These days with smart phones being all the rage you could be forgiven to think the dedicated PDA has been cast aside in favor of the integrated email, phone home cinema approach! –
For those looking for a simple PDA they’ll be pleased to say that HP is still making the plain old vanilla iPAQ’s.
iPAQ’s were first introduced around 2000 and since then have undergone a variety of revisions and enhancements – the RX1950 is squarely aimed at the budget user - the device is priced around $299 and whilst not the cheapest PDA around it’s got quite a bit going for it. HP have been canny in the specification and whilst HP have the thoroughbreds of the stable such as the hw6500 series which are designed for the power hungry mobile business user – they aren’t where HP are targeting at this device.
First off the 1950 sports a nice curvy design with the majority of its 113.6 x 70.6 frame taken up with it’s 3.5” TFT Screen. Did we mention it’s thin? Well it’s thin at 13.5mm – this is really one slinky device! Control buttons are fairly standard and they are positioned towards the bottom of the front of the - these do their job as expected without a glitch.
The device utilizes a Samsung® S3C2442 300 MHz processor – 64 MB Flash ROM and 32MB SDRAM. The device can be expanded via the integrated SDIO (SD) Expansion slot. This set up clearly aims the device at the non-power user. It’s fine however for the average user – but for those who want an intensive gaming experience for example will want to upgrade the spec or look elsewhere.
The display, is nice and bright (capable of displaying 64,000 colors) – HP are renowned for having some of the best displays for PDA’s and the rx1950 doesn’t disappoint – top marks for a budget device.
Shipped with the latest Microsoft OS (Windows Mobile 5.0) the device comes with the usual suspects such as Excel and Word. The latest version of the OS ships with some cool features – such as support for USB 2.0 – enhancements to navigation and minor changes to some of the apps (a new addition is Pocket Powerpoint) – however the biggest improvement is what Microsoft calls persistent memory which means that your data will be intact if your power runs out – simply recharge your device, turn it on and hey presto everything is as it was when you left it!
Contained within the OS is Windows media Player 10 – this works well on the device and copes well with MP3’s – Given the device’s processor and memory it also copes admirably with most video’s but may struggle with high quality (i.e. large!) files.
The basic communications are all there and the device ships with support for Wi-Fi (802.11b). With HP’s interface the setup of wireless connections is easy and you can be up and running in no time. With Internet Explorer mobile built in to the OS – it’s easy to get setup for wi-fi and be browsing the web at your local wireless hotspot.
Battery wise – the rx1950 is equipped with a 1100 mAh lithium ion battery – times are reasonable and you can expect 3-4 days with average use before it runs out of juice and requires a recharge.
Overall HP have hit the mark– for a relatively low spec PDA you get excellent value for money – great looks, wi-fi and reasonable performance. It’ll be intesting to see how the market pans out for these devices as more and more smart phone/PDA crossovers enter the market and users look for more functionality and performance – but for the time being for the budget conscious the rx1950 is an excellent choice.