HP iPaq 612c – Toys For Boys

According to a recent survey conducted by Spb Software House, 93% of Windows Mobile handheld device users are male. – I found this quite surprising. – It sounds a bit like the demographics in the physics department of my university. There must be something that women don’t like about these gadgets.Granted, the design of HP iPaq 612c Business Navigator probably appeals more to male clientele, but I am quite certain that the functionality of this feature-packed PDA-phone would be useful to both sexes. For example, the word “navigator” stands for Assisted GPS navigation system which is integrated in the device. Who wouldn’t love to have one? Never get lost again, always know where you are…, or could it be that women prefer to ask for directions rather than to fiddle with a GPS? If the GPS doesn’t take the biscuit, then how about the built-in 3 megapixel camera, ladies? (The “c” in 612c stands for “camera”)

HP iPaq 612c Business NavigatorI bought this PDA just a week ago and I have already found multiple uses for it. It wakes me up in the morning; I read the news on it; I am using it as a mobile phone, address book, notepad, MP3 player, and occasionally for a game. I imagine the GPS function would be useful on field trips and holidays, but I have yet to go on one.

The vendor threw in a free 4 GB micro SD memory chip and a Bluetooth headphone (which he promised to deliver next week). 4 GB is probably generous enough to carry around a decent music collection along with the GPS data, photos, backups, etc., etc. – what can I say? You can never have enough memory, but 4 GB seems fair. That’s 1024 times the memory of my first computer which -less than 20 years ago- took up half of my desk space.

The HP iPaq 612c has a bright 2.8 inch QVGA display that performs well even in the brightest midday sun, as I found out today. It’s most distinctive feature is a touch-sensitive “smart wheel” that replaces the typical directional pad on Pocket PCs. It can be used for navigation, similar to the centre wheel on iPods. Unfortunately, the manufacturer forgot to put an “Enter” button in the centre of the wheel, which makes some thumb acrobatics necessary in order to execute complex functions. Instead of the centre, the “Enter” key is located on the right edge of the pad. These ergonomics probably need some rethinking. Otherwise the keypad is great. It’s easy to handle for people who are used to a standard mobile phone pad. I prefer to use a stylus, anyway.

With a 520 MHz processor and 128 MB RAM / 256 MB ROM, the device performs nicely under Windows Mobile 6.0. I haven’t encountered any problems with applications, not even with computation- and memory-intensive games. Connectivity is simply fantastic. The phone is a GSM quadband with GPRS. In addition to GSM and GPS, the device offers 3G, EDGE, HSDPA, Bluetooth, and WPE/WPA-enabled WiFi connectivity, and of course a USB port. Especially the WiFi comes is opportune, since it’s a low cost connection that allows me to go online anywhere at home and at public hotspots. HP provides a neat proprietary connectivity manager application for all of this. All radio connections can be switched on and off with a single tap, which is handy on the plane.

The only thing found fault with is the speaker which is on the back of the device. Why is that bad? Because the sound is absorbed when you put it with its back on a smooth surface. You can hardly hear the phone ringing. However, I have solved this problem simply by leaving the PDA in its leather case, so it’s not really a big issue. In summary, this is a neat device with lots of features and an attractive design that continues the iPaq tradition. Now, if only more women would buy it to balance the statistics.