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My review is based on the HP Ipaq RX3118
Deciding to buy
A couple of years ago, I decided that I needed a PDA to help me organise things and also wanted to buy a satnav but at the time the "TomToms" were quite expensive.
I decided the rough specification that I wanted out of the PDA and that I needed WIFI and Bluetooth, as well as it being Windows based. After much searching through the internet I stumbled across the HP IPAQ RX3115 on the handtec website.
It had exactly what I wanted, WIFI, Bluetooth, Pocket Windows 2003, enough ram and a fairly quick processor, the unit also appeared quite compact and had decent battery life. So there it was £179.99, after a few moments of umming and arring I ordered it.
The unit arrives
Surprisingly it arrived the very next day, I couldn't wait to open it! I got the unit out of the packaging, quickly flicked through the instructions and put the unit on to charge for a couple of hours.
After it had charged (4 hours later) I picked the unit up and turned it on, and it immediately turned itself off, hmm, tried again several times and it still kept turning itself off. Very disappointed I called handtech's technical support line and the talked me few a trough things and decided they needed the unit returning, so I packaged the PDA back up and sent it back to them.
A few days later in the post, a new PDA arrived, apparently the old one had a faulty battery door trip switch. I quickly unwrapped the new one, popped the old battery back in and turned it on… success!! It worked properly…
Turning the unit on was very simple, a tiny chrome switch in the top left hand corner of the PDA, I turned it on and waited for it to go through it's first time booting up procedure. Once this was complete it guided me through a quick use guide of the PDA and how to do things, after that it required the touch screen to be calibrated by asking you to click on dots on the screen, once this was done windows was sat there ready to go!
My first impressions of the unit were that it was, small and light, had a very clear screen and was fairly quick.
Using the PDA
After fiddling about with the PDA for a few days I started to work through the features and software that the PDA had
The unit came with the following software installed
Windows Mobile 2003 - The operating system and one of the most important pieces of software on the PDA.
ActiveSync - This allows you to connect and synchronise your PDA to your PC via the supplied cable, it will synchronise your contacts, calendar email etc.
Calendar - As the name suggests, it allows you to keep a calendar of things to do as well as just being a calendar, it is very similar to the calendar feature of Microsoft Outlook.
Contacts - Allows you to store all your names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses etc all in one place, also has a search function.
DockWare - Is basically a screensaver with a built in calendar view but also shows photo's from you're my pictures folder, so it's a bit like a digital photo frame!
File Explorer - This is exactly the same as Windows Explorer, it allows you to look through all you files and folders, soft them, move and copy files etc.
Find - As the name suggests, allows you to search the PDA for files and folders just like on the PC.
Help & How Do I - Very similar to each other, give you information on how to do things if you get stuck.
HP Image Zone - Very simple image viewing, previewing and editing software, it allows you to add notes and drawings onto photo's, change brightness and contrast, saturation and hue, gamma, flip and rotate photo's rescale and resize and also invert, change to greyscale and adjust colour levers as well as being able to sharpen, blur, average, despeckle, diffuse, emboss, find edge, mosaic, trace contour and adjust colour temperatures.
iPAQ Backup - Allows you to create a complete backup of the system settings and files stored on the PDA and copies it to the memory card.
iPAQ Mobile Media - Allows you to stream music and video's off PC's on the same network as the PDA, this feature is also accessible form the buttons on the bottom of the PDA.
iTask - Much like taskmanager on the PC, it allows you to see what's running and close and switch between programs, this feature is also accessible form the buttons on the bottom of the PDA.
Messaging - Must like Outlook Express, is a basic email program that allows you to send and receive emails from any accounts you wish to set up.
MSN Messenger - A cutdown version of MSN Messenger, it has most of the features of the full version but is made for a smaller screen, it is very useful and useable.
Nevo - This is in my opinion on of the best pieces of software on the PDA, it allows you to use your PDA as a remote control for any device in your house that has an Infra Red remote, you can set it up by make and model, radio code or even through learning mode.
Notes - Another very useful piece of software, allows you to make notes by simply writing on the screen, then by clicking Tools, Recognise it converts what you've written into digital text, the program also allows you to add audio notes to your note as well, the text recognition is quite accurate but relies on your writing being neat and clear.
Pocket Excel - Much like the full version but cut down for the smaller format, has most of the functions of the full version and is very easy to use on a small screen.
Pocket MSN - This bit of software doesn't seem all that useful, it is basically a shortcut to MSN Messenger and Hotmail.
Pocket Streets - Allows you to view smaller versions of maps out of Microsoft Auto route, and also display your location onscreen if you've got a GPS receiver.
Pocket Word - Again like Excel, this is a cut down version of Microsoft Word, it has most of the functions but is cut down for the smaller format.
Pocket TV - Allows you to play video's in various formats, enables you to pause, fast forward, rewind etc.
Print Manager - Much like on the PC this allows you to managed things that you've sent to the printer, allowing you to cancel or pause documents.
Tasks - Is basically a digital to do list and will also give you reminders of things you've added.
Windows Media Player 10 - Much like the PC version it allows you to play videos and music including WAV, MP3, MPG and AVI.
iPAQ Wireless - Also accessible from the bottom right hand corner of the screen, this program allows you to turn on and off both the Bluetooth and WIFI features and customize the network settings and Bluetooth pairings.
Pictures of HP IPAQ RX3115
Explorer - As with the PC version this allows you to browse the internet properly but on a smaller screen, it has most of the features of the full version including history and favourites.Calculator - Very self explanatory… 1 + 1 etc
Today - Takes you back to the main screen (like the desktop).
Jawbreaker - A very addictive game that you have to match coloured balls next to each other to gain points.
Solitaire - Much like the version on the PC, it's a digital version of patience!
The PDA has many features built in such as:
Bluetooth - Allows you to connect wirelessly to other devices such as GPS receivers, Mobile Phones, PC's, Bluetooth Headsets and much more.
WiFi (802.11b) - Allows you to access the internet and other computers by this now very common feature, data is transferred at around 54k.
Built in speaker - This is quite handy as it plays all the usual sounds that you'd hear on windows plus you can hear your MP3's and Video's. The speaker is very clear and fairly loud.
IrDA - Infra red port that allows you to connect to older devices, it is also used for the remote control software.
Headphone Jack = Allows you to connect a pair of headphones so you can listen to music and video's in better quality and without disturbing other people.
3.5" QVGA transflective display SD slot supporting SDIO WIFI (802.11b) Bluetooth Windows Mobile 2003 300mhz Samsung Processor 64mb Memory Lithium Ion rechargeable battery
The battery life is quite good and lasts around 6-7 hours of light use, which goes down to about 2 hours if you are using Bluetooth and WIFI, the unit only takes a couple of hours to fully charge which is quite good.
In the Box
The following items were in the box when I bough the PDA
AC adapter USB sync cable Stylus Leather carry case Manuals Software CD
I have had this unit over 2 years now and have never had a problem with it (apart from the first dodgy one I received) it has been on holiday with me several times, has been dropped, had things spilt on it and is still in mint condition.
I have added various bits of software such as TomTom navigator to the PDA and has been very useful and at the time a lot cheaper than a TomTom unit!
I have also added a 1gb memory (SD) card.
Most of these units now are only available second hand or refurbished but if you are looking for a very reliable and quick PDA then I would seriously consider one, I love mine and wouldn't part with it!
I hope this review is useful to someone who is looking at one of these PDA's or even if you didn't quite know what you could do with one!