Building on the business-centric A716, Asus is back with the MyPal A730. The company supercharges this model with a 520MHz processor, an integrated camera, Bluetooth and a VGA screen. But because the A730 doesn't match the performance of the best PDAs we've tested, lacks integrated Wi-Fi, and carries the relatively high price tag of £325, users will better meet their needs with products such as the Dell Axim X30 and the HP iPaq hx4700.
The Asus MyPal A730 is more stylish than its predecessor, the A716. The dark-gray bezel that surrounds the 94mm (3.7-inch), 640x480-pixel VGA screen contrasts nicely with the silver-plastic back cover, and the A730's smooth, rounded edges provide a comfortable grip. Asus has also trimmed the device down to a more compact 73 by 118 by 17mm. Despite weighing a relatively hefty 170g, the PDA doesn't feel particularly heavy, thanks to its having a plastic back cover rather than a sturdier aluminium frame.
Below the screen are the navigational toggle and four programmable application buttons that default to the usual functions: Today, Calendar, Contacts, and To-Do. Serious gamers, however, will want to steer clear of this model because of the raised Select button in the centre of the toggle, which we frequently pressed by accident while trying to navigate up or down.
On the left side below the power control is a button marked with a camera icon. Strangely, our review unit arrived with that button programmed to operate the voice recorder. This proved an insignificant problem, though, because the button was easy to reprogram. Along the top of the device are the headphone jack, the IR port, and a slot for CompactFlash and SDIO/MMC expansion cards. The back of the handheld houses a speaker, a camera lens and a small mirror for self-portraits. The A730 features a 1,100mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which users can replace by sliding off the back cover.
We had one major gripe about the A730's design. The stylus resides in a slot on the bottom of the handheld, which proved both inconvenient and unnatural. We often used the device when it was in the cradle, but to get at the stylus, we first needed to lift up the PDA. As a consolation, a stylus holder is built into the cradle. Aside from the desktop synchronisation cradle, other extras in the box include a travel charger and a protective case.