A wide range of features in one efficient device
Quick and easy wireless connectivity
Keyboard can be difficult to type on
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You'll find a great collection of features in HP's new iPaq hw6915.
How does this list sound? GPS with navigation software, 1.3-megapixel camera, quadband GSM phone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, all built into a Windows Mobile device with a physical keyboard and a 76mm colour screen. Pretty much all of the current gadgetry, but the test of HP's iPaq hw6915 is not what it's got, but how all the bits integrate in one device.
Phone facilities are good, and you can use the device as a regular mobile, holding it up your ear, or with a Bluetooth headset. Bluetooth connection is almost effortless and the iPaq paired with various headsets without issue. It also picked up our wireless network and was onto the Internet immediately once we told it could use the link.
The camera is built into the back of the device and is easy to use - you simply press a button on the left-hand side, which doubles as a power button and shutter release. You frame your pictures with the iPaq held sideways and results are up to the quality of most camera phones.
Messaging comes down to how easily you can use the QWERTY keypad positioned underneath the display. We found it tricky to get at individual keys, and had to use thumbnails rather than thumbs, but perhaps we're just ham-fisted. You still have the on-screen keyboard and stylus as an alternative.
TomTom navigation software comes pre-installed on the device, with a map of primary routes covering the whole country at motoring navigation scale. You also get one detailed map to download into the iPaq; select the city you're interested in and the map covers an area of about 50 miles around it.
The GPS receiver is internal and there's no aerial to flip up or backpack to clip on. Under test, it appeared sensitive and pinpointed our position on the detailed map, even when switched on in a deeply rural area. Only 192MB of memory is provided, so you may need to add a Mini SD card if you use a lot of maps.
The design of the HP iPaq hw6915 is sound and most aspects work well. We're still unsure about the ergonomics of the button keyboard, but it's no worse than others of its breed. Otherwise, though, this PDA does well at integrating virtually all of the facilities you could want in a handheld device. Simon Williams