Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC H3870

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Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC H3870

You want to do more with life? The iPAQ Pocket PC H3870 is designed to ride along on the voyage of life - in your pocket or mounted to your mountain b...

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Review of "Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC H3870"

published 17/06/2005 | docbrian
Member since : 06/06/2005
Reviews : 3
Members who trust : 1
About me :
Pro A pc in the pocket
Cons screen difficult to see in bright sunshine
very helpful
Look & Feel
Memory / capacity
Comfort & Portability
Robustness & Durability

"Long term useage - gets my 'thumbs up'"

I was loooking for a satellite navigation system a couple of years ago so that I would not need to carry a lot of maps with me at work (country wide delivery driver at the time) & the way to go seemed to be a pocket pc with the 'plug in' extras.

I ended up with a second hand iPAQ 3870 (from eBay) and added (from anther seller) TomTom Navigator3 (just released) & Haicom GPS receiver which plugged into the cigarette lighter & the iPAQ, charging the internal battery whilst in use and giving the GPS data to the software at the same time.

Although second hand the iPAQ came with all the disks, the data cradle and power supply/charger + all manuals (as was described by the vendor)

Setting up my desktop pc to 'talk' to the 3870 was easy, install software & plug in the cradle (USB or serial (I used USB)) and after sliding the 3870 into the cradle connection was established.

Now to set up the TomTom, installed the program - no problems there - but oh dear! I discovered that the iPAQ memory (64Mb) was insuffiecient for the map for the whole of the UK (101Mb), which I needed for work, so a quick dash to the local PC supplier and the purchase of a 128Mb SD card to slot into the top of the 3870 set me to rights on that score, no add on jackets etc, just slot it in the top and switch on. Oh dear again! An error message on screen 'do you want to format the memory card for use?..... OK and DONE all systems go again, how easy was that?! (i have now updated to a 256Mb SD card because of greater, private, demands - again just insert card, switch on and answer in the affirmative and all done!)

Well now to every day use, everything works well although the 3870 does sometimes 'freeze' in use - I tracked this down to the infra red receiver thinking that the sun (a good source of infra red ) was trying to make a connection, this can be over come by removing the tick in a check box in START / SETTINGS / CONNECTIONS / BEAM. there is only one check box so its quite easy.
The sun is the culprit again for this problem as well, when using in vans & cars if the sun is bright & shining across or onto the screen it becomes difficult to see, this is a problem of all lcd screens that I have used, not just the iPAQ so positioning out of the way of the sun is something to consider when using this versatile device.

Versatile device? Yes it certainly is, I have also purchased a 'jacket' (add-on device that the iPAQ literally slides into) which is a digital camera! Also availble for the 3870 are a mobile phone jacket (hey the PC is now a phone!) Compact Flash jackets (for memory, modems etc) and even PC card jackets (so you can use PCMCIA (laptop) type expansion cards. Some jackets have batteries in them to extend the use between cherges.

Talking of battery life I currently (no pun intended!) get around 3 hours constant use from a full charge and it is still (as far as I konw) on the original battery.

I do use, and advise the use of, screen protectors - a thin clear film that sticks on the screen so that the protector gets scratched, not the screen! Protectors are a few pounds for 10 whereas a new screen is, well I wouldn't like to think about it!

This device is also VERY connective (is that a word?) sporting a serial port on the bottom (front) which is also the power connector, an expansion connector bottom (rear) (for jackets to connect to), Bluetooth for other bluetooth devices (a pig to set up but works well when set (if a little slowly as it uses the serial uart chip so you may need to slow down the 'connected' device to work correctly) and an infra red data transfer port as well (I use mine as a remote controll using 3rd party software!). Also there is a 3.5mm jack socket for stereo headphones (or a line in to the car stereo to play MP3s)
Add to this a range of external keyboards and up to 1Gb SD ram for the top slot this turns into a very powerful machine!

I've had this for about 18months now and don't know what I would do without it, I did have a major problem the other evening as I could not get it to turn on but a quick online chat with one of the customer support team (online until 11PM UK) soon had it up and running again (my fault for letting the battery discharge fully)


If, like me, you let the battery run 'flat' all the programs loaded into main memory are lost ,the iPAQ file store and SD card retain their information but


as this is all RAM and needs power to keep it. There are warnings in the manual so beware! (I believe this to be true of most pocket devices though (please put me right if I am wrong))

Sadly I believe that this lovely little machine is no longer available new, certainly HP, who own Compaq , no longer have it listed to purchase as new in their online shop. (the 38xx series has been replaced by the 39xx) but many are available on eBay and similar, some with extras, usually around £200 mark.

