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Asus R2H Ultra Mobile PC Unboxing and Hardware Review, with 162 photos

This is going to be a long post – you’ve been warned. ๐Ÿ™‚

As most of you know, I recently ordered two Asus R2H Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPC). I did a 34 minute video of the Unboxing Ceremony of the first one, which was very popular (it’s been viewed 1072 times so far). After that I dove into playing with and customizing the R2H, and because I’ve been busy with that, I’ve been kind of quiet here on the blog.

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I have a ton of stuff to post about the R2H – it’s an incredible device. There are several videos I want to do, including one documenting running Windows Vista RTM on it (what I’ve been busy with for the last few days). But here’s something I want to share now, to whet your appetites for more R2H info. ๐Ÿ™‚

The second R2H I ordered is destined to be used by the sales staff of my brother’s company, Wright-Way Moving and Storage, in Seattle. Since I shot video of the first Unboxing Ceremony, I took photos of the second one, as well as literally every square inch of the hardware and accessories. By the time I was done, I had a photoset with 162 photos in it. Those thirsty for details on the R2H hardware and packaging, I think you’ll be satisfied.

You can view the whole photoset in this photo album on TinyScreenfuls.com – created with the awesome Flickr Photo Album WordPress plugin. Here are some highlights of the Unboxing and handsome hardware of (in my opinion) the best Ultra Mobile PC currently on the market. Remember, there are 162 photos in total, these are only some highlights:

 

The R2Hs arrived extremely well packaged from the folks at ProPortable.com (affiliate link). They were so impressed with the video unboxing I did that they restarted their affiliate program just for me. I don’t even know what the terms of the affiliate program are, but I’m super impressed with ProPortable (including Justin, the CEO, and Sean in Sales), and if you need any Asus laptop hardware or accessories, check them out, and tell them Josh from TinyScreenfuls sent you. ๐Ÿ™‚

The two R2Hs, in their boxes, stacked. So much mobile gadgety goodness in one place! ๐Ÿ™‚

Opening the box, with the Quick Installation Guide. Detailed shots of each page of the Quick Installation Guide are available in the full photoset.

The two interior boxes – the larger white one contains the accessories, CDs/DVDs, and manuals. The smaller grey box holds the R2H itself.

The accessory box, hinged open like the older Apple iPod packaging (3G, at least).

Cables and battery on the left, CDs, manual, mouse, and AC adapter on the right.

The accessories that come with the Asus R2H UMPC – AC adapter, double-capacity 4 cell battery, stand, multi-port to VGA cable, USB mini-A to USB adapter, EasySync cable with transfer software, Asus-branded Logitech USB optical mouse with cord storage.

The AC adapter, which outputs a somewhat unusual 12 volts, 3 amps. The connector appears to be standard to Asus laptops, so you shouldn’t have too hard a time finding an adapter tip for a 3rd party charging solution.

The included stand, which folds (mostly) flat. Not too rugged, but it does the job.

The stand, folded.

The Asus-branded Logitech USB optical mouse with wrapping cord storage.

The proprietary “multi-port” to VGA adapter cable, for connecting to an external monitor or projector. The “multi-port” connector on the R2H is also used for the PortBar docking station accessory, shown in the manual (photos later in the set), and slated to be available in December 2006.

The USB 2.0 “EasySync” cable. This is an interesting little cable – the “fat” end contains 470KB of read-only Flash memory, which auto-runs a Windows program called EasySync. When plugged into two computers, EasySync lets you copy/move files between the two computers at USB 2.0 speed – 480 Mbps. A nice, convenient way to get files on to or off of the R2H. The software works in Windows XP as well as Vista (probably doen’t work on a Mac, but I haven’t tested that yet).

It’s pre-installed, but it’s nice to have the install CDs for Microsoft Streets and Trips 2006. It would have been nice to have the 2007 version, which is supposed to have a much-improved interface for mobile devices like the UMPC, but it’s understandable that they couldn’t get that one in time.

The driver and utility CD. All the drivers and software are also available, for the most part, on the Asus website.

The Asus recovery DVD, with Windows XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition. Not a full installer, but nice to have the ability to recover from separate media, rather than

Standard

88 thoughts on “Asus R2H Ultra Mobile PC Unboxing and Hardware Review, with 162 photos

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  12. Dan D. says:

    Great review, John, thanks for that! I’ve ordered the R2H from Proportable recently as well, and I’m so excited to get my hands on it.

    On the webcam testing, you should be able to use even Paint Brush to take a picture – see menu File -> From Scanner or Camera…

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  16. Nice Review!

    I just got my R2H and the only glitch was that I couldn’t get it powered up – the power switch appeared not to work. I finally realized the “Hold” switch was engaged so the power switch did not work… must have inadvertently moved it over while fussing with the battery installation.

    I’d like to hear more about the GPS. There is something weird about it, as it takes a while for Streets and Trips to recognize it outdoors and it seems to disappear every few minutes. Also, other software (I’ve tried two GIS packages) doesn’t seem to see it even when COM2 is manually specified.

