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HP iPAQ hx4700

HP iPAQ hx4700
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Occasionally, a powerful PDA does come along, and the HP iPAQ 4700 is one of those. It runs on a 624 MHz processor in a world of PDAs with 200+ MHz and although this does not mean three times the power, nevertheless it is powerful enough.

At A Glance:

Price: RM 2,488
Local Distributor: HP Sales Malaysia (M) Sdn Bhd.
Contact: 03-2332 3333
Build quality: 9/10
Applications: 9/10
Interface: 8/10
Value-for-money: 7/10
Overall rating: 8.25/10
+ Fast processor speed
+ Bluetooth
+ Landscape/Portrait Modes
+ Large screen
- Navigation pad
- Expensive

Introducing the 4700
The HP iPAQ hx4700 is reputed to be the first iPAQ ever to have a 4-inch display. The use of the second edition of the Windows Mobile operating system allows the device to easily switch between portrait and landscape displays.

From a Technology viewpoint, the 4700 is quite a complete PDA, except that it does not have the ability to hop onto GSM or CDMA phone networks like the h6365 and therefore does not allow GPRS surfing. You will still have to get to a hotspot to be able to surf.

This is one of the earliest devices in Malaysia to use Bluetooth 1.2, which is the latest version of the Bluetooth specification. The main improvement of Bluetooth 1.2 is its ability to frequency-hop, reducing interference with phone and WiFi frequencies. Bluetooth 1.2 is also geared towards delivering faster connection times, allowing large files such as MP3 music to be played over a Bluetooth headset.

The 4700 uses a navigation pad at the bottom of the device, allowing you to scroll in the four cardinal directions. This pad is surrounded by four customisable buttons for quick access to your favourite programs. A record button is parked on the left side, while the power button is on the top, next to the card slots and the stylus holder.

Using the device
As mentioned earlier, the product ships with the second version of Windows Mobile 2003. Included inside the product are programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Internet Explorer. The ClearVue PDF reader application allows you to read PDF files right off the bat, and perhaps the only noticeable thing missing would be the infrared Remote Controller program. It is always fun to sit at the local mamak shop and watch their consternation as the TV channel changes to something more palatable than Bollywood.

The iTASK application is very useful where, among other things, it lets you change the orientation of the screen whenever you please. The NavPoint Mode application with the same icon type was a little less satisfying. It placed a cursor on the screen, and you could pretty much navigate around with the navigation pad much like the touchpad on a laptop. The downside was that although you could double-tap just like on a laptop, the ‘mouse’ buttons were missing so you couldn’t really go back easily.

       

Editor,s Opinion

For a while there, I was sorely tempted to purchase this PDA for my personal use. The hx4700 Pocket PC is a superb product, except that the price was a little too close to the h6365, which had built in telephony among other things. The speed of the 4700 is phenomenal, and the one-touch WiFi and Bluetooth connections are a boon for the user.

However, the price is a little stiff, and after some brainstorming, we at mobile88.com think that it has to do with Microsoft’s programs inside the device. While I am neither for nor against Microsoft, I sometimes wonder if it is necessary to pay that much for their intellectual property. Granted, Microsoft products do a lot to power the current Age of the Internet, but I don’t think it justifies such prices.

Upon checking around, it seems that the 4700 sells for US 600 plus, which is about a third of one month’s salary there. Over here, it is easily equivalent to the average salary of a Malaysian executive working in KL. It is the same with computing, and explains in part why piracy is rampant over here.

I say I like the hx4700 very much. It is a very good PDA and sports the world’s first touchpad on a PDA. However, I am not really sure I would lay out that much cash for it. However, if taken in the context of what prices were like when HP launched earlier models of the iPAQ, then I would say that the situation has improved because the earlier iPAQs were more expensive at the time of their introduction. The iPAQ is still one of the best PDAs in the market, but I wonder how long it will take before PDAs become a lot more affordable.

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