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Comments on this review

  • Miles13 published 17/06/2005
    Good review, thanx for sahring Milt
  • nigeofnewbury published 17/06/2005
    Great review - looks like a good bit of kit.
  • bluetack33 published 17/06/2005
    Good review with all the information I would need to know...and I know nothing about this sort of thing. Well I do know. Connective is a word but not an adjective ;-)
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Product Information : Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC H3870

Manufacturer's product description

You want to do more with life? The iPAQ Pocket PC H3870 is designed to ride along on the voyage of life - in your pocket or mounted to your mountain bike. It is not much bigger than a calculator. TFT screen, increased battery life, the fast processor - all in a sleek, award-winning design - the H3870 is slim and powerful. Integrated Bluetooth is provided for wireless link to Bluetooth phones, printers, and PCs. The H3870 is expandable and it includes industry-leading handheld capabilities for enterprise - ultra-mobile presentation tools, Voice Command and Control, iPAQ File Store, data encryption tool, Java virtual machine, and Pocket PC 2002.

Product Details

Product Description: Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC H3870 - handheld - Windows Mobile 2002 - 3.8"

Product Type: Handheld

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2002

Display: 3.8" colour TFT - 240 x 320

Processor: Intel SA-1110

Processor Clock Speed: 206 MHz

RAM: 64 MB

Supported Flash Memory Cards: SD Memory Card

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth

Battery Run Time: Up to 10 hours

Dimensions (WxDxH): 8.4 cm x 1.6 cm x 13 cm, 8.4 cm x 1.6 cm x 13.3 cm, 8.3 cm x 1.6 cm x 13 cm, 8.4 cm x 1.6 cm x 13.4 cm

Weight: 190 g, 0.2 kg, 180 g

Colour: Silver

Localisation: English / Singapore, United Kingdom

Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year warranty, 2 years warranty


MPN: 230398-031, 230398-021, 230398-041, 230398-001, 230398-031,217883-021, 230398-051

Product Type: Handheld

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2002


Type: 3.8" colour TFT ( transflective )

Resolution: 240 x 320

Colour Depth: 16-bit (64k colours)

Pixel Pitch: 0.24 mm


Processor: Intel SA-1110

Processor Clock Speed: 206 MHz



ROM: 32 MB - Flash

Supported Flash Memory Cards: SD Memory Card


Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth


Audio: Microphone , speaker

Supported Digital Audio Formats: MP3

Input Device

Type: Touch-screen


Preloaded Software: Clock, Calculator, Notes, Voice Recorder, Asset Viewer, Calendar, Contacts, File Explorer, Inbox, Microsoft Reader for ebooks and audio books, Picture Viewer, QMenu, QStart, QUtilites, Solitaire, Tasks, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer 5.0, Reference Guide, Pocket Asset Manager, Virtual Tour, Microsoft Outlook 2000, Microsoft Transcriber, Windows Media Manager, Microsoft Pocket Streets, Microsoft Pocket Excel, Microsoft Pocket Word, Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer, AudiblePlayer, AudibleManager, Ilium eWallet, Microsoft Money, VPN Client, Server Sync Client, Infrared Beaming, ActiveSync 3.5

System Requirements for PC Connection

OS Required: Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows XP

Expansion and Connectivity

Expansion Slots: 1 x SD Memory Card

Interfaces: 1 ¦ 1 ¦ 1 x headphones

Connectivity Devices: Docking cradle, Docking cradle & battery charger


Voltage Required: AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )


Technology: Lithium polymer

Run Time: Up to 10 hours


Colour: Silver

Included Accessories: Power adapter , stylus

Localisation: English / Singapore, United Kingdom

Compliant Standards: FCC Class B certified

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 8.4 cm, 8.3 cm

Depth: 1.6 cm

Height: 13 cm, 13.3 cm, 13.4 cm

Weight: 190 g, 0.2 kg, 180 g

Manufacturer Warranty

Service & Support Details: Limited warranty - parts and labour - 1 year - carry-in, Limited warranty - parts and labour - 2 years - carry-in, Limited warranty - parts and labour - 1 year - on-site, Limited warranty - parts and labour - 1 year, Limited warranty - parts and labour - 1 year - pick-up and return

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature: 0 °C

Max Operating Temperature: 40 °C

Humidity Range Operating: 20 - 90%, 10 - 90%

Min Storage Temperature: -20 °C

Max Storage Temperature: 60 °C

Humidity Range Storage: 20 - 90%, 10 - 90%

Max Altitude Operating: 4.6 km


Listed on Ciao since: 14/11/2002