HP iPAQ 912 Business Messenger

HP's answer to Apple and RIM

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HP iPAQ 912 Business Messenger
  • HP iPAQ 912 Business Messenger
  • HP iPAQ 912 Business Messenger
  • HP iPAQ 912 Business Messenger
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • HSDPA capable, reasonable features list, scroll wheel, competent keyboard and controls, 3-megapixel camera

Cons

  • Unremarkable design, small display, no applications to alter the interface, no navigational software included

Bottom Line

HP’s iPAQ 912 Business Messenger certainly boasts plenty of features, but falls slightly short of many offerings from competitors. The lack of included navigational software combined with a small display may turn some users elsewhere.

Would you buy this?

A number of smartphones have hit the Australian market since the launch of Apple’s iPhone 3G. HP has joined the party with its iPAQ 912 Business Messenger — but can it compete with the likes of Apple and RIM?

Aesthetically, the iPAQ 912 is a largely unremarkable device. Although most smartphone users are more concerned with what’s under the hood than physical appearance, the latest smartphones do tend to be stylish. Despite the gloss black finish and chrome edging, we can’t say the same about this unit; it’s bland and doesn’t compare in looks to competing units. The matte black rear gives the unit a solid feel though and the handset on the whole feels reasonably well constructed (it isn't in the same league as Nokia’s E71, however).

The iPAQ 912 utilises a rather small and recessed touch-screen display, along with a number of controls and a full QWERTY keypad. The display is bright, clear and possesses respectable viewing angles, but it is nonetheless largely unremarkable when compared to competitor offerings. The keyboard is well laid out and comfortable to type on, though we much prefer the slightly larger keys of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 and the E71.

The iPAQ 912 has a number of shortcut buttons, including keys for calendar, Start, OK and mail; there are also two selection buttons and answer and end call keys. A comfortable and convenient five-way navigational pad does most of the browsing work. There’s also a stylus included and a handy five-way scroll wheel resides on the right side of the handset. We would have preferred the latter to be on the left side: the current location is suited to those who hold the phone in their right hand, not the left.

The 912 runs the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system, so it includes Excel, PowerPoint and Word Mobile applications, Windows Media Player and a range of PIM functions. It's easy to configure for use with Microsoft Exchange, and you can also use standard POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, including Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. A suite of Windows Live applications includes Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail.

HP’s Enterprise Mobility Suite is included, allowing businesses to remotely manage and support their mobile devices. There is also Photosmart Mobile software, which is useful in tandem with the 3-megapixel camera that features flash and a self-portrait mirror. This software allows you to e-mail, message and print photos, as well as upload them to HP's Snapfish printing service. Unfortunately there are no applications that alter the standard Windows Mobile interface.

The handset includes a built-in GPS receiver. Unfortunately, Australian models aren’t packaged with any turn-by-turn navigational software so you’ll have to purchase this separately. Google Maps is preinstalled, but this is a location-based search feature and doesn’t offer full navigation. Performance is average but be sure to run the GPS Position Accelerator software: this downloads a small data file that helps the device find a GPS fix faster.

The iPAQ 912 offers a wealth of connectivity features, including tri-band HSDPA support, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP and Wi-Fi. For mobile Internet, the standard Internet Explorer browser isn't the most intuitive to use, but pages loaded fairly speedily. HP includes a mediocre mini-USB headset and mini-USB cable in the sales package, but the single connection means you can’t charge and listen to music simultaneously.

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