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Home -> Windows Mobile Pocket PC Reviews -> HP iPAQ 110 / iPAQ 111

HP iPAQ 110

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Reviewed Feb. 4, 2008 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

Over a year ago when “PDA” was becoming a dirty word and "mobile phone" a buzzword, we asked the executives at HP’s handheld division if we’d see more iPAQs. The answer was "we will build them if our customers still want them". Fast forward to the present day when most PDA makers in the US have dropped the pure PDA (without phone) from their product lineup. But HP charged on, albeit after a long pause. The last entry-level iPAQ released in the US consumer market was the HP iPAQ rx1950 and that was back in late 2005. In late 2007, HP announced two new iPAQ PDAs (the iPAQ 100 and 200 series), the iPAQ 300 Travel Companion (with GPS) and two new 3G phones (the iPAQ 600 and 900 series). The iPAQ 110 Classic handheld is the first to see the light of day and the first entry-level PDA to run Windows Mobile 6. Confusing though it might seem, the iPAQ 110 and 111 are the same device: HP uses the final number to denote sales channel (retail store vs. corporate or direct sale).

HP iPAQ 110

For any entry level PDA, this iPAQ is pretty maxed-out. The HP iPAQ 110 has a Marvell PXA310 624 MHz processor, 64 MB SDRAM and 256 MB flash ROM, integrated WiFi 802.11 b/g, integrated Bluetooth v2.0 with EDR, a 3.5" TFT screen and a full-size SD card slot supporting SDIO slot for expansion. Like all previous iPAQs, the iPAQ 110 Classic supports data sync via mini-USB 2.0 port, and comes with a full set of applications for your PIM (personal information management) needs, Office mobile, email, a PDF viewer and Windows Media Player Mobile for music and video playback. The iPAQ comes with ActiveSync 4.5 and Outlook 2007 trial for Windows PCs.

It runs Windows Mobile 6 Classic, which is the new name for the non-phone version of the Windows Mobile 6 operating system (formerly called Pocket PC edition). Even though the iPAQ 110 is the first PDA to have the Windows Mobile 6 onboard, the OS needs no introduction because the market has seen so many Windows Mobile 6 phones already. For those who have not played with a WinMo 6 device, the new version (vs. Windows Mobile 5) offers a better email experience (full HTML, graphics, etc.) if you are using Outlook with Exchange Server 20007, improvements in Office mobile applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and a friendlier PIM experience such as smart calendar bar and contextual Contact management.

Design and Ergonomics

Reminiscent of the iPAQ rx1950, the iPAQ 110 adds some modern design touches including a curved top and a gunmetal front cover. The PDA has a very clean and sleek look with large buttons on the front and only two small side buttons. The front buttons flank a rectangular 5-way d-pad, and they’re assigned to calendar, Start menu, OK and email by default (you can assign them to launch other applications). The LED lights and the light sensor are above the display. The two small side buttons on the right side are for power and the voice recorder. There’s also a soft reset hole (to hard reset: hold Start menu, OK and voice recorder button while pressing the soft reset hole). An SD card slot lives on the left side and the 3.5mm audio jack sits on top right of the PDA next to the stylus silo.

 

 

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The back of the iPAQ 110 has a soft-touch surface that made its debut on the T-Mobile Dash Windows Mobile Smartphone in the US. The soft surface wrap around the sides of the iPAQ so that the device doesn’t slip out of your hand. The rear-firing speaker and the battery door live on the back of the unit. Weighing in at 3.68 ounces, the iPAQ is lighter than the iPAQ rx1950.

Horsepower and Performance

The HP iPAQ 110 runs on a 624 MHz Marvell PXA310 processor with 64MB SDRAM for running applications. That is the top of line processor with speed matched only by the HTC Advantage in the US. The PXA310 is one of Marvell’s newest processors (they bought Intel’s XScale line a while back) and it has hardware video acceleration. The perceived performance and video benchmarks support the glamorous specs. We used TCPMP for our video playback tests. The benchmark numbers on the iPAQ 110 are very impressive.

