HP iPaq hw6515 Mobile Messenger
Review Just as the great unwashed now think that all MP3 players are called an iPod, so there was a time when all handheld devices were simply known as iPaqs. This must have annoyed most vendors, especially Palm, but HP was never heard to complain, writes Stephen Patrick.
Now, the company is attempting to do the same with the connected device. The HP iPaq hw6515 Mobile Messenger is only the second such handset the company has launched, and it's again opted to follow the Microsoft route, in this case Windows Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition 2003.
There are immediate advantages as well as problems with this: it's the older operating system, so it is a proven architecture, so HP doesn't need to develop and test from the ground up. This should make it reliable and also keep the cost down. That's why you'll find the same processing power and memory as you would in any mid-range to high-end iPaq, namely the 312MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor and 128MB of memory.
Sadly, it does mean that you're restricted to GSM/GPRS rather than 3G, support for which only comes with Windows Mobile 5.0. HP apparently has no immediate plans to port the device over to the new OS, so there is likely to be no change there for some time to come.
The device itself comes with a touch sensitive screen as well as a full QWERTY micro-keyboard. The small keys don't feel as robust as those on the similar-shaped Palm Treo 650 do. That said, the Messenger is wider, so it's actually more comfortable to use and you'll soon find yourself writing long emails on the device as well as reports.
When it comes to connectivity, the OS is fully compliant with all the leading email technologies, so you can set it up with Exchange server had have email pulled to the device, or you can opt to take the Blackberry route and have mail pushed straight to the device.
The screen is 3in in size and supports the standard 320 x 240 resolution, making for a bright and trouble free screen. You'll find a 1.3 megapixel camera built-in. Incidentally, if you're considering this device for your company but don't like the idea of a camera, HP is offering the hw6510, which has the same specification minus the camera.
Bluetooth and infrared come as standard but HP has chosen to leave Wi-Fi out. While this may seem a curious choice, we have to applaud a far more beneficial tool for the mobile traveller: GPS. This is the only telephony-enabled device that comes with GPS built-in as standard. And with no awkward antenna or aerial, you'll find that it's a benefit without a compromise.
The HP iPaq hw6515 Mobile Messenger may not be the best looking device on the market and as with all connected PDAs, there's a trade-off between the usability and the size of the unit. That said, it works well and the quality of the device isn't in question. We're just concerned that HP has taken the easy route and not really released a device to try and push the market forward, which results in a 'me too' kind of product. From an innovator of HP's league, 'me too' doesn't really fit the bill.
|HP iPaq hw6515|
|Pros||QWERTY keyboard; GPS built-in.|
|Cons||Poor battery life.|
|Price||£434 inc. VAT|
|More info||The iPaq hw6515 site|