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HP iPaq h6340 Wi-Fi, GSM PocketPC

The ideal mobile companion?

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You can also choose to send SMS messages from here as well, which is pretty handy. To make your text messaging, and in fact your emailing easier, HP has also included a clip on keyboard in the box. The keyboard is a commendable bundled accessory, but I found it a little too small for comfortable use. All things considered, I think I'd rather compose my messages with the stylus, especially since the Pocket PC Transcriber can read my admittedly messy handwriting better than most humans.

HP iPaq 6340One aspect that I did find annoying in the communication functionality was the Inbox. I set up an email account so that I could download and reply to my work emails, and then set this account, aptly called Work, to be the default account. However, I discovered that if I sent an SMS message from the Phone program, when I later opened my Inbox, the account had changed to SMS. The result of this is that you end up having to constantly switch accounts if you're using the h6340 to send SMS and email. On the plus side though, just like with Internet Explorer, the Inbox program will choose the best available connectivity option when you're sending and receiving mail.

In the top right corner, above the screen you'll find the power button, as well as three indicator lights - one for GSM/GPRS, one for Bluetooth and one for Wi-Fi. When the adaptors are off these lights remain dark, but when you enable each one, they flash, to remind you that the corresponding feature is activated. Above the screen in the centre is the infrared port, which gives you a fourth wireless connectivity option. I have to say that I was a little disappointed to find that HP had not included the Nevo remote control software on the h6340. This is a little program that allows you to use a Pocket PC as a universal remote, for pretty much any piece of consumer electronics equipment. It's a great little feature, and one that I have used on many occasions with my own iPaq.

On the left hand side you'll find a headphone socket covered with a rubber bung, and a shortcut button to the voice recorder function. The latter can be programmed to be used with a different application if you prefer. On the right there are + and - buttons for the system volume, and the SD IO slot. The stylus slides into the top right corner at the rear, and is of the usual high-quality that I've come to expect from iPaq styli.

At the rear is the removable battery, behind which sits the GSM/GPRS SIM card. There's also a sliding lock that holds the battery in place - if the switch isn't in the locked position, the iPaq will refuse to power on.

HP iPaq 6340In the box you get the iPaq itself, the aforementioned keyboard, a power adaptor, a carrying case and a docking cradle. I'm a big fan of docking cradles and I just can't understand why PalmOne no longer bundles them with its PDAs, especially since Palm Pilots were the devices that introduced them in the first place. The cradle supplied with the h6340 is a good one - as well as having a space for the iPaq there's also a slot to charge a second battery simultaneously. The USB cable is hard wired into the cradle, while a power socked is also in evidence for the power supply to plug into - the iPaq can charge over USB, but it will charge more quickly using the power supply. If you want to charge the h6340 without the docking cradle, there's also an adapter in the box for this purpose - the adapter allows the power supply to plug into the connector at the base of the iPaq.

So, is the iPaq h6340 the perfect mobile companion? Well, not quite, but it's very nearly there. The lack of voice dialling is a major disappointment, since I don't want to be taking a device this size out of my bag every time I want to make a call. Also, the annoying account switching if you're a regular user of both SMS and email really shouldn't happen.

But despite all the issues and niggles, the h6340 is still the closest thing I've seen to a pocket size device that can serve all your mobile needs. And with a retail price of £458 including VAT, it's decent value as well. If you're thinking that's a lot for a PDA, don't forget that the h6340 is also a quad-band mobile phone, and if you want to buy one of the latest mobile phones without a contract, you'll probably end up paying a few hundred pounds for the privilege. No, the iPaq h6340 isn't perfect, but it's close enough to win my recommendation.

Verdict

If you want a pocket-sized companion that can do pretty much everything, you should take a long hard look at the iPaq h6340. It may not have the fastest CPU or the most memory, but it is a cracking little PDA, with more connection options than London Underground.

HP iPaq 6340
 
Rating 90%
 
Price £458 inc. VAT
 
More info The HP website

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