HP iPAQ 210 Enterprise Handheld
The successor to the iPAQ 4700
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
[see reviews of iPAQ 110 310 610 910]
September 5, 2007 -- The new iPAQ 210 is termed an "Enterprise Handheld" and appears to be a combination of the old 2000 Series of business-oriented iPAQs and the marvelous "big" iPAQ 4700 with its 4-inch full VGA 480 x 640 pixel display. I still use my 4700 almost every day and continue to appreciate its large high resolution display and rock-solid feel. Compared to it, the new iPAQ 210 is both more conventional and more businesslike. We'll explain.
Classic Pocket PC with a VGA display
Well, it's like HP's product planners and designers had realized that there is room for a large display (hey, some of us need reading glasses) and certainly for a high resolution display (why should Apple get all the accolades for its iPhone screen?), but perhaps in a package that wasn't quite so advant-garde. So the 210 looks more like a larger version of the 110 than a refinement of the 4700. Gone is, for example, the 4700's combination touchpad with its silkscreened application areas. They have been replaced by a conventional navigation disk, flanked by two app buttons on either side. Truth be told, that is not a bad thing. I was never convinced that Pocket PCs needed a notebook-style touchpad, and my guess is that most users will actually prefer this arrangement.
So what you get with the 210 is a conventional, or as it is now called "classic," Pocket PC, but one that uses state-of-the-art technology. The 210 runs Windows Mobile 6 on a 624MHz Marvell PXA310 processor. Right here, those familiar with Marvell's CPU lineup will probably wonder why HP didn't spring for the top-of-the-line 800MHz PXA320, and that is indeed a good question. Maybe it is for cost reasons, maybe it is because even a Pocket PC with a great VGA display now has to take a backseat to smartphone devices in the overall pecking order.
In terms of size, the 210 measures just about 5 x 3 inches. That is big these days, though it is actually a fraction smaller than the old 4700. Like the 4700, the 210 is thin -- just 0.63 inches -- but it does weigh almost seven ounces, so you do know it's in your pocket.
All the peripherals and connectivity are updated to the latest mobile standards. WiFi is now 802.11b/g, there is Bluetooth v2.0, and the expansion slot uses the standard SDIO format (amd not the micro-SD format we initially reported based on the draft HP press materials).
A bit more memory, please
Memory is at just 64MB of RAM with 256MB of Flash -- enough for a Pocket PC, but in this day and age of massive amounts of non-volatile storage even in el-cheapo MP3 players, a bit more would not have hurt.
Windows Mobile 6 Classic
Other than that, the iPAQ 210 is a Pocket PC, with the standard Pocket PC apps like Office Mobile and the mobile versions of the Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer, and Outlook. It's too bad Microsoft doesn't see fit to come up with a real browser now that Apple has shown it can easily be done with its most impressive Safari on the iPhone. You also get a variety of HP exclusive applications like the Bluetooth Manager, Asset Viewer, Photosmart Mobile, Mobile Print as well as vaarious utilities and helper apps.
Part of an enterprise mobility prograam
HP stresses that machines like the new 210 should be viewed as small pieces in the challenging puzzle that is an overall enterprise mobility program. And that they offer it all, from device-level support all the way to enterprise solutions, no matter where you are. That is certainly an advantage when dealing with a global company that truly does cover all aspect of enterprise IT systems, and has a long history of providing and supporting first-rate mobile devices.
The iPAQ 210 will no doubt appeal to those who loved the old iPAQ 4700, a device we felt was the best handheld on the market in its time. The 210 is an updated version of that terrific machine, and in several respect an even better one. It's also built around Marvell's speedy, economical next gen processor. It's not quite as sleek and elegant as the 4700 was, but if you need a large high-resolution screen in a powerful "classic" Pocket PC, this is it.
-- Conrad H. Blickenstorfer
Not so much:
- Awesome 4-inch 480 x 640 hi-res display
- Speedy, economical 624MHz Marvell PXA310
- Windows Mobile 6
- Clean, no-nonsense design
- Fast 802.11b/g Wifi and Bluetooth
- Design not as inspired as its spiritual predecessor (the 4700)