Asus R2H Very Early Impressions

So, did you ever have one of those new gadget experiences where it arrived, and you were thrilled, and yet life and work kept you from really getting to play with it. That’s my case. I’ve barely had enough time to do anything much with my new Asus R2H as I’m busy getting ready to head out for several weeks of travel as well as the Christmas Holiday, along with the rigors of work.

So, I’ll share a few early impressions. First and foremost, those who’ve been excited by this UMPC have every reason to be. It is a sweet little device nicely constructed and looks to fill the “companion device” role I’ve assigned it well. I’ll give a shout out to GBM’s own Matt Faulkner for his great Inkshows (here, here, and here) on the R2H, (and also answering some questions along the way), and Josh Bancroft for his excellent and voluminous coverage of the device. You won’t find much in the coverage of these two mobile warriors that I disagree with in the early going. It is also great to be so prepared going in.


That said, I’ve got a few niggles that make me ask questions and these aren’t necessarily related to Asus or the R2H.

  • The Windows Update procedure takes seemingly forever (cutting down a lot of time I had last night to work with the device). 49 updates is getting to the point of ridiculousness. I know Microsoft has been busy with Vista, but you’d think there would be a roll up or some other way to get your system up to date that doesn’t take forever. (The IE7 release sure seemed like an ideal time for that now didn’t it?) But can you imagine having to wade through that process on Christmas morning? Almost like getting the new bicycle in parts and saying assemble it yourself.
  • Why oh why oh why did Asus decide to go with Norton Internet Security? Norton products gum up the works on any machine, but here on this little Celeron I can’t wait to do a reinstall and jettison that resource hog. Let me say the performance is about what I would expect with Norton and all of the Asus utilities loaded and it isn’t horrible. But I’m sure some tweaking after a clean install will help things tremendously.
  • It is a little confusing to get connected to a network via WiFi because you initially have two competing utilities asking to help you to connect. Windows Zero Config pops up that it has detected networks but if you try to use it to connect it tells you Windows Zero Configuration is disabled. Of course Asus’ wireless utility is also present and has taken over. I knew this going in and new what to look for. I just think this could be cleaner to avoid confusion.
  • Those who have complained or questioned the fact that some setup or operating screens for some utilities don’t work in the native resolution (800×480) are correct. It is frustrating.

Some interesting observations:

  • The unit I received came with the 4 Cell Double Capacity Battery with a stand. I’ll call that a bonus.
  • Folks have talked about the sophisticated and slick packaging. They are right. Really nice. And while it doesn’t have any impact on how you use the machine, it sure goes a long way to making a great impression.
  • I kicked on the GPS system with the included Streets and Trips software this morning and it performed flawlessly. (Although I’d have loved it to have gotten me lost on the way to work today.)
  • I haven’t run into any major vectoring or registration issues beyond what I expected and that is mostly when an errant fingernail hits the screen below where I’m holding the stylus. It is easy to create a vectoring issue if you aren’t paying attention, but not as easy as I’ve experienced on other UMPCs. (Samsung Q1, TabletKiosk eo)
  • Touch seems to work well and as advertised and I do need to use my fingernail to operate touch effectively.

The reality here is I won’t get much time to really get to dig deep with the R2H until the weekend and I’m looking forward to that. But, I have to say, that niggles aside, it sure feels like the right choice at the moment.