Targeted at a niche audience, this product is for users who require a computing device that can do much more than a typical business phone, without being as bulky as a laptop. People who want GPS units that go far beyond the ones that sit on your car’s dashboard will find the R2E very impressive as well.
The ASUS R2E is a handheld ultra mobile PC that is geared towards people on the move. An 800 MHz Intel processor powers the R2E. There is a gigabyte of RAM that powers Windows Vista Home Premium. Although it is supposed to be as portable as possible, the R2E is pretty thick but it weighs way less than most laptops at just 0.83 kg. With a brushed metal finish on the top, it looks pretty.
The touchscreen used is a 7-inch one, but it isn’t all that great in terms of colours or even viewing angles. The touch functionality works fine with the stylus. The touch-function isn’t very accurate if you use your fingers and is nowhere as good as, say, the iPod Touch. If the touchscreen doesn’t suit you, the joystick on the right can be used instead. The mouse click buttons are on the left side of the device. All the buttons are rather large and clunky to use.
An 800 MHz processor is slow, but works perfectly fine for general desktop applications such as MS Office. Don’t expect it to run high-definition video clips and run loads of applications without any stuttering. Vista by itself is a little sluggish on such a configuration. The 4200 RPM 100 GB hard drive is slow, but acceptable for most tasks.
There are many addons that you get along with the R2E. To compensate for the lack of a keyboard, an external USB keyboard is supplied. The foldable keyboard is still very difficult to use and nowhere as comfortable as even a laptop keyboard. The quality of the keyboard is decent, and when folded, is very portable. You also get a portable mouse.
An additional battery is supplied as well, which makes the R2E a little fatter but extends the battery-life. The speakers on the device are weak and don’t sound all that great. Like on other laptops, connectivity features such as WiFi and Bluetooth are present. A 1.3 MP webcam and even a fingerprint recogniser are built into it. An external DVD writer is supplied, as is a VGA patch-cable that allows the R2E to be hooked up to large screens.
One of the biggest issues with the R2E is the design. The body gets warm and because this is a device that is meant to be held in your hands most of the time, this can be very annoying. If things get out of control, the stand on the rear can be used to place it on a table.
The ASUS R2E could have run a version of Windows XP and been a lot more powerful. Still, Vista is well known for its handwriting and touch recognition features, which make it perfect for a product like this.