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I bought my first PDA a few years ago, and was quite impressed. As things moved on though, I wanted more and more from it, GPS navigation being the main thing.
As I added more and more bits onto the old system, like a bluetooth jacket, and more memory, it got more and more clunky ... hence the need to upgrade.
I plumped for the exceptionally sleek looking iPAQ Hx4700. It claimed a fantastic (for Pocket PCs) screen resolution of 640x480, along with a very fast processor (600+ MHz).
Having been a previous iPAQ owner, I was somewhat wary of all of the manufacturer's (and Microsoft's) claims. My first, supposedly fantastic, iPAQ had been rather clunky to use at times.
I got the new iPAQ back home, and took it into the kitchen. I couldn't resist using it at the first opportunity. So I plugged in the adaptor, and started it charging, and then powered it on for the first time.
The screen looked great. The display is so fine it is unbelievable. To be honest, operating system graphics rarely look better, even on a desktop system.
I began to experiment with the various screen settings (portrait/landscape), and fiddled around setting up a password.
I was more than surprised when the name of my home network popped up, unexpectedly, inviting me to connect to the web. You see, although I have a wireless network in the house, the range has never proved that satisfactory with my desktop devices. So for this little handheld to work was incredible.
After typing in my wireless network password, I was surfing the net, virtually as fast as I could on my desktop machine. Granted, the screen display is a little restrictive on these Pocket PCs, but it didn't falter once.
The keyboard entry seems to have been improved somewhat. The on-screen keyboard seems to appear at the right time now, rather than before, when it showed up any time it thought it might, possibly, be required!
The biggest improvement seems to be with the transcribed (handwriting recognition) input though. It's not that it can suddenly read the worst doctor's handwriting in the world. It's just that it is easier to use on-screen 'keys' to correct, edit and delete incorrectly transcribed entries. For instance, a delete key now appears, that can easily delete an extra character that was interpreted by the machine.
The device uses Microsoft ActiveSync 3.8 to keep in synchronisation with your desktop machine. I actually synch mine with both my home, and my work desktops. I've stopped being late for early morning meetings now!
Alongside the excellent device, you also get 4 'pointsworth' of free software, via the iPAQ site. I chose some Brainwave Synchronisation software, and a pack of 30 or so desktop themes.
The inbuilt software includes Windows Media Player 10, which, so far, has played everything I have thrown at it. As the Pocket PC supports Secure Digital, CompactFlash and Microdrive, it can effectively also function as an MP3 player, as well as playing videos etc.
The device also includes Pocket Excel (which I have programmed to calculate my Weight Watchers points), Pocket Word, Pocket Informant (handles all of your email and calendar needs), MSN Messenger, Pocket MSN, Clearvue PDF (views Adobe Acrobat docs), and much much more.
Lastly, one impressive feature (for me, at any rate), was the fact that the battery is more of an accessory now, rather than being something inbuilt. It implies that it will be easier to source, and fit a new battery when the time should come!
And you know I said I was impressed with the screen display ... well that was before I discovered, and enabled, the ClearType display functionality. Once enabled, the device's display looked more than impressive. It was absolutely awesome!
So far, I really cannot fault this device. I would recommend it wholeheartedly!
Hi again - would totally agree with every word - these really are brilliant - and I've used mine in UK, Spain and Kenya, with no problems - except that my non-tech wife has found jawbreakers on it, and has become an addict ! - Trevor
SIMONSD25 23.08.2005 10:54
COOOEEE 02.08.2005 10:09
Good luck in the computer competition. I have now entered this review for it. Fionaxx