R50a tested by Hispazone

Posted on 10 October 2008 by

Answering some of the unanswered questions about the R50a, a new tablet-style ultra mobile PC from ASUS, is a review by the Spanish-language website Hispazone. Take a look at the article translation for a good 5-page run-down but don’t miss these points.

  • r50a 3.5 hours with connectivity options switched on.
  • Max 50MB/s read speed on ssd. 20MB/s write.
  • 3G, GPS, Fingerprint reader included.
  • Included foldable USB keyboard.
  • SDHC support (micro)
  • No ethernet port.
  • VGA out via adaptor.
  • Origami Experience 2.0.

Its great to see ASUS still pushing forward with the mid-range UMPCs and moving on from the mediocre R2H and R2E products with high-end features and a slick design but it’s so sad to watch them avoiding the low-cost route. According to my sources, you’ll be paying around 1000 Euros for this which, in the current climate of belt-tightening, may not even appeal to the pro-mobile customers that are being targeted.

R50a datasheet.

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16 Comments For This Post

  1. PlacidoDomenech says:

    I hope OQO 03 to see what real UMPC is better.

  2. focus says:

    1300 euro?this is bad ,realy bad!

  3. PlacidoDomenech says:

    I think this type of UMPC must cost less than 1.000 dolars, more with low cost MIDs / Netbooks in the market etc. I am agreed with focus :)

  4. Not Impressed says:


    29mm thick, huh ? Is there some compartment built-in for storing your mobile phone or something ?

    Every time you post one of these I rack my brains trying to figure out how a small LCD screen and a wireless chip can require more than 9mm thickness.

    It’s really just laughable how thick these devices are. R50a – another device rendered completely irrelevant due to thickness.

  5. JP says:

    Humm, I guess there is a hard drive, a battery (a big one, as UMPC are so power-hungry), a CPU with a chipset and all that (not a SoC), the way to cool all this power-hungry system and finally expansion slots (for the memory, for the Wifi card, for the 3G…)!

    To summarize, today’s UMPC and MID are necessarily that thick.

    If you want something slim, start by forgetting x86 compatibility (oh, and of course you forget Windows) and you use some system that is less power-hungry, thus removing the need of the big cooling system and enabling to fit a smaller battery. To go further you then forget the tons of memory storage provided by the HDD to use some small capacity SSD that would fit on the PCB. Finally integrate Wifi, 3G and memory so that you can remove the expansion slots.

    So in the end what you got? Well something like the “Internet tablet” of Nokia or the HTC Advantage.

  6. JP says:

    I would add than, in the end, what I have just described is much more a smartphone with a bigger screen and phone capability removed (it is basically what are Nokia Internet Tablets and the HTC Advantage), while a UMPC/MID is an ultra-miniaturized PC.

    Today both worlds are getting closer and closer in size but x86 compatibility is still a gigantic wall in-between:
    * This is basically why you would want an UMPC/MID: because it enables you to run the OS and apps you’re used to/you need too. When you’re into business and that it is mandatory to run a software that is closed-source and that only run on x86, what else can you do?
    * It is much more easier to design power-efficient systems when you’re not confined in supporting x86-compatibility. Look at the latest ARM OMAP3, it’s amazingly powerful–I wonder how it scales to Intel’s Atom. But it’s clearly much, much more power-efficient than Atom.

    So unless you don’t need x86-compatibility, you can’t compare those two different product categories.

  7. Phil UK says:

    Steve, talking of the HTC Advantage… I have one, and find it infinitely more practical, portable and useful [with carefully chosen extra apps and accessories] than my TabletKiosk EO i7210 [XP] and my OQO e2 [Vista]. Yes, I use all of them, but it’s the Advantage which does 80% of the work. Why do you guys not give it a bit more attention?


  8. zorg says:

    PhilUK: I almost got an HTC Advantage instead of the iPhone 3G, but one of its main advantages, VGA out, is allegedly compromised by low resolution according user experiences I read. Also, posters at XDA-Developers suggest that it takes an awful lot of tweaking to really get the full benefits. Are you a tweaker? Do you find the VGA out useful as is? If so, what kinds of usage do you give it?

  9. Phil UK says:

    Zorg: I’ve used the VGA out a few times – with an 18″ monitor. I had [or noticed] no problems, but I was only using SoftMaker Office apps. and similar. No problems with video, despite things I’ve read. I also use the device with a Celio Redfly and it works very well. My wife’s Orbit 2 does NOT work very well with the Redfly!

