HP iPAQ hx2190

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HP iPAQ hx2190
  • HP iPAQ hx2190
  • HP iPAQ hx2190
  • HP iPAQ hx2190

Pros

  • Security locking, persistent data, screen cover, USB storage

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi, screen glare

Bottom Line

Solid, but not outstanding, the HP iPAQ hx2190 offers mobile users some key improvements sure to make life easier.

Would you buy this?

The HP iPAQ hx2190 doesn't break any new ground but includes a few small, yet astute advances that will be welcomed by mobile professionals.

The first and most important of these is that the hx2190 runs on Windows Mobile 5.0, meaning it can make use of persistent data storage (or non volatile memory). In most other PDA devices, user data was stored in RAM which requires power to function. This meant that if the unit lost power, for example through a dead battery, these files would be lost. However, Windows Mobile 5.0 can store user files on ROM, so a dead battery does not mean lost data. This also has the additional benefits of increasing battery life and improving speed since the 64MB of RAM is free for processing. Of the 128MB of ROM on this unit, around 80MB is available for users to store their files.

The hx2190 runs on an Intel PXA270 312Mhz processor which isn't lightning fast by today's standards, but is enough to get the job done. We were in fact somewhat surprised by speed of the unit as even with multiple programs running there was little noticeable lag. The memory options are rounded out by the inclusion of a Compact Flash (Type II) and SD card slot at the top of the unit.

The second key feature on this device is inclusion of security which has long been a flaw in PDAs. Using 'HP Protect Tools', you can set a password or PIN to lock the device and encrypt your mail and documents. Thus if your PDA is lost or misplaced, you can at least retain some degree of confidence that your data won't be freely available to all and sundry - at least, not without some effort. This process took us no more than a few minutes and soon enough we had the hx2190 protected with a PIN.

The 164g hx2190 sports a 3.5" transflective TFT 64K colour screen, that supports both portrait and landscape modes. While the display colours beautifully, it was highly reflective in some cases and this proved a problem both indoors and outside. PDA screens are notoriously easy to scratch or damage and veteran users have learned from bitter experience fork out extra cash to pay for protective covers. This is why we appreciated the transparent screen flip cover that ships with the hx2190. Just remember to take out the stylus before you flip open the cover, as you can't remove it once the cover is open.

As with most PDAs, the hx2190 supports the creation and editing of documents and emails, through the inclusion of Windows, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook Mobile. Windows Media Player 10 is also part of Windows Mobile so users can listen to MP3 audio by connecting headphones to the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. While the software configuration is fairly standard on this unit, as are the buttons for Mail, Calendars and Contacts, we made good use of the iTask button, situated at the bottom right of the unit. Pressing this button displays a list of often accessed programs and operations (such as muting or lighting), meaning you won't have to navigate through a maze of system menus to do simple things.

The hx2190 connects to your PC to synchronise using a USB cable. A separate power cable is also supplied to charge the device from a power outlet, but yet another convenient feature we discovered was the ability of the unit to support USB charging. This means that if you only have access to a computer and not a power outlet, your PDA can still charge just by hooking it up to your PC with the USB cable.

Perhaps our single greatest disappointment with the hx2190 is the lack of Wi-Fi support. Although it can use Bluetooth, the convenience that Wi-Fi offers makes it a must have on any serious PDA device we would consider purchasing. A camera is also missing but this unit is primarily directed at business users.

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