The handset’s other key feature, of course, is the slide out keyboard. As the phone is considerably wider than its main rivals, you’d expect the keyboard to be larger too, but in fact it’s not really any bigger than, say, the one found on the X1. We also found that the keys had a slightly ‘stickier’ feel to them and this, combined with the Data Messenger’s short space bar, means that we didn’t like it as much the one on Sony’s model.
The handset’s 2.8in screen isn’t going to win any awards either with its lowly 320 x 240 resolution and 65k colour range. We may have been spoiled by the display on HTC’s Touch HD, but even without taking that into account the one here looks a bit dated, especially as it’s not particularly bright or crisp. However, seeing as the Data Messenger is aimed mainly at business users we can let that slide a bit. The same goes for the camera. Although it has a decent resolution of 3.1-megapixels and an LED flash for low light shooting, the shots it takes lack sharpness and detail and so the results look pretty uninspiring.
On the plus side the Data Messenger does have onboard GPS. To take advantage of this, HP has preloaded the free Google Maps software and retail units will also come with navigation software under a 30-day free trial, but unfortunately the latter wasn’t included on our review sample so we couldn’t try it out. With Google Maps, however, it was pretty quick to lock on to satellites and pin-point our location.
On the whole, the handset feels relatively speedy in use thanks in large part to the 528MHz Qualcomm 7201A Processor. That said, it does take a while to re-orientate the screen from portrait to landscape mode when you slide out the keyboard, which is a bit annoying. On the storage front there’s 128MB or RAM and 256MB of ROM, plus you can add more space using microSD cards. The card slot is slightly awkwardly placed under the battery cover, although you don’t actually have to remove the battery to get at it so you can still hot swap cards.