    My hypothesis is that for power-saving reasons the GPS is not always on and that software which uses it must somehow engage it. GPS devices are normally always on and emitting a constant stream of NMEA sentences to the serial port. You can connect with hyperterminal to the COM port used and see the stream. Not so (apparently) with the ASUS.

    Anyone know the secret handshake? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Regards,

    Dimitri

  17. adam says:

    just got mine… a few slight differences between my model and yours:

    The battery pack is different, mine is square and doesnt cover the pen slot

    I got the black stand delivered too, but my r2h has a stand built into the back

    glad to send you some photos of the differences if you need em ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. marcus bennett says:

    Okay this is going to be an equally long reply. My comments reflect my experiences with Vista and the R2H

    After much troubled ordering my ASUS R2H recently arrived. Living in Switzerland I was suprised to receive a German version with German USB keyboard. I speak no german and just makedo french. I was hoping for a French install and keyboard or preferably an US one. After 2 hours of fumbling trying to finish the German installation (supplier says tough not their problem) I decided to install VISTA RC2 Ultimate as a base platform for operation.

    My experiences so far are not entrely positive. Hopefully my comments will help others and they can help me with some answers to my questions.

    Under VISTA bison cam is recognised by Vista and even comes with a Winodws Update patch. However no application seems to support it. MSN Messenger HANGS and Skype Beta with Video configuration panel is blank. Anybody better experiences?

    The buttons supported by Vista seem good but not perfect. What did not work for me is: Wireless switching WiFi/Bluetooth does nothing. Also the bottom left and right buttons i.e. the ones below the Dpad on the left and the down cursor on the right just dont work.

    Aligning the touchpad on Vista goes horribly wrong. You have to open a CMD window and do a tabcal novaldiate command to stop the onscreen keyboard intefering with the calibration.

    I installed one of more of the ASUS supplied packages and now the Fingerprint reader works fine and I can use this to signon to Windows either on power up or resume.

    Got the Wfii working by installing the ASUS WiFi XP software (whch fails) but then going into Device Manager and selecting the directory where the software got installed to and updating it from there.

    NOT working is also driving of a secondary screen via the VGA cable. If powered on the BIOS screen shows up on my external monitor as does the Vista (KIT moving horizontal stroble) startup bar. But then when it comes to logon, the screen is back on the tablet and nothing I can do can transfer it to the external screen.

    NOT working is the GPS. The support is Microsoft Autoroute 2006. Once Autoroute is installed you ask it to scan for COM ports. I have a COM1 showing up from device manager and nothing else. All web reports say that it shows up as COM2 but I definitely only have COM1. Vista device manager does not show any unknown devices so please XP users do you 2 COM ports? send me a screenshot? Some users report that the GPS may not start correctly under battery power so I have tried battery power from startup to test as well as mains power. Still nothing. Any information from anybody on how it works on XP might save me time.

    Overall impressions: Well I have to try and clear from my mind the annoyance of not having a full time keyboard a la trust but now too slow Sony C1X (which by the way was about the same size, better battery life,had a keboard and camera and a PCMCIA slot and was bought in 2000).

    So it is currently running at 3/10.

    POSITIVE: The Wifi works at it is fine to use it as a surfing tablet. Major apps install without any compatibility problems. It has got an SD slot fine for transferring photos whilst on holiday. Plenty of USB ports to allow conection of a keyboard and other devices. VLC player works fine and .avi movies can be played from the tecnically slower SD card directly (i.e. without copy to HD)

    VISTA NOT WORKING: The 2 buttons on the front face, the GPS, screen calibration dodgy

    NEGATIVE:Despite running with 768MB or RAM Vista takes several minutes to start. The battery life is under 2 hours. Under Vista the screen resolution is set to 800×480 and if you change it to 1024×800 you can actually not see all of the screen. IE one might expect the screen to hardware pan its 800×480 into the virtual windows 1024×800 but this does not happen!

    Words to ASUS: Considering the unit had Vista compatible on a sticy label as delivered then ASUS badly need to pull their finger out. They need at a minimum to say what utilities on the Supplied Driver Disk can be used in a Vista environment. Dome utilities e.g. Multiframe just crash under Vista, not too much to tell us what we definitely cannot use. NEXT they could start to work on Vista compatible utilities that do work under Vista to provide the same levels of functionality as for XP.

    Any updates or dialog feel free to send to marcus via request@majzel.com

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  20. Chris Cabatotan says:

    Hi,Im just wandering if the GPS for the asus is really working and for FREE!! I heard in some forum that ist not good and no success of connecting to the satelllite.

    Will it work in US only. Whichcountries does it support? Thanks. I plan of buying and im really intersted of buying one for me.