    I should tell you that I’m using the latest model Advantage X7510 [WM6.1]. I had the previous model [WM5] since it was first released. Loved it. I don’t use the keyboard… Piel Frama made me a case which works without the keyboard, so I leave it behind. Lighter and more compact. I have a bluetooth Stowaway Sierra folding keyboard and mouse. I use an LG bluetooth pen phone rather than a bluetooth headset/earpiece. But Motorola bluetooth stereo phones for music. I’m not really a tweaker, but I’ll give you a list of the [too many] additional apps I use, some of them for a bit of minor tweaking, some to improve the experience:

    Kaisoft Outlook Cleaner
    Kaisoft shortcut cleaner
    SoftMaker Office
    Spb Traveler
    Trip Tracker
    Airscanner Encryptor
    Contact Search
    CopyText Pro
    Expense Manager
    FluidPDF Vprint
    iGate Password
    IM+ for Skype
    Mobile Archiver
    K-Metronome [musician!]
    Live Search
    Google Maps
    MobiLearn Talking Phrasebooks
    MS Dict Oxford Thesaurus
    Resco File Explorer
    Spb Backup
    Spb Mobile DVD
    Spb Wallet
    Stowaway keyboard and mouse
    The Pad
    Conduits Timekeeper
    Tube 2 [London, Paris, Boston etc etc]
    Ultimate Theft Alert
    Virtual Recorder
    WM Storage
    WorldMate Live
    PocketTools 2
    Pocket Artist
    Space Reclaimer
    Pocket Mechanic
    Priority Pass
    Ebooks [various]PhatPad

    Does that lot pigeon-hole me???


  10. Not Impressed says:

    So I can forget Windows if I want something thinner than (insert UNGODLY circa 1998 thickness here…)

    You say that as if it’s a negative thing ? x86 compatibility … and you need this for … your browser ? Last I checked you can compile Firefox for just about every mips/cisc/risc/sparc/blah chip in the world.

    Bottom line: all I want is some 7 or 9″ diagonal screen that has wifi and a web browser. Something that weighs about 1.5 lbs and is as thick as a mobile phone. Something I can pick up with one hand while reading a book and do a quick wikipedia reference check on.

    Apparently I will need to wait around until Apple decides to make it for me…

  11. Sarig says:

    Oh yay, flame-bait.

  12. Vakeros says:

    I understood the OQO is only 25mm thick. The Advantage without keyboard is 16mm – with is 20.75mm.
    Using the known size of existing x86 components you could easily get one into 20mm. You should in thoery be able to fit it into 15mm if you don’t have a HDD or square (cuboid) battery. It needs good design and good engineering which costs more.
    I think about 20mm is the optimum thickness otherwise it becomes too thin and nothing to hold onto. Weight can also be dropped to 500 – 600 grammes.
    The UMPC isn’t meant to directly compete with the Pocket PC (smartphone) whereas a MID is in that same bracket.

  13. Not Impressed says:

    No, it’s not flame bait. Honest to god, I am _baffled_ as to why the slate PC form factor has simply dropped off the face of the earth.

    The only slates currently available are full x86 computers that weigh 3+ lbs and are monstrously huge and thick. (motioncomputing.com)

    The reason i keep coming to this website is that I keep hoping that “today will be the day” that someone will simply produce some 8 or 9mm thick web browsing screen that is 7-9 inches diagonal and does nothing but let me browse over wifi and cell. No GPS, no USB ports, no hard drives.

    Like I said, I guess we just have to wait for apple to build it (which sucks).

  14. chippy says:

    8 or 9mm thick. Possible, just, with some ARM-based technology. You’re probably interested in the Techcrunch tablet project?

  15. JP says:

    Well yes I guess that the Techcrunch Tablet is exactly what “Not Impressed” is looking for. Interesting to see that the whole concept of the thing is “Damn, why nobody wants to design it? Whatever, let’s do it ourselves!” :-)

    I like the idea, though. If some company ends manufacturing and distributing it for a cheap price, I may take one. Hey, I guess that everybody could take one if the price is cheap enough :-P But don’t count me in if they only expect to release open build plans and I shall build one myself… ;-)

    Chippy, by the way, what are you thinking of x86-compatibility when speaking of MID? Intel’s definition of MID clearly includes x86-compatibility while all the typical usage scenarios of MID’s clearly do not. Is that just a clash of definitions?

  16. Goldmünzen says:

    Hey! I like your post “sted by Hispazone | UMPCPortal – The Mobile Internet and Computing Reference Site” so well that I like to ask you whether I should translate and linking back. Please give me an answer. Your Goldmünzen

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