Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
HP iPAQ rw6828
- Size and Weight, Multimedia Functions, Push E-mail, Connectivity Options
- No GPS receiver or Keyboard, Screen difficult to read in sunlight, Camera Quality
A very decent smartphone that is made particularly useful by its Push E-mail support.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
Offering style, sophistication and functionality, the Hewlett-Packard iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger is an exciting new entry into the smart phone market. This feature-packed handset includes a two megapixel camera, MP3 Player, integrated Wi-Fi and a suite of Microsoft applications.
Design and Display
The rw6828's finest feature is undoubtedly its size. Weighing just 140 grams, the handset cups comfortably in the palm of your hand. It has a remarkable resemblance to the O2 XDA Atom and shares many similar design characteristics right down to its screen and controls.
Compared to many other bulky smart phones in the market, the rw6828 is elegant, compact and stylish. The downside of this is that there is less room for the onscreen keyboard. Therefore the rw6828 isn't ideal for heavy typing or data input, but this is a small price to pay for its compact nature.
The rw6828 keeps the controls simple with just a 5-way Navigational Pad, two Selection buttons and Answer and End Call keys. Dedicated buttons for Notes, Camera and Volume Control are also located on the outside of the unit. HP has included a stylus which is stored in the top right hand corner.
The absence of a keyboard means there is room for a larger screen and HP hasn't disappointed. The 240 x 320 colour display takes up a large portion of the front of the rw6828, and has an excellent viewing angle. However its performance in sunlight isn't up to standard - we found the unit very hard to read in bright sunlight. HP also includes two plastic flip covers, which can be attached to protect the screen from scratches and marks.
As there is no keyboard, data is entered using the stylus and touch screen. The on-screen keyboard, as with all these types of devices, requires a large amount of patience to operate. The keys are very small and we found ourselves making plenty of mistakes. To counteract this somewhat the rw6828 also offers handwriting recognition using the stylus to draw on the screen. It's a valid alternative to the on-screen keyboard, but still no substitute for a full size QWERTY keyboard.
The rw6828 is the first smart phone we've reviewed that runs on Windows Mobile 5 and supports push e-mail. Push e-mail delivers any new e-mail messages to the phone just like a normal SMS message. This means you are able to receive and access your e-mails whenever you want - not just when they are sent. We accessed the e-mail function using a standard Yahoo account and the service worked without any problems. Undoubtedly the best aspect of this feature is the ease of setup - all you need to do is enter your e-mail address and the device will import all the other settings directly from the Internet.
On the default settings, the device can be set such that only the e-mail headers are pushed to the phone - you can then choose whether or not you'd like to download the full message. The text is fairly small and scrolling through messages may have been more intuitive with a slider of some sort, but overall the e-mail service offered is impressive.
Connectivity is a strong point of the tri-band rw6828 and it includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (802.11b), Infrared and GPRS. The only option lacking is a GPS receiver, but this is offered in other HP models. The unit can also be optimised for aeroplane use by turning off the connectivity options. The rw6828 only includes 128MB of memory, but an SD card slot is available at the top of the device.
The Windows Mobile 5 platform includes a full suite of Microsoft applications including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer. These all worked fairly well, although PowerPoint doesn't offer much in the way of functionality - you can only view documents, not edit them.
The rw6828 is marketed as a multimedia device and HP has ensured this is the case with a long list of features including an FM Radio, MP3 player and a 2.0 megapixel camera. It does however have a 2.5 mm headphone jack, which means you can't use a standard set of headphones. The rw6828 also has dual external stereo speakers, but if you are after quality sound, we'd recommend you stick to the headphones.
The PocketMusic MP3 software has a smooth and attractive interface with well placed buttons. Conveniently, this software can be accessed via the standby screen, so you can fire up your music. The program can also be rotated on the screen to fit either in a landscape or portrait layout. The MP3 player features a host of useful features including a fully adjustable equaliser, playlist support, X-Bass, Cross fading and even Gapless Playback. Performance was above average for a smart phone and we were impressed with the sound quality it produced.
The 2.0 megapixel camera on the rw6828 suffered from poor levels of image noise and a significant lack of sharpness. Unfortunately the flash didn't improve things much at all. The camera is adequate for some happy snaps.
Battery life is surprisingly good, with a talk time of 5.5 hours and 280 hours of standby time. For a device with such a plethora of multimedia features, this is a very impressive result. During testing, we found we only needed to charge the unit every three or so days.
A mini-USB socket is located at the bottom of the unit which is used for both charging and synchronizing with your PC. The AC adapter is connected with the USB cable so it can be charged both through AC power, or through a USB port, which is very handy for laptop users.
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