Hewlett-Packard iPaq 210 Enterprise Handheld

GCN Lab review

"The computer is personal again,' states Hewlett-Packard's latest marketing campaign. The new 4.96-inch by 2.99-inch by 0.63-inch, 6.8-ounce iPaq 210 is so bulky that the marketing statement seems literally true.

HP jammed everything but the kitchen sink into this handheld. Unfortunately, they decided not to include a phone, which means that you have to carry two devices, one of them a PDA that seems easily large enough to house a phone.

Despite its size issues, the PDA is a solid performer. Powered by a Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 operating system running on a 624 MHz Marvell PXA310 processor, the HP 210 delivers the Microsoft Office suite applications at lightning-fast speed. It was so good at running Office, we soon found Mobile Office too primitive for the handheld and wished for a more beefed-up version. For the size of the unit, it would have also been good to see a QWERTY keyboard, but you're stuck hunting and pecking awkwardly with a stylus.

It seems as though HP took few creative steps to make it anything special, instead relying on older, time-tested philosophies. But at $450, there are more exciting alternatives that deliver just as much in performance and come with the bells and whistles associated with the price point.

An example of this tried-and-tested approach is the inclusion of a Compact Flash slot. Few people use this media anymore compared to the more popular Secure Digital, and CF slots take up a lot of space that could have accommodated a phone or keyboard.

Like the iPhone, the 210 uses Bluetooth 2.0 and has a larger, 4-inch VGA thin-film transistor touch screen. However, the iPaq also shares a fault with the iPhone in the form of its built-in battery. This represents a move away from what made the older iPaqs so great: Everything was removable, making them fully customizable. This isn't the case anymore.

But despite these drawbacks, if you're in the market for old and reliable and don't mind spending half a grand, look no further than the iPaq 210.


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