    How can you compare it with a SAMSUNG Q1? is it faster and better? hope you can have a video review soon.. thanks… I love you unboxing video…

  21. Dimitri-

    The GPS is controlled by the little “GPS_SWITCH.exe” application. By default, this is in the Program Launcher under GPS – every time I want to use the GPS, I have to launch that .exe, check the box to enable the GPS, and click Apply. It doesn’t seem to be a very “sticky” setting – I find that sometimes after suspending and waking the device up, it reverts back to an “off” state. I’d really like it to behave more consistently, or even have a hardware switch. Or even just stay on all the time, if it’s not too much of a power drain (I imagine it’s nowhere near as much of a battery killer as the Bluetooth or WiFi radios).

    The only GPS app I’ve really used much on the UMPC is iNav iGuidance. It seems to take a while to lock on to the satellites initially (which is normal), and once it’s going, I’ve never had it spontaneously lose connection, unless I enter a urban canyon or something.

    The sensitivity indoors isn’t all that impressive – I’d like to be able to get a lock on at least a few satellites when sitting inside right next to a large window, but I haven’t been able to. Works great outside, and in the car, though.

    Hope this helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  23. Emilio says:

    Is it true that GPS works only in USA? I bought R2H in Hungary but GPS is seems not working.Thanks for suggestions.

  24. No – the “G” in GPS stands for Global. Anywhere on the planet where you have a view of the sky, GPS should work.

    Make sure you’ve enabled the GPS receiver using the “GPS_SWITCH” application (find it in the GPS tab of the Program Launcher). Once the GPS is enabled, it will need 10 minutes or so with a clear view of the sky to acquire and lock on to enough satellites to know your position reliably.

  25. Ken says:

    I’m wondering how noisy this one is. from fan and hard disk. I’m looking for a umpc for a home recording. thanks. and great job!

  26. Oliver says:

    @GPS: No problems to use it in Germany. Even the navigation produces reasonable results. The first setup took a while but since then it takes 1 to 2 minutes until Auturoute shows the location. I had to use GPS_SWITCH only once and it worked ever since.

    @Noise level: the fan runs permanently but its sound is not annoying to me. There are several reviews, however, where the authors complain about the fan. I assume, there will only be subjectve judgements about being too loud or not.
    The harddisc is very silent.

    Cheers,
    Oliver

  27. Florin says:

    Great job with this presentation ! I am going to buy these days a R2H and I intend to upgrade the memory to 1.256 GB (that is to replace the 512 M module with a 1 GB module). I understood that it is a SODIMM standard module but at what frequency ?

    Thanks a lot,

    Florin

  28. Brian says:

    Love my R2H – great info on this site made me buy it (after seeing it in abundance in Hong Kong). Been trying to get the USB Easysync to work for transfer of files from my PC – does anyone know where there are precise instructions on the web? I do not even know which end to plug into the PC, apart from trying to work out how to use the softyware so am hopelessly lost!! Help is needed please!!!

  29. @Brian:

    Basically, you just plug each end into a Windows computer (I don’t think it matters which). The little EasySync program should autolaunch, and from there, it’s just a two pane view where you can drag files back and forth.

    The device only has about 470KB of Read Only memory on it, so you can’t actually put anything on the cable. But it’s handy to be able to zap stuff from one Windows PC to another at high speeds (assuming USB 2.0 on both ends).

    Hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. BerndS says:

    Wonderful device. Until I tried to connect an external monitor.
    Since that unsuccessful try the device screen will become black as soon as windows is starting. I could not yet find out with which key I can switch on the device display. Fn+F5 to Fn+F8 have no effect.
    Help would be very welcome.
    Bernd

  31. RaMpB says:

    Hi
    Can you install Quickbooks Pro on the R2H?

    Where do you buy a CDROM for this unit?

    Where can you buy an additional battery (longer life than the stock one)?

    Can Outlook on R2H sync with my desktop PCs Outlook using Bluetooth?

    Can you customize Mobile Theater?

    Can you use AIM on this unit?

    Thank you

  32. sli says:

    hi all!
    a got some problem, please help if you know…
    after turning on my r2h shows asus logo and windows is starting. After few seconds r2h restarts again and again…
    shit! I have no any usb keyboard, just standart cables. Do you know how i can fix that problem?!?

  33. Us says:

    Hi,
    imho worth a try if supports
    dual-channel DDR2 (Intelยฎ 910GML is capable) for future upgrade?
    ULV Pentium M?
    any USB-to-ExpressCard Adapter for 3G modem ?

  34. N. Kuil says:

    Greetings.
    I just got me a R2H to use it with my work all over the planet.
    I thank you all for the very help full tips and other commands.
    I got it working fine so far, not everything yet but i’ll get there.
    The only thing so far realy is that i find it rather slow but i hope it will increase speed with a larger memory bank.
    I read some reviews about installing a Linux system on it, any commands or sugestions on that.

    Thank’s to all and particular Josh for the time to do all this.

    N. Kuil the Netherlands

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  36. Jordan P says:

    I have the R2H with Win XP and it’s been working fine for everything I’ve wanted to use it for except the wireless. It consistently gives weak signals and drops connections very close the the wireless base. I know a lot of people have said to upgrade to Vista but that isn’t going to be an option for me at this point. Any other ideas that could get this corrected?

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