A Navigating Smarty
"...a well conceived Smartphone that's worthy of a USD$725 price tag."
Staying up to date with the latest information and being contactable wherever you are is all the rage these days and the latest product to peddle these conveniences is the HP iPAQ hw6515. Running within its 21mm thick housing is a Quad band GSM radio (850/900/1800/1900) that supports both GPRS and EDGE, thereby ensuring steady connection for telephony communications and information exchange regardless of geographic location. Speaking of geographic locations, the hw6515 Smartphone comes integrated with a GPS receiver for satellite navigation, which basically means the unit can be transformed into your personal navigator. Upon a healthy GPS connection, the bundled MapKing software can be called into action to not just pinpoint your exact location, but also direct you to your destination quickly and effectively. However, due to the high power requirements of GPS, it's recommended to have a secondary battery on standby so as not to have your workday brought to an abrupt halt.
Another notable software that's bundled is GoodLink Pushmail. This service provider independent software involves fewer hurdles to function than BlackBerry and provides an Outlook-like interface to keep learning curve down to a minimum.
At the helm of all things visual is a 3.0-inch 65k color touch screen with a resolution that stands at 240 x 240 pixels, making it the first Smartphone of its kind to feature a square LCD. The screen doesn't lack brightness but color saturation could have fared better with more vibrancy. South of the screen is the five-way D-pad and a QWERTY thumbpad, and while these exist to ease the chore of making inputs, much work is still needed before it's as effective for one-handed operation as the thumbpad on Treo Smartphones.
Underneath the thumbpad is a blue backlight, a seriously a bad choice of color for illuminating a light silver/grey colored thumbpad as it makes it extremely tricky for proper legibility when the thumbpad is lit. Another problem encountered was the short depth of the keys and this posed a challenge when typing on the go. Even so, that doesn't sideline the fact that the keys are more ergonomically spaced out than those on the Treo.
Like many new mobile phones, the hw6515 has a 1.3MP digital camera at the back that's accompanied by a portrait mirror and a tiny flash strobe for illuminating subjects under poorly lit conditions. Regrettably, image quality was not too flattering despite its resolution and the addition of a flash strobe. Snapped pictures and videos can be shared with other devices instantly through Bluetooth, Infrared, SD and miniSD cards. Storage wise, although the hw6515 comes with just 128MB of memory (64MB ROM + 64MB RAM), the two memory expansion slots should provide ample storage options long before storage concerns become a niggling issue.
Given the multitude of functions and features it offers in one portable packaging, the HP iPAQ hw6515 is without a doubt a technological marvel to behold. While it may be a little on the wide side where handling is concerned and not a perfectly optimized product out of the box, it is nevertheless a well conceived Smartphone that's worthy of a USD$725 price tag.
- Quad band GSM
- Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition (Phone Edition)
- 312MHz Intel XScale PXA270 Processor
- 3.0-inch 64K-color 240 x 240 TFT
- Supports GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth, USB, IrDA
- Built-in GPS
- 1.3-Megapixel Digital Camera
- 128MB (55MB available to user, 12MB iPAQ File Store)
- SDIO and miniSD Memory Expansion Slots
- Weight: 165g
- Dimension: 118 x 71 x 21 mm (H x W x D)