Asus – M930 review

clamshell Windows Mobile smartphone
Photo of Asus – M930
£387.75 (SIM-free)

There aren’t many Windows Mobile devices that take a clamshell approach to accommodating a keyboard. Where a keyboard is built in it tends to slide out of the device instead.

The clamshell approach makes for larger hardware, but it does mean that a better keyboard can be incorporated, and the one here is good. Its physical construction is solid and it is well sized. The QWERTY keys are 7mm square and there is a separate number row, a long space bar and plenty of shortcut keys for applications. There is also room for a proper navigation key.

It was comfortable to use the keyboard with the M930 held in both hands and tapped at with the thumbs, and it also worked well when sat on a desk.

As noted already, a downside is that the clamshell design makes this a large device. It is 132mm wide, 57mm tall and 20mm thick. It is heavy too, at 210g. So you are likely to need fairly large pockets to carry it around.

The other downside is that – to state the obvious – to get to the keyboard you have to open the clam. This is a little more unwieldy than sliding out a keyboard on other Windows Mobile devices, and when opened up the M930 is quite large.

The inner screen looks somewhat lost in its surroundings, measuring 2.6 inches across diagonal corners. Its 400 x 240 pixels are a little more than the 320 x 240 more usually found in Windows Mobile devices – and found on the front screen here – but the screen does not really take advantage of the space available.

With the clam closed the 2-inch front screen and number pad, Call and End keys, and shortcut keys look as you would find on a normal mobile phone. But the overall size of the M930 means that as an ordinary mobile phone it feels a bit unwieldy.

With 256MB of ROM, 64MB and a microSD card the memory quota is OK, and the M930 is a 3G device with HSDPA. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are both built in. There is a camera for making two-way video calls but it is inside the clamshell, which could prove rather inconvenient at times. There is a second camera with 2-megapixel capability on the back of the casing.

The M930 runs Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard, which means that neither inner nor outer screen is touch-sensitive. But on a final positive note, the battery life proved to be very good.

Company: Asus

Contact: 0870 120 8340


Verdict
The M930 is a large device to carry around and the small inner screen and absence of a touch-screen both irritate. On the other hand, HSDPA, WI-Fi, Bluetooth, good battery life and that excellent keyboard all stand in its favour.