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HP iPAQ 110 Classic Handheld

Perhaps the best "classic" iPAQ yet
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer) [see reviews of iPAQ 210 310 610 910]

September 5, 2007 -- HP calls the new iPAQ 110 a "Classic Handheld" and it indeed comes closest to what we've come to know and love as a PDA and, more specifically, a Pocket PC. The iPAQ 110 pretty much continues the style, look and feel, and feature set of older entry level iPAQs, only its role in life has changed a bit. Whereas PDAs and Pocket PCs used to be seen as just that, ultra personal computers that acted like little shuttecraft to your desktop PC mothership, the 110 is now described as a "stylish personal organizer" and "affordable companion to your cell phone." So the cell phone has usurped the PC's role as the mothership, and given the number of people out there who seem to have one permanently attached to their ear, who's to argue?

Staying organized, and more

So it's all about staying organized and keeping one's calendar, contacts and tasks up to date and in one's pocket. But as we all know, there is more. Office Mobile with its Pocket PC versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint is eminently useful and capable of real work. Try that on a cellphone. Then there's digital entertainment. Pocket PCs have long had the Windows Media Player Mobile, and it's just been getting better and better. As has HP Photosmart Mobile. Downloading, viewing, and sharing pictures is easy. And let's not forget games.

Powerful wireless communication

Equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth, this personal organizer is plenty capable. You have easy access to the Internet via WiFi (and that's 802.11b/g and not just "b"). If you're a corporate type you can connect to your company's Microsoft Exchange server, if they use it, and securely synchronize email and everything else. You can even use WiFi to make internet phone calls. Bluetooth serves to connect to headsets, keyboards and such. And you can also use Bluetooth to go online via your Bluetooth-equipped cellphone.

Battery life considerations

Battery life is always an issue with mobile devices, and HP helps in that area with the Wireless Connection Manager that checks connections and turns them off when they are not needed. And the Marvel 3xx series of processors are said to be more energy-efficient to begin with.

Size is relative

There was a time when the iPAQ 110 would have looked tiny. In this day and age of liliputian cellphones, it looks almost substantial with its 4.6 x 2.7 inch footprint. But it's just over half an inch thick and weighs not even four ounces, with battery. That's just a bit larger than the Apple iPhone with whom the iPAQ 110 shares a 3.5-inch diagonal screen size. But the iPAQ is much lighter.

Anything but stripped

Used to be that lower end PDAs were stripped models. The iPAQ 110 is anything but. It runs Windows Mobile 6 "Classic" on a speedy 624MHz version of the Marvell PXA310 processor. That's one of the new gen processors, not one of the older Intel PXA 2xx chips that powered, and still power, most handhelds the past several years. 64MB is perhaps a bit marginal, but there is 256MB of FLASH ROM. The display uses the old Pocker PC standard 240 x 320 pixel resolution. Not as sharp as the VGA or half-VGA displays, but perfectly workable.

There is a Mini-USB 2.0 client for high-speed synchronization and data transfer, and a high-capacity SDIO card slot. "High-capacity" is important as 2GB and 4GB cards are becoming common and ever less expensive. That's because there are some incompatibilities between those new cards and older devices. The iPAQ 110, however, can hande them. A 1200mAH Li-Ion battery handles the power side of things, and we expect good battery life.

Ageless, class design

From a design point of view, the iPAQ doesn't break any new ground, and it didn't have to. The design of the smallest iPAQs was always elegant and well-received, and the 110 follows in their foorsteps. It is a handsome little device, dark plastic in the back, with a matte-silver front that features a nice combination of curves and straight lines. The control layout is classic Pocket PC, with a 5-way navigation control in the center, flanked by four function keys, two on each side.


In summary, we like this "classic" iPAQ a lot. It continues one of most loved iPAQ designs, yet offers greatly updated electronics. A speedy state-of-the-art Marvell processor, large display, SDIO slot, 802.11b/g WiFi and BlueTooth, all running on Windows Mobile 6 -- what more could an old-school iPAQ fan want? Or anyone who doesn't need yet another phone for that matter.

-- Conrad H. Blickenstorfer

We like:

  • An elegant, "classic" iPAQ Pocket PC
  • Speedy, economical 624MHz Marvell PXA310
  • Windows Mobile 6
  • SDIO slot for expandability
  • Fast 802.11b/g Wifi and Bluetooth
  • Large 3.5-inch screen (yes, by now that is large in a PDA)
Not so much:
  • Still the old 240 x 320 pixel display