HP iPAQ 212
- Excellent, vibrant display; CF and SD card slots for extra storage; solid performance
- No built-in GPS, design is a little large and bulky, external speaker volume could have been louder
The iPAQ's VGA display alone makes it an excellent PDA while the dual-storage slots make it easy to upgrade memory. This is a solid, high-end device for professionals.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
Although smartphones have emerged as the ideal mobile device in recent years, there are still many consumers who would prefer to keep their phone separate. Sporting a gorgeous VGA display and dual memory card slots, HP's latest enterprise PDA is ideal for both business and entertainment use.
The first thing you'll notice about this unit is the size of the display. Measuring 4in, the iPAQ 212 has a VGA resolution of 640x480. It's one of the best displays we've seen on a mobile device, with vibrant colours and sharp performance. The touch interface operates almost flawlessly and despite the presence of a stylus, you shouldn't have to use it as much as most other PDAs and smartphones.
The downside of the large display is the fact that the unit itself is quite large. It's thick and heavy and doesn't really sit comfortably in your hand. That being said, we think the advantage of the large VGA display outweighs the negatives of the bulky form factor – after all, HP has targeted this device at enterprise and business users.
Aesthetically, the gloss black plastic is a nice touch, even if it does pick up plenty of fingerprints, while the silver sides and matte black rear complement the rest of the unit nicely. Below the display are a set of controls; a comfortable five-way navigational pad surrounded by dedicated buttons for calendar, Start, OK and e-mail means this unit is very easy to operate.
The iPAQ 212 runs the Windows Mobile 6 Classic OS, so it naturally features Office Mobile, consisting of mobile versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word. There is also a PDF viewer, calendar, organiser, contacts list and a mobile version of Windows Live Messenger. The iPAQ 212 is a solid e-mail device, offering support for a variety of account types including standard POP3 accounts (Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail).
For connectivity, the iPAQ 212 is well equipped, sporting Wi-Fi 801.11b/g as well as Bluetooth 2.0 allowing you to synchronise with a variety of devices. We found the signal stayed strong and the Internet operated speedily on our local office network, though we'd advise downloading the Opera Mobile browser if you plan to surf the Internet on this unit – it's much easier on the eye than Internet Explorer. A standard mini-USB port is located at the bottom of the device, alongside a proprietary connector that will be used for future accessories such as docks.
The 212 is powered by a 624MHz Marvell PXA310 processor and 256MB of ROM, making it quite a speedy unit. Switching between running applications is swift, while start up time is minimal. We also didn't experience much lag while using the unit. Memory expansion is excellent, the iPAQ 212 having both a CompactFlash card slot, as well as an SD card slot. This means you can effectively have a 32GB card in each slot for a total of 64GB of flash storage.
The presence of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack is a blessing for multimedia and A2DP Bluetooth means you can stream your music to a compatible set of Bluetooth headphones if you wish. Video looks crisp and vibrant on the display, but there is no camera included and the external speaker could have been much louder in volume.
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I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
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