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HP iPAQ Voice Messenger review

Niall Magennis



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HP iPAQ Voice Messenger
  • HP iPAQ Voice Messenger
  • HP iPAQ Voice Messenger
  • HP iPAQ Voice Messenger


Our Score:


HP's first Windows Smartphone was the cheap and cheerful 514 Voice Messenger. This follow up is an altogether more expensive and luxurious affair and costs almost double the price weighing in at around £330 SIM-free. As its name implies the handset is a voice centric device aimed at those looking for a phone first and smartphone second.

It has to be said that this new Voice Messenger is quite a sexy looking phone, with HP having dumped the boxy, retro styling of its predecessor in favour of a much sleeker and more modern design. Its petite dimensions and narrower girth mean it feels more comfortable to hold in your hand than a lot of the other smartphones around at the moment.

Along with the usual volume rocker switch and dedicated camera button, HP has kitted the handset out with two welcome additions. The first is a keylock button and the second is a sliding control to put the handset in and out of silent mode.

For text input HP has opted for a hybrid keypad that's clearly been copied from RIM's range of Blackberry mobile emailers. It's laid out as a half QWERTY configuration with two letters per key. To enter the first letter on a key you tap once and to access the second letter you simply double tap the same key. Alternatively you can just single tap each key and leave it up to the phone's predictive text system to work out what word you're trying to spell out. Both methods take a little while to get used to, but once mastered they allow you to work up a decent speed when typing out emails or text messages.

Resting above the main keypad you'll find the phone's four-way optical controller, which is one of the handset's unique features. Unlike a traditional d-pad this controller doesn't rock back and forth across both axes. Instead, to move around in menus you simply glide your finger or thumb in the direction your want to travel. It all sound very straightforward, but unfortunately it's a real pain to use. The problem is that it's just very unreliable. Sometimes it registers movements perfectly, but other times it takes three or four goes to get it to respond. It really is horrible to use and one of the worst design decisions we've come across in a long time. Plus, as the phone's display is not a touchscreen, you have to rely totally on the optical controller to drive the OS.

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December 22, 2008, 6:31 am

Ok.. i have to ask;

Why dont TR ever take their own photos of the reviewed item? Granted on some reviews they do take their own, but mostly (esp phones) the manufacturer's images are used which sometimes looks far better than the real deal.

Dont get me wrong, i love the reviews, just the images are off (for me)

Jay Werfalli

December 22, 2008, 9:53 pm

On average around 50 per cent of our total review output uses stock imagery. The rest uses photos taken by ourselves. Most (not all) reviews undertaken by our freelance writers use manufacturer's images, for a number of reasons: Our freelancers are commissioned to write, not to take photos. Many are also not equipped to take decent pictures (especially of large products) nor can they be expected to with their extremely tight schedules.

We understand what you mean, though, and we'd photograph everything in-house if that was practical. Our freelancers receive review samples (in limited numbers) directly from manufacturers/PR agencies, test them, write the review and then send them back. Jumping in at the beginning, middle or end of this process in order to photograph the products will only serve to cause delays, inevitably leading to late reviews - something we all want to avoid!

Martin Daler

December 23, 2008, 6:54 pm

Jay, you are looking down the wrong end of the telescope! Turn it the other way about. Start from the point of view that the pictures are part of the review (self-evident really), that your authority rests on your authorship (equally self-evident), and stop making excuses.

The clue is in the name "Trusted" Reviews.


December 23, 2008, 10:34 pm

To run with your analogy...

You're using the wrong instrument. You're looking at TR from afar and drawing conclusions from the weird murky patterns you see on the surface. Instead, you need to be close up and using a microscope to look into the inner workings of TR to get a true sense of what's going on. Quite simply, as things stand, what you're suggesting is not feasible. End of. If you choose to interpret that as an excuse, that's your prerogative.

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