, Pocket PC 2003)

Asus MyPal A730W
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Asus's $559 MyPal A730W adds built-in 802.11b wireless support to the remarkably full-featured MyPal A730 that appeared on our December 2004 chart. However, all of its extras--such as two expansion slots, two batteries, and a large screen--come at a cost. For the price, I'd like to see better battery life and a more solidly built case.

The A730W runs Windows Mobile 2003 on a 520MHz Intel XScale processor and sports a large, attractive 640-by-480-pixel display that you can set in portrait or landscape mode. The controls and hard buttons on the unit are easy to reach and comfortable, though the storage location for the stylus (sliding up into the bottom of the device) may annoy some users.

The MyPal includes a 1.3-megapixel digital camera that can capture pictures and short video clips, of a quality comparable to what you'd expect from a good camera phone. A built-in microphone lets you record voice memos, which you can play back over the included speaker or through the built-in headphone jack (headphones are not included). As with other Pocket PC PDAs, this collection of features combined with the built-in Wi-Fi connection makes the MyPal a potential VoIP phone, though it doesn't include VoIP software such as Skype.

With 64MB of ROM and 128MB of RAM, the A730W has just over 100MB of free storage with its default programs installed. You can use the SDIO and CompactFlash slots to expand the device's memory, and--with an included cable--the PDA can act as a USB host for offloading files from digital cameras.

Bluetooth and 802.11b Wi-Fi keep the MyPal connected, though the device gets fewer than 3 hours of battery life with Wi-Fi active. The package comes with an extra removable, rechargeable battery to let you boost your running time between charges; but the included docking cradle can't charge the extra battery outside of the PDA, making recharging both batteries time-consuming.

Changing batteries points out another problem with the MyPal: Its flimsy back cover is cumbersome to remove--not what you'd expect from a $500-plus device.

Aside from low battery life and a cheap-feeling back cover, Asus's pricey A730W has all the features you could want in a PDA.

Eric Dahl

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At a Glance
  • Asus MyPal A730W PDA (520MHz, 128MB, SDIO/CF Card, Pocket PC 2003)

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