iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






HP Jornada 568

October 16, 2001

The Jornada 565 and 568 are new PDA from HP which work under the Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 (PPC2002). The only difference is in a RAM size: the 565 model has 32 MBytes, while the 568 one operate with 64 MBytes.

The Jornada 56X is the first PDA out of the series working under a new operating system and developed on the same technical base. All these PDAs give a user equal possibilities. The Jornada 565 is based on the SrongArm SA1110, an Intel's processor working at 206 MHz; the data bus operates at 103 MHz. The PPC2002 provides an additional flash-memory which is used, for example, for backup copying. The flash memory is also useful in case of lack of power, when data from the RAM can be lost. The previous devices had no such memory. The Jornada is equipped with 32 MBytes of the flash memory (Intel StrataFlash) powered from a Li battery. The PDA contains the Emergency utility from HP which can help to copy data from an address book, an organizer and a calendar rather quickly.

The touch reflective screen, 3.5", can display up to 65,535 colors at 240X320. The monitor is equipped with a two-sided backlight the brightness of which can be adjusted manually or with an integrated light sensor (the PDA turns on/off the backlight automatically). A possibility of turning off the screen manually is useful when the PDA works as an MP3-player.

No secret that the screen is a bottleneck for such devices, but the Jornada lacks for this problem: you can work comfortably with it both indoors and outdoors in a bright weather. The only drawback is that dust can get under the screen which is impossible to get rid of. Another problem is scratches on the screen caused, for example, by a too hard stylus. The computer is supplied with a plastic pen with a soft point, but if you press it hard against the screen you can damage it. I recommend you stick a protective film so that the screen serve for a longer time.

Now a little on the memory. As I have already said, the 568 model has 32 MBytes RAM and 32 MBytes flash memory. The operating system takes 24 MBytes of ROM. You can also install additional cards of the Compact Flash Type I format (the Type II is not supported).

The device is fed by a lithium-polymeric battery which serves a back panel for the PDA. A charger can be switched to the PDA either directly or through a cradle. It takes a little more than an hour for the battery to get charged, and an operating time is about 14 hours. If you use it around 20 minutes every day it will work some 3-4 days. But if you are going to use actively alarm-clocks and reminders, as well as watching video and listening to audio the operating time reduces to 1 day. For example, a 45-min. movie discharges a battery by 25-30%. Unfortunately, a battery status is indicated only in a graphics mode. By the way, a spare battery also features a battery status indicator. If we compare power consumption of, for instance, a Pocket PC and a PDA under the Palm OS, the former will never outshine the latter. The Palm V can work 2 weeks but you should take into account that its possibilities are much scarce. The Pocket PC has a quite satisfactory time of running from battery: it is not just a record book but a normal organizer.

At the expense of a lithium-polymeric battery the HP engineers managed to reduce the weight to 173 g. On the other hand, the device has no any metallic parts; it is mainly made of plastic and rubber. You can remove a protective lid covering the display. The PDA is convenient to wear in a shirt pocket and in the outerwear as its dimensions are not great (132 x 76.5 x 17.2 mm).

On the front panel under the screen you can find keys of fast access to a calendar, an organizer, an address book and a main page, and a navigational 4-position key. Below is a power button, on the right is a speaker. A dictaphone key is located on the left; a microphone is placed below, next to an interface connector. The stylus is located up on the right; it can be completely driven into its bed or left prominent.


The Jornada, as you know, works under the PPC2002. The first thing that catches your eye is a "Smart Minimize" function which allows minimizing windows. In the upper right corner there is a cross so that you can remove an application from the screen not closing it. The minimized programs get in a queue and are closed as the memory is filled up; a list of working programs can be viewed in a memory management unit.

Another innovation concerns an interface: notes of a calendar, an alarm-clock and some dialog boxes appear in small pleasant pop-up windows.

Operation with pop-up menus is simple: just press and hold the stylus and the menu will be accessed.

The main menu is Today. It displays a date, time, a user name, the closest event from the calendar, the number of unread messages from the Inbox and the total number of active tasks from the organizer. To change wallpaper or install another color for windows you don't need additional programs as this function is integrated into the OS.

The HP Home Menu can be set as a starting window since you can access quickly to PDA settings, switch between applications and view a battery status. On top there are icons of various applications grouped on different pages; you can also create your own pages.

Among the programs you can find Pocket versions of the Word and the Excel. Their functions haven't changed, but there is one more option called Block Recognizer similar to that of the PalmOS. A text input is implemented with a usual screen keyboard. Besides, you can enable a predicative function (which is similar to that of cell phones). It is interesting that the Jornada remembers the last input words and offers them as well. In order to put in the right word you should just press on it.

The PDA has a very convenient organizer. The Jornada is almost completely synchronized with the Microsoft Outlook 2002 (English version). The Calendar, for example, allows creating reminders for a particular date and time. There are several viewing modes: according to a date, weeks, months or just a calendar for a year. An alarm signal is at your option - just record an appropriate file.

The address book is very simple to use: you can sort entries according to a company or name, use a fast search, arrange users according to categories etc. You can input a lot of data for each name which will be appropriately ordered. Besides, you can easily deliver contact lists from one PDA to another.

Inboxes and outboxes now have nested folders such as on a desktop PC, and, therefore, can synchronize all data they contain. It should be noted that PPC2002 based machines will becomes clients of Microsoft networks. A VPN is also supported.

The PPC2002 has a Pocket Internet Explorer packet for operation on a network, and you now can browse a lot of sites which identify it as the IE 4. The Pocket Internet Explorer features also a download manager similar to that one of a desktop version.

The Windows Media Player v.8 is able to play MP3 files at a variable bitrate and reproduce mpeg4 files. At the maximum volume the speaker sounds hoarsely.

There is also a pleasant graphics viewer from HP. It allows rotating images, look through particular parts etc. You will probably want to make it standard. Other programs are not of great interest and we will omit them.


New PDAs from HP are quite handy and much lighter than their predecessors. Besides, they can be proud of their operating time. The pros of the Jornada is a possibility to work outdoors as the information is well seen and a possibility to synchronize data with other devices, for example, with a Palm PDA. The Pocket PC2002 offers a wide range of new pleasant features. At the expected price of $600 and $650 for the 565 and 568, this is quite a good choice for those who like the PocketPC functionality. If you just need a good organizer better take a PDA working under the Palm OS since it has a more beneficial price/quality ratio in this respect. But they undoubtedly lose to the Pocket PC2002 in a set of functions.

The HP Jornada 565 and 568 competes against such devices as Compaq iPaq H3870, Compaq iPaq H3700, Casio Cassiopeia E-200 and Toshiba e570. Their weight is some 7-10 g more than that of the Jornada. All of them, except the Compaq iPaq H3700, have similar reflective screens and memory of the same size as in the 568. The devices differ in extension cards supported. The Compaq iPaq H3870 has an SD/MMC slot, the other Compaq model lacks for it, the Casio Cassiopeia E-200 supports the CF II apart from the SD/MMC (like the Toshiba e570). All of the models cost almost equally, except the budget Compaq iPaq H3700.

New PDA models based on the Pocket PC2002 offer a lot of new features and simple in use. I should admit that the first devices working under the Pocket PC2002 - Jornada 565 and 568 - turned out to be quite good, ergonomic and comfortable.

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