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HP iPAQ hx4700 PDA Review


Functionality and software

Let's describe and comment on the configuration of HP iPAQ hx4700. This PDA is based on Intel XScale PXA270 operating at 624 MHz. Capacities of the main memory and storage memory are 64 MB and 128 MB correspondingly, the storage memory has 85 MB allocated for user data. The device is equipped with SD/MMC (supporting SDIO, which allows to use not only memory but periphery as well) and Compact Flash slots. What concerns wireless interfaces, it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (both are capable of operating simultaneously) and IrDA. IR-port is located in an unusual place – bottom of the device. This PDA operates under Windows Mobile 2003 SE.

Of course, the processor is the most attractive characteristic in this device. HP iPAQ hx4700 is the first large-scale PDA with a 624 MHz CPU. The other notable features are the increased capacity of the battery (1800 mAh), large display resolution, as well as increased storage memory capacity, which is typical of all Middle and Hi End iPAQ models of the new series.

The configuration also has negative moments – it's just a standard RAM capacity – 64 MB. It's difficult to say how problematic it is. On the one hand, the shortage of RAM is compensated by the large capacity of the built-in flash drive (iPAQ File Store), where you can store installed programs and important user data. A user has approximately 145 MB in total. RAM capacity is insufficient only in terms of fashion and style, these days a device for over $500 seems fit with not less than 128 MB RAM, and the lack of this capacity raises displeased questions: "What is all this money paid for?" There appears information about possible hx4700 upgrades to 128 MB. But these are third-party offers, not from HP, so this involves warranty loss.

Applications installed in hx4700 are standard for Pocket PC. However, besides applets included into OS, this PDA ships with extra applications for various purposes.

Firstly, let's note that the most useful indicators and settings are placed on the desktop with the help of a special utility. These include display brightness control, indicators of free main and storage memory, and a battery charge indicator.

Pocket Informant is an alternative organiser, which in our case backs up functions of built-in Windows Mobile 2003 and Pocket Outlook applets. This program is rather popular in its class, so the fact that this program is preinstalled on this PDA is sort of a curtsey before exacting business users.

BT Phone Manager is a program to work with GSM phones via Bluetooth. It supports old (Ericsson T39) as well as new Motorola v500/600, Nokia Series 60, 6820, Philips 820/825, Siemens S55, Sony Ericsson P800/900, T610, T68/68i models. Note that the phones mentioned do not belong to piping hot models, but they are very popular today and a lot of people use them.

ClearVue PDF is a program to view files in PDF format, which is increasingly popular in business documents.

ClearVue Presentation similar program to view presentations in the PPT format created in PowerPoint.

DockWare is a utility that displays a screensaver with a calendar and a slideshow consisting of images and photos stored in memory. It runs automatically when the PDA is docked in the cradle. The device serves as a desktop calendar in this mode.

HP Image Zone – image viewing program. It displays a reel with framed imaged in a selected folder, a selected image is displayed enlarged. You can also view an image in a separate window, full screen, with selected zoom. The program allows to perform simple operations with graphics files – view histogram of the current picture, rotate it, add comments, move to a selected folder, and organize slide shows, send a picture by e-mail or IrDA, or print it using HP Mobile Printing. It uses a wireless connection with a printer, which must surely be equipped with the appropriate adapter.

iPAQ Backup – a program to archive important data. The program uses SD or MMC cards as a backup medium, you can store the contents of My Documents folder, e-mail database, address book, and system data.

iTask – utility to manage applications and main PDA functions – screen and backlight, wireless interfaces. This utility also allows to switch between screen orientations – this function appeared in Windows Mobile 2003 SE and it's hidden within the jungle of Settings menu, so the iTask utility is a good way to get access to this option.

NavPoint – another utility preinstalled in hx4700. It allows to control the interface with a cursor like in desktop Windows. Obviously, in this case NavPoint uses the touchpad. In fact, this utility demonstrates features of this control.


Ivan Melnichuk (ivan_melnichuk@ixbt.com)

November 18, 2004
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