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Once upon a time, HP was firmly at the front of the Windows Mobile Pocket PC pack, its new ranges of devices eagerly awaited, particularly within the business community, which is where it focussed its attentions.
That’s changed as more and more companies have come on board the Pocket PC bandwagon, and these days, HP is more within the pack than leading it. This is not to say that the company doesn’t still turn out good devices, just that the competition is tougher, and HP has had to work hard to survive.
It is in that context that the iPAQ rw6815 Personal Messenger has to be evaluated. It’s ironic that HP dubs it a ‘personal messenger’ because equipped as it is with Direct Push, a corporate could let employees synchronise calendar, contacts, tasks and email over the air. It would be a good way to use its support for Tri-band GSM, GPRS and EDGE.
Surely this turns it into more than a ‘personal’ device?
In terms of design, HP has come up with something that looks rather different from the norm. It is all round silver, which these days is the exception rather than the rule. Most of the casing is plastic, and the battery cover feels rather flimsy. There is a nasty plastic cover which protects the screen – but doesn’t stretch far enough down the front fascia to protect the front buttons too.
You can see through the cover to check on the display, and it lifts easily when you need to touch the screen. You can also, thankfully, remove the cover completely just by gently pulling it out of the small sockets that hold it in place. I did that almost immediately never felt the need to put the thing back. If you are worried about protecting the screen, the provided soft case (with integrated belt clip) does the job nicely.
The iPAQ rw6815 Personal Messenger is shorter and fatter than most PDAs at 102 x 58 x 19mm and its somewhat squat format feels quite comfortable in the hand. Its 140g is OK for a device which packs as much punch as this one does.
Fortunately, the slightly unusual dimensions have not led to a compromise on the screen, which measures 2.7 inches corner to corner, and delivers 240 x 320 pixels and 65,000 colours.
Under the screen, to the left and right of the softmenu buttons and Call and End keys, are two speakers. HP’s specifications indicate that these are in fact stereo speakers, but frankly they are so close together that there’s no way I could hear any stereo effect from them when playing music.