The HP iPAQ series has been a pioneer in the Windows Mobile market since its inception in the early 2000s, being one of the more popular devices when Windows Mobile was slowly introduced to business-centric users. Of late however, there has been a slew of devices posing stiff competition for this once well-received Windows Mobile device. We got our hands on the latest in the iPAQ lineup, the HP iPAQ 912 Business Messenger, and made a few assessments on HP's latest flagship model.
Notice the word Messenger that's used for the iPAQ 912? That's right, the iPAQ 912 is designed to regain its status as a messaging device and comes with a four-row QWERTY keypad, with a myriad of shortcut keys just above. Though each individual key on the QWERTY keypad is raised in an effort to provide a better tactile feel, the closeness of each key makes it all for naught, as we found ourselves mistyping quite often even a simple sentence. Nonetheless, the numerous shortcut buttons above the QWERTY keypad does provide quicker access to the various features within the iPAQ 912.
Lest you find it hard to navigate using the pad and keys, there's also the touch screen to fall back on (after all, the iPAQ 912 uses Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional as its operating system). But unfortunately, while recent devices come with flushed screens, the iPAQ 912 continues with a concave screen, which renders edges slightly inaccessible to the fingers and requires you to utilize the stylus located at the bottom right.
The iPAQ 912 is primarily a business-centric device and delivers above average performance with its Marvell PXA270 416MHz processor and the standard 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM. During testing, we subjected the iPAQ 912 to a series of applications such as Mobile Word, MSN Messenger, Google Maps and memory intensive programs, and faced only a slight lag as the list got longer. It also comes with a strong suite of connectivity options. Besides the standard Wi-Fi connectivity, there's also HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0, and similar to most devices in its category, GPS with A-GPS for navigation purposes.
HP has kindly bundled a few exclusive applications within, including the HP iPAQ GPS QK Position which downloads current satellite positions with the assistance of over-the-air data. Using that, we managed to get a satellite lock in under one minute with Google Maps. Moreover, the iPAQ 912 comes with a 1930mAh battery, which is an impressive number to boot, not to mention its near three days of usage with moderate phone calls and messaging made us even more impressed.
Truth is, the HP iPAQ 912 Business Messenger does have the capability in terms of feature and function delivery, and steals the thunder amongst its other iPAQ siblings. It's the flagship model after all. However, on a very basic level, it didn't manage to wow us with its QWERTY keypad nor the slightly inaccessible 2.46-inch touch screen. What really shone though, was the strong battery stamina, which is a sorely lacking trait on most other devices with similar functions and features. But at the end of the day, what really matters for consumers is the retail pricing, and for HP's top tiered device, you're looking at a recommended retail pricing of S$899.