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The main reason for the 914c's size and heft, it would seem, is its enormous battery. Crack open the rear panel of the 914c and you'll find a lithium-polymer battery whose 1,940mAh capacity is bigger than anything else I've come across on any Windows Mobile smartphone. This leads to good longevity: around two to three days with push email switched on and even longer (three to four days) if you choose to switch that off. But even here, it's still no better than the Nokia. In fact, I'd say that the E71 is actually a little better, and its Exchange client also gives you more flexibility and control over what times of the day and week push email is used. This allows you to eke the maximum possible battery life out of the phone without having to keep switching it on and off all the time.
And the longer you use the 914c, the more you realise just how good its main rival, the Nokia E71, actually is. Its specification, for instance, isn't anything to be sniffed at. There's tri-band HSDPA for speeds of up to 7.2Mbit/sec in addition to GPRS, EDGE and quad-band GSM. You get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a GPS receiver that works pretty well, plus a 3.0-megapixel camera complete with LED flash. The 914c has a 416MHz processor and 128MB of RAM, which push Windows Mobile along at a fair old lick, and a reasonable 256MB of ROM for application and file storage (plus a microSD card slot for expanding that further). But the E71 manages to match that (almost) stride for stride. It lacks the faster 7.2Mbit/sec HSDPA compatibility, but has everything else that matters, adds a front-facing camera for video calls where the HP has none, and is at least as quick and responsive.
There are a few areas where the iPAQ does have the edge, especially with document editing and creation. Though the Nokia is equipped with QuickOffice 4.1, this can't compete with the iPAQ's Microsoft Office Mobile, which can edit and create Office 2007-compatible documents. Synchronisation via ActiveSync with Outlook is more effective and elegant than it is with Nokia's bloatsome PC Suite, and the iPAQ can be charged via USB where the E71 must be plugged into the mains.
When considered on its own, HP's iPAQ 914c isn't a bad phone at all. In fact it's among the better Windows Mobile BlackBerry copies around. The keyboard is good, the screen not bad, it's stuffed with features and the battery life is impressive.
But it's hard to recommend a phone when in almost every area that matters it is outstripped by the best the competition can muster. Nokia's E71 is just as well-stocked with features and just as usable as the 914c but it manages to squeeze everything into a slimmer, sleeker, far sexier device, and one that's even a little cheaper.
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