Advantages Fast, High spec, Sharp Screen, many accessories, CF and SD card slots, Looks great.
Disadvantages Expensive price tag, less RAM than older model, Touch Pad
|Look & Feel|
|Memory / capacity|
|Comfort & Portability|
|Robustness & Durability|
|Ease of use|
|Range of Extra Features|
WHY I CHOSE THE HX4700?I had previously owned a HP iPAQ H5550 PDA, so stuck with the HP brand rather than go for a brand like Dell. Asus and many other companies also make PDAs and build quality varies but you can't go wrong with HP on build quality. Another option would have been to go for a PDA running the PALM operating system (OS) but the programs I want to use may not be compatible. The HX4700 runs the Pocket PC OS rather than PALM (Think Microsoft Windows vs. Linux). The new iPAQs that HP have been releasing all seem to have mobile phone capabilities and I just did not want this as I'd rather use my phone for phone calls and not have another contract or a PAYG SIM to top up. The designs also do not look as sleek and most seem to have a big aerial sticking out.
It has a 624MHz Intel xScale processor, which is 224MHz faster than my old one. Battery life has drastically improved since its predecessor, the H5550. The screen is bigger at 4" (diagonal) and much sharper. Not sure why but RAM memory has been reduced to 64MB from 128MB since the H5550.It also has a Compact Flash Card (CF) slot as well as the Secure Digital (SD) slot, which also helped with my purchase decision. Multimedia Cards (MMC) can also be used in the SD slot. I have a 2GB SD Card and a 2GB CF Card installed.
USING THE HX4700My HX4700 (I call her Nina by the way) works great and runs smoothly. I use her as an organiser, GPS, MP3 player, for taking notes, games (it comes with Solitaire and Jawbreaker), etc. I have noticed that the menus open quicker than those on the H5550 by a fraction. Videos also play smoothly, whereas the where very jerky when I tried on the H5550. I have also noticed that she is more stable and crashes a lot less compared to the H5550. Battery life is also very good and lasts over 5 hours with constant use (with WiFi and Bluetooth off). How long it lasts is also determined by screen brightness, whether you have WiFi, Bluetooth turned or not, etc. but I do see an improvement since my old one. You can also invest in an 'extended' battery with a longer life. Costs £80 normally but I found one for £20 on eBay.
Build quality looks excellent but I don't intend to drop her to find how tough she really is but I read the body is aluminium even though it doesn't look it. I dropped my H5550 twice and she survived both times. Dented but working. I expect my new one to be the same. She's slim and fits comfortably in my hand (7.7cm x 13.1cm x 1.5cm | W x H x D). It's a bit bigger than other PDAs but probably due to the screen size. She's light at only 187g but I replaced the battery with an 'extended' battery (bigger and longer lasting) so she weighs a lot more now.I think the new look is much nicer than how the other iPAQs look. I think the charcoal with black look really does look elegant and better looking compared to the silver design, as well as making her look smaller. However, she has a touch pad in place of a button for navigation and for 'action', which I find a bit fiddly. It has four bumps, which mark the top, bottom, left and right sensors on the pad. A gentle touch is all it takes to use them. The centre of the pad, however, acts as the 'action' button (i.e. Enter, Play, etc.) and I often find that I miss it and press the Up or Down buttons instead because of the pad's small size. She also has a touch screen, which means I can choose not to use the pad if it started to annoy me. It is definitely not for games. The H5550 (discontinued) has a button in place of the pad, as well as having a fingerprint scanner, which is a feature that no other PDA on the market features. '
Lastly, there are four buttons surrounding the pad and a button to activate the Notes program with voice recorder function. There are no volume control buttons on her like the H5550, which I would have preferred for convenience and not have to control the main volume via the software. On the subject of sound, I find the volume capable of being slightly higher than the H5550, which is good for when using her as a GPS unit.As for software, she came with Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition (SE) as the OS and the usual Pocket PC essentials such as Pocket Word, Excel, Outlook, Notes, Calendar, Calculator, etc. A PDF reader also comes pre-installed unlike the first edition. Being a computer, you can install many other programs. Many will need to be bought but there are also many free programs
There are several methods of inputting text. They are the On screen Keyboard, Block Recogniser, Letter Recogniser and the Transcriber. The Block Recogniser involves writing block characters using the stylus without lifting the stylus. Some characters have been simplified into symbols and it does take some getting used to. All the letters become lower case. The Letter Recogniser is similar but it lets you write upper case characters in their own area. The Transcriber is very impressive. You write the text onto the screen, it recognises the words and types out what you wrote. It is accurate most of the time (even when my handwriting is horrible) but can type the wrong word now and again. There are also quick gestures that you can learn to use as shortcuts. These methods can get annoying when they repeatedly get the wrong word and if that happens, I resort back to the On screen Keyboard and simply tap the keys that I want on a QWERTY keyboard. A numeric keypad and character map can also be activated when needed.ACCESSORIES
Being such a versatile device and allowing me to connect to other devices wirelessly via Bluetooth, WiFi and Infrared, there are numerous accessories that can be used with the HX4700.She comes with a cradle for charging her and it even accommodates her with an extended battery which significantly adds to the size and weight. If you're out and about, a sync cable can also charge her It is very easy to place her on the cradle whereas the one for the H5550 was a bit more awkward because of the angle I had to slot the device in at.
