HP iPAQ rx5965
- Excellent GPS navigation, native Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SD card slot for extra memory, design
- No camera, not enough built-in storage
The iPAQ rx5965 adds fully fledged GPS navigation to an already enticing multimedia unit.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Designed by Hewlett-Packard as a 'Travel Companion', the iPAQ rx5965 is the upgraded model to the previous line of PDA's, consisting of the iPAQ rx4240 and iPAQ rx4540. The rx5965 adds GPS navigation using TomTom software to an already enticing multimedia package.
The rx5965 runs the Windows Mobile 5 operating system, so it features the full array of productivity applications, including Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, Messaging (for push and POP email) and Internet Explorer. For Internet access on the go it has built-in 802.11b/g WLAN and Bluetooth 2.0, the latter of which lets you jump online by connecting to a data-enabled mobile phone. However, the big addition to this unit is the in-built GPS functionality, with TomTom Navigator 6 software.
The rx5965 features an integrated SIRF Star III GPS receiver, similar to the ones found in standard in-car GPS units. The software is identical to dedicated TomTom units, like the TomTom ONE (New Edition), so the user experience is hassle-free. The software filters street names by suburbs, but users still can't search for street names first, only a suburb. The general navigational experience remains superb, and is no different from the dedicated TomTom units. The highly detailed maps, clear voice instructions and quick re-routing times synonymous with GPS units are all found in the rx5965. It also performs excellently in obtaining and maintaining a clear GPS signal, even when line-of-sight to the sky is somewhat obscured. HP includes a car charger, carry pouch and a window mount in the sales package, so the rx5965 is ready for GPS navigation out of the box.
Multimedia playback is accommodated by Photosmart Mobile and Windows Media Player 10 Mobile. Photosmart Mobile is a basic image application that lets you view photos in a slideshow, send them via email or Bluetooth, or set them as a screensaver. It doesn't have any image editing features, but you can add text or voice recordings to photos.
Surprisingly the rx5965 lacks an integrated camera, an odd omission for a media orientated device. If you have a digital camera that uses SD cards however, you can pop the memory card into the SD card slot (located at the top of the unit) to view pictures on the display. The ability to send photos from the rx5965 is a useful feature if you're on holiday and don't have access to a PC. The rx5965 only includes 64MB of memory, so it may be necessary to calculate the cost of an SD card into the purchase.
Video and music playback is taken care of with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile. You can use version 10 or 11 of Windows Media Player on your PC to synchronise content to the rx5965. While transferring multimedia is a lot faster using a memory card reader and Windows Explorer, going through Windows Media Player lets you set up smart playlists, automatic synchronising, smart shuffle and automatic conversion of formats not supported on the mobile client.
The rx5965 also handles music quite well, and supports both MP3 and WMA files. Unfortunately, only WMV is supported for video, but we found that the quality doesn't degrade when videos are converted to this format. There is minimal pixilation and smooth playback, and audio synchronisation remains consistent with the video. The rx5965 uses the same 400MHz Samsung processor as both the iPAQ rx4240 and iPAQ rx4540.
Our only complaint about the multimedia aspects of this unit was with volume levels, especially when playing music or video through the external speaker. Quality of sound is quite good though, and a standard 3.5mm jack means users can plug in their own set of headphones. The iPAQ audio application even offers a customisable equaliser, six presets and a 3D Sound setting that does an excellent job of providing a surround sound environment.
Similar to the iPAQ rx4240 and iPAQ rx4540 the funky styling of the rx5965 points it in the 'lifestyle' direction. The lacquered silver body with metallic, maroon side panels is certainly a change from the standard, as is the landscape orientation. The front of the device is dominated by the large 3.5in display, offering a 320 x 240 pixel resolution and 65K colours. It's not the brightest or clearest display we've seen but its good for watching videos and also has an excellent viewing angle.
Measuring 125mm x 76mm x 16.5mm and weighing 170g, the rx5965 is quite large, but most of the real estate is occupied by the display. A button on the right-hand side of the unit switches the display orientation between landscape and portrait, and holding the rx5965 in either mode feels comfortable in your hand thanks to the rounded edges and smooth finish.
A removable, proprietary lithium ion battery powers the rx5965 and the unit can be charged either by the included standard mini-USB cable, or the AC adapter. Once again, HP hasn't provided specific battery-life figures, but we managed to keep the unit running for two to three days before having to charge it. Keep in mind this will decrease if you regularly use the GPS functionality.
Notable additions to the rx5965 over lesser models include the five-way navigational pad, and dedicated buttons for close and the Start menu, all of which are located on the front of the unit, next to the display. The right hand side houses keys for back, navigation, music, flip screen and a power button. However, dedicated media buttons are still not featured on this model.
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