People may have bought the iPaq in droves, but the PDA’s designers know that the technology inside has to stay ahead of cheaper alternatives to survive. The new iPaq 3970, sold under the HP banner despite the Compaq livery, contains a number of unique elements that make it the best Pocket PC available today.
Most noticeable is the screen. It’s a new transflective type, which means that you’ll be able to see it clearly when outdoors, unlike other Pocket PCs on the market today. It looks fantastic and the colours are incredibly vivid.
The 3970 is the only PDA to have 48MB of flashable ROM in addition to the 64MB of RAM. The iPaq has 20MB of ROM earmarked for you to store important files, so you can keep permanent copies ready for retrieval should the battery run down and clear the RAM.
Inside is Intel’s latest chip for PDAs, the XScale running at 400MHz. But this sounds more impressive than it is. Although Intel’s most recent processor gives the PDA a kickstart over slower rivals, Microsoft needs to release a new version of the Pocket PC software before its power can be fully exploited.
Battery life is good -- around two working days in our tests. One other handy extra is the preloaded copy of Nevo. This works with the iPaq’s enhanced infrared port to turn the device into an all-in-one remote control for TVs, DVDs and the like.
The integrated Bluetooth chip, which works with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and notebooks, gives you Web access on the move and also enables wireless synchronisation.
HP iPaq 3970
The iPaq’s screen beats anything we’ve seen, plus there’s Bluetooth, lots of storage, an SD (Secure Digital) slot, a 400MHz chip and remote control software. However, $1499 is a bit steep.
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