Unfortunately, most of the cool or official accessories are expensive as hell! An official keyboard, both Bluetooth and wired/directly connects to the PDA can set you back £80. Luckily, I found myself an Infrared thumb keyboard for £19.99 (inc. delivery). Not as good as a Bluetooth one but it works. It is a bit more awkward because the IR port needs to point directly and at the IR port or sensor of the other device. They also need to be close to each other for it to work. The IR port is located on the bottom right for some strange reason. I don't like this as I have to position her in an awkward manner just so the IR port is in line with the IR sensor on my IR thumb keyboard. The IR port being at the bottom is also not that great for using her as a TV remote control, which is possible with extra software.The HX4700 comes with a detachable screen cover, which flips open to protect the screen when it is not in use. That's thoughtful of them but I'd rather they gave me a case to protect the whole PDA from drops and scratches. The cover is transparent and so you can see the iPAQ screen clearly. I've found that I often started poking the cover with the stylus thinking it was the screen, without much response. It is nice but can get in the way when you want to use the touch screen. I have now detached the cover and bought myself a vertical flip leather (plastic probably as it was cheap and from Hong Kong) case, plus a screen protector. Even though official accessories are expensive, you can sometimes find unofficial alternatives so it's not too bad. Also, they're not compulsory.
BUYINGThe HX4700 was discontinued in 2005, after only one year of release. However, even though retailers had complete run out stock at one point, they seem to be in stock all over the place now (July 2006).
The HX4700 is a high end PDA intended for business men and women, and with this in mind, you know it's not going to be cheap. The device retailed at £380 ($760 approx. (USD)) when it first came out and it still does in many places. The best price I can find a new one from an online retailer is £330 ($660 approx. (USD) but luckily, I got mine off the back of a lorry. Okay, just kidding...it was off eBay and I got it brand new for £205 (+£7 delivery & £4.45 credit card fee), but still, a saving of over £100(!) so there are bargains to be found, both new and used.Alternatively, there are lower spec. models. There is the HX3715, which has a built in digital camera and a similar design with VGA screen, and of course, many other HP PDAs.
Expensive retail price.
Accessories can be very expensive.
The operating system is not the most current version.
Less RAM (only has 64MB) than older model.
Sometimes the characters show up weird on screen.
The touch pad takes some getting used to and some people hate it.
Big gap between CF and SD card slot if CF II card is installer.
No holster or PDA case included.
It's a brilliant gadget. The improvements and high spec makes this a very powerful machine. The connectivity capabilities also make this a versatile device. Build quality is excellent and my only real complaint is that the pad can be tricky to use and the bottom left corner of the touch pad peels up a bit. Aside that, it's well worth the money and highly recommended to any executive in need of a PDA to use as a GPS, organiser or just a gadget nut who likes their gadgets.Thanks for reading!
P.S. I wrote the whole review on the HX4700. Not bad, eh? :-)
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High Quality Non Branded Replacement Battery 3.7V / 1800 MaH
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This replacement battery is also compatible with the following models: ****** HP HP iPAQ h4800, HP iPAQ hx4000, HP iPAQ hx4700, HP iPAQ hx4705,
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Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days