After months of delay, the dual-wireless version of the Asus A730 is finally shipping. Besides adding WiFi, the A730W also adds 128 MB of RAM and a cradle to the standard package.
My first impression of the A730W is that it bears a striking resemblance to my X50v in shape and style. The resemblance is more a convergent evolution thing than anything else–Asus manufactures their own machines, rather than contracting with HTC as Dell does. The A730W is a bit shorter, and a bit thicker than the X50v, but overall there’s a very similar style at play.
The resemblance is mostly skin deep, though, and sometimes not even that. For one, the plastic casing of the A730W is lighter and a bit cheaper feeling than the rubberized and texturized case of the X50v. The A730W stylus slot loads from the bottom, its battery cover is the entire back casing, and its power button is over on the left side.
In other spots, however, you’d think that the X50v and the A730W were seperated at birth. For instance, the expansion slots and IR port on top of the A730W are an almost perfect mirror image of the ports on the X50v.
The A730W holds the same 520 MHz XScale processor as its elder sibling, along with a newly doubled 128 MB RAM, and a ‘standard’ 64 MB ROM, 1.3 megapixel digital camera, and USB Host, which allows you to plug selected USB peripherals into the A730W and use them.
The A730W comes with two standard 1100 mAh batteries in the box, presumably to counteract the relatively small size of the default battery. Unfortunately, somebody in the Cradle Design team forgot the second battery charging slot.
The 1.3 megapixel camera is, to put a point on it, useless. Anything short of direct sunlight is a black blob. I have a hell of a lot more to say on the subject, but I’ll save that for the full review, which will be forthcoming soon.