The processor and memory allocation are also disappointing. The better PDA phones, such as HTC's brilliant P4550, come with a 400MHz processor but the P526's CPU is half the speed at 200MHz. Most of the time, this difference isn't noticeable but the phone does take a while to start up from cold and occasionally, while launching applications and flipping from one screen to another, that pesky 'egg-timer' occasionally shows its ugly face. If you want more than the meagre 128MB of flash memory on offer (around 48MB free after a couple of day's use) for storing photos, video and music, you'll have to add your own microSD card. And transferring media files is tedious thanks to the slow USB 1.1 connection.
Battery life is okay but nothing to write home about. I managed to get around one-and-a-half to two days of low-intensity use from the P526's 1300mAh lithium ion battery, which isn't as good as, for example, the HTC P4550, which will go for two to three days on the same sort of load. And bear in mind, if you want to employ the P526 as an MP3 player, that figure will drop significantly. It's good to see that the bundled headset/headphones combo is better than average.
The Asus P526 ticks plenty of smartphone boxes. It runs on the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform, it's slim, and the design - while not iPhone sexy - is smart with some intelligent touches. You also get a decent GPS receiver for your money.
It may be worth a look if you want a number pad rather than a keyboard, but its basic specifications and battery life, however, bring things down to earth with a resounding bump. No 3G, Wi-Fi and a less-than-impressive processor put it out of contention for a place in our list of favourite smartphones, positioning it well behind the HTC P4550 in the smartphone pecking order.