After the Mypal A600 PDA: Does Asus' Mypal A620 Represent a Worthy Encore?

The New And The Good

For its operating system, Asus has chosen the new windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC, which - unlike the previous OS version, Pocket PC 2002 - has been optimized for XScale processors. Programs that utilize the special features of this operating system run considerably faster on newer PDAs. There have also been a number of enhancements, which we reported on here .

The first PDA from Asus, the Mypal A600, was not exactly known for its keen pricing. In order to achieve an interesting price point with the Mypal A620 while at the same time improving performance, Asus has been obliged to make savings in a number of areas. The high quality metal case has gone, for example, as has the jog-dial. In place of the expensive Li-Polymer battery, Asus employs Li-Ion technology, albeit with a higher capacity (+100mAh). Adding more memory to the Mypal A620, or adding more features or functions (e.g. WLAN, BT, camera), is now done via the built-in CF card slot. As a reminder, the Mypal A600 is fitted with both an SD card slot and an (optional) CF card adapter.

Interesting detail improvement: the loudspeaker is no longer hidden inside the navigation key like its predecessor - it now squawks at the user from below the two hot keys on the right of the unit.

The Tried And Tested

The wide range of CPU adjustment options we have come to expect from Asus has been increased. The user can tweak both the power consumption and the performance of the Xscale processor.

Typical Asus: A wide choice of CPU settings

There are a total of four CPU speed settings - Turbo, Normal, Power Saving and Automatic modes, compared with only three for the Mypal A600. In Normal mode, the CPU runs at 200MHz; in Power Saver mode, it drops to as low as 100MHz to conserve battery power. The Advanced Performance Enhancement option improves system performance by enhancing the performance of the cache.

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