So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
HP iPAQ 112
- Great screen, fast operation, slim
- Support for media files is a little narrow
While for many users a PDA is a superfluous device these days, for those that want an extremely quick, fully featured handheld PC then HP's iPAQ 112 is towards the top of the pack.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
In an age where your phone is also your computer...as well as your GPS, and your MP3 player and hopefully soon your all-in-one breakfast maker, you could be forgiven for thinking that the lowly PDA has had its time. However, there is still a small group of people who prefer to have a fully fledged PDA in addition to their other devices, and HP are catering for this niche nicely with their latest iPAQ the 112.
Running on the Windows Mobile 6 platform, it has all the features you'd expect from such a device, including Microsoft Office, a PDF viewer, calendar, organiser and contacts list. Windows Live Messenger is also present alongside e-mail support for a variety of account types (POP3, Gmail, Hotmail, etc).
Of course these things are useless without Internet connectivity and to that end HP has included Wi-Fi 801.11b/g as well as Bluetooth 2.0 allowing you to synchronise with a variety of devices (you can even access the Net by connecting to a data-enabled phone). We found the signal stayed strong and the Internet operated speedily on our local office network.
Sporting a 624MHz Marvell PXA310 processor and 256MB of ROM, it is a fairly speedy machine. Startup time is barely more than 15 seconds and we experienced no slow down during navigation. Even software such as Excel Mobile loaded almost in an instant.
The iPAQ 112 utilises a touch screen interface for basically everything and the sensitivity is generally quite good. It takes a firmer tap of the stylus than many other touch screen products and it won't respond to your finger well at all, but we had little difficulty navigating the interface.
The stylus is helped by an extremely large, high quality 3.5in display. With a resolution of 320x240 and 65,000 colours it is one of the best displays we've seen on any mobile device with excellent viewing angles and bright, vibrant images. It even puts those on some media players to shame.
Coupled with the included Windows Media Player 10 Mobile software, this makes the iPAQ 112 great as a portable media device. It comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, allowing third-party headphones to be used and SD cards are accepted, allowing you to increase the storage capacity at a very affordable rate. Supported file formats include WMA and MP3 although WMV is the only option for video.
We found the design to be quite nice. Measuring 11.7x1.4x6.9cm it is extremely slim and will slip comfortably into a pocket or bag. The gunmetal bezel is adorned with several shortcut buttons including mail, start menu and a basic directional pad if you prefer to use the stylus as little as possible. Meanwhile the thick, black rubber back is designed to stop you dropping the unit accidentally.
It comes with a 1200mAh Lithium Ion battery, which is quite a bit more powerful than a standard mobile phone battery. This is one of the key advantages a PDA has over a smartphone and you should get several days worth of use out of a single charge. The iPAQ 112 charges via a mini-USB port which also facilitates PC connectivity via the included cable.
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