The Data Messenger is the second of HP's latest duo of Windows Mobile based handsets, but whereas the Voice Messenger is for those who want a device that's a phone first and smartphone second, the Data Messenger is an all out smartphone from top to bottom.
One of the big differences between the Data Messenger and its smaller sibling is that this one has a slide out keyboard which puts it in direct competition with the likes of the HTC S740 and Sony Ericsson's much hyped Xperia X1. That's some serious competition to go up against, so the question is does the Data Messenger have what it takes to challenge those two big hitters?
The HP is a much larger and wider than those two main rivals with the result that it looks slightly dated and feels quiet chunky to hold. That said, HP has tried to add a bit of pizzazz to the styling, by opting for a dark navy, glossy finish. The front of the device is obviously dominated by the screen, but beneath this there are two long and thin call/answer and hang up buttons, plus two touch buttons - one acts as the dedicated Windows key and the other as the OK button.
Nestled between these four buttons lies the d-pad, or rather the optical controller that simulates a normal d-pad. Rather than having clickable buttons for up, down, left and right, there's a small camera in the centre of the pad that responds to the direction in which you glide your finger or thumb over it. It didn't work particularly well on the Voice Messenger, and the situation wasn't helped by the fact that it was the phone's sole controller as that model lacks a touchscreen. For some reason the one on this device is much more responsive and much more accurate. It's also a tad faster to use than a clickable pad when scrolling through long lists, such as names in your contacts book. Plus, if you don't like it at least here you can carry out most functions using the touchscreen instead.