Asus R50A UMPC unboxing and first impressions

Updated on 11 November 2019 by

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Dynamism kindly provided us with an Asus R50A [Portal page] to take a look at. It is a slate ultra mobile PC with a 32GB SSD, 5.6″ screen, 1GB of RAM, 3G connectivity, and the less power hungry 1.3GHz Z520 Atom CPU. Will the R50A cut it as a quality UMPC? You’ll have to wait for the full review to find out. For now have a look at the unboxing below and read some initial impressions.

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First Impressions

The Asus R50A manages to be true to at least half of its “Rock Solid – Heart Touching” slogan. The R50A feels solid in the hands and it is fairly well made. The 32GB SSD helps reaffirm that this unit is designed to be mobile in and in the user’s hands. The joystick mouse doesn’t move like that of an video game controller, instead it moves like the stick on a PSP, it moves left and right while staying on the same plane, as opposed to actually tilting from one side to another. Even after much practice with the thumb stick on my VAIO UX180, this thing will take some getting used to. This is the first slate ultra mobile PC that I have used, so it is a new experience for me; having to do my regular computing tasks without a keyboard. Going through Vista’s handwriting recognition training makes the recognition pretty darn accurate. The screen isn’t too smooth to write on unfortunately, and the stylus is small… too small for a ultra mobile PC that doesn’t have a keyboard.

Right out of the box, Vista is causing some serious issues. Right now I’m running the unit with the lowest possible graphical settings from Vista, and performance is still pretty bad. Vista is really obviously going to be a major bane to this otherwise good piece of hardware. I’ll see if there is any hope of putting another OS on it.

Any questions? Drop a line in the comments, I’ll try to answer them here or follow up with answers in the full review coming in a few weeks.

16 Comments For This Post

  1. Sarig says:

    It looks terrific! :)

  2. saperalot says:

    nice box and nice device but how is the weight of it? i think too that vista is a overkill for that device may xp is better but whats about drivers for xp? i think when the touchscreen and the pen is good i dont need a joystick mouse on such device but inbuild keyboard like the mid have is needed than.

  3. Jack says:

    Finally! and yes, I have questions.

    How long to wake up from standby?

    Will GPS work without external antenna?

    How is the Divx video playback? Smooth? Choppy?

    How much room is left on the 32GB SSD out of the box?

  4. zorro says:

    Hello Ben,

    Whcih 3G module is inside it?
    Any news on availability?

  5. Ben says:

    I’m pretty sure that the 3G is HSDPA, there is a SIM card slot under the battery.

    The R50A is available from http://www.Dynamism.com.

  6. lintweaker says:

    I’ve been using this device for a couple of weeks now. The battery life is quite good (compared to my netbook). The 32GB flash fills up pretty quick though, certainly after installing the provided Asus navigation software. I have not tried playing videos yet.
    For run I also tried running Linux (booting from USB), it works pretty well so far.

  7. mz says:

    I’m in the same situation. I installed ubuntu 8.10, but I noticed incompatibilities with the integrated wireless device (it was recognized and was able to scan, but caused a complete freeze on first connection). Did you have the same problem?

    What about screen resolution? With ubuntu I reached 800×600 max, not 1024×600…

    michele

  8. lintweaker says:

    Yep, I have the same problems (unfortunately). There is no current driver for the poulsbo graphics device so we’re stuck with 800×600 using the VESA driver :(. I already filed a bug on the wireless hang (fedora bugzilla) so far no progress…

    BTW wireless works for me if I start the network manually using wpa_supplicant followed by the manual dhclient eth0. When I use NetworkManager it freezes after the connection is complete.

  9. Corrupted Mind says:

    I have very many questions – to put my questions in context – I can get an Asus R50a for around £799 which matches up reasonably well with my second option which is an Aigo/Everun note 1-2 punch – but does it beat it?

    Start-up time (approx) – I prefer a usable start up time.
    Shut down time
    Standby – restart times.
    Actual weight – exc and inc peripherals (I’m a cyclist so this matters)
    Real world ‘surfing only’ battery life
    Real world ‘microsoft office; battery life
    Real world ‘DivX media’ only battery life
    How long to recharge battery?
    How hot does it get?
    Is fan noise intrusive?

    Observations on typing documents in word – how usable is the screen? (I’ll be moving from a 7” Q1)

    Quality of speakers? (Basically do they beat the Q1 – I expect they beat the Aigo and Evernote)

    How comfortable to use one handed (inking) or watching media two handed for over an hour?

    How comfortable reading ebooks?

  10. zxz says:

    outdated design… no KB….

    it may be rock solid but not touching my heart…

    MID or UMPC ? i rly cant tell….

    M528/Aigo all the way !!!

  11. alfa says:

    Good evening!
    1. Can i work on R50A without stylus, at least browsing the internet? Is it as easy to browse as on iPhone?
    2. What is the time of stanby live?

  12. Ben says:

    Browsing is definitely not as easy on the R50A as on the iPhone, but of course it can render more advanced pages and such. You would not be able to use the R50A realistically with no stylus, there is no keyboard, and an OSK would not cut it for practical use.

  13. Sull says:

    Look at your UX so proud.. How long has it been kicking now?

  14. Ben says:

    Its gotta be nearly 3 years now. I can’t believe they didn’t keep the hardware platform but make a few design changes (keyboard). The UX is an amazing machine.

  15. gunnar-eee says:

    If it can (sort of) run Vista then no problem getting other stuff to work (XP/Ubuntu)

  16. Sam says:

    Way too pricey in my opinion.

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