HP iPAQ 110
HP iPAQ 110

We threw our usual test file at it: "The Chosen" (a neat BMW flick with Clive Owen) which is a 4:26 minute long, 10 meg MPEG1 file recorded at 320 x 240, 308 kb/s. We tested the HP iPAQ 110 using TCPMP, an extremely fast open source free video player that supports MPEG1, DivX, ASF, WMV and AVI files. TCPMP played back "The Chosen" with strong benchmarks of:

Average speed: 687.02%
Video Frames: 2451
Audio Samples: 4572962
Amount of Data: 3884 KB

Bench. Frame Rate: 164.88
Bench. Sample Rate: 307660
Bench. Data Rate: 2.1Mbit/s

Orig. Frame Rate: 24fps
Orig. Data Rate: 312 kbit/s

We also tested a VGA resolution AVI file encoded at 700kb/s and got an average speed of 284%, which beats any other Windows Mobile device we’ve tested (including the Advantage and the 520MHz E-TEN X800). In fact, the next best device could barely play the flick at 100% (real time) speed.

The iPAQ 110 has total of 64MB SDRAM for running programs with about 25 MB free after boot. It has 256 MB flash memory with 195.6 MB available for your use. The RAM is on the short side, but 25MB free is actually pretty good by Pocket PC standards (some 64 meg devices have as little as 20 megs free). The 256 megs of storage is nice, and you can also expand that with an SD card. The SD card slot supports high capacity SDHC cards and we tested a 4GB Kingston card the device worked fine. In addition it supports SDIO, though the most popular SDIO card is WiFi and that’s already built-in.

Display, Gaming and Multimedia

HP PDAs have a long-standing tradition of having great displays, and the new iPAQs are no exception. Though not as impressive as the VGA 4-inch display on the iPAQ 200, the iPAQ 110’s 3.5-in bright display is still a rare find among today’s sub-3” displays on most Windows Mobile 6 phones. The large screen is very bright; and there’s an Auto Sensor that adjusts the brightness (brightness can be set manually as well). The brightest settings can turn the device’s screen into a bright flashlight. The colors are saturated and balanced on the iPAQ’s 65K color display, and photos, videos and games look good on the screen. There is a built-in screen lock function that allows you to tap the app on the screen to lock it and unlock with 2 screen taps. This is handy because the iPAQ is easily turned on accidentally.

HP iPAQ 110
HP iPAQ 110

Gaming is a joy on the iPAQ 110 thanks to the gorgeous large display and a fast 624 MHz processor. Most games use the D-pad as a game control and the rectangular D-pad on the iPAQ works well. Audio through the built-in speaker is decent but a little tinny though. We tested several Pocket PC games including Arvale: Journey of Illusion by PDAmill, Resco Guardians – Ultimate Collection by Resco and Anthelion 2: Celestial Vigilance; and with exception of Resco Guardians having a few frame drops, all games ran very smoothly. If you are a Pocket PC gamer, you won’t be disappointed by the gaming experience on the iPAQ 110.

Thanks to the excellent video playback performance, movies (with mobile-level encoding) look great on the iPAQ 110 without any frame drops or refresh delays. The screen shows of the videos nicely with excellent colors and clarity. For those who aren’t familiar with Windows Media Player Mobile, it doesn’t support YouTube videos, desktop or mobile version. Windows Media Player 10 Mobile supports WMA, WAV and PlaysForSure files, but not AAC files. The sound through the integrated speaker is as tinny with low volume. Through 3.5mm stereo headphones, the sound quality improved but not volume. The best sound performance with the HP iPAQ 110 comes through Bluetooth wireless stereo headphones such as the Plantronics Pulsar 590A. The sound was full, channel separation was great and volume was loud when playing music through the Plantronics.

WiFi and Bluetooth

Even without the cellular radio, the HP iPAQ 110 is more connected than last generation entry level PDAs. It has integrated WiFi 802.11 b/g that supports WPA 2 authentication and Bluetooth v2.0 with EDR. The iPAQ comes with HP’s own wireless connections manager where you can manage both WiFi and Bluetooth connections. The WLAN manager allows you to set up VPN, proxy servers and more, and lists all WiFi access points in range. The WiFi range on the iPAQ is outstanding; it not only sees every WiFi router in the area, but also had a solid connection to our own network inside and outside of the building. Web pages loaded fast and email downloaded quickly in our tests.

HP iPAQ 110

The iPod Touch and HP iPAQ 110.

For Bluetooth, the HP uses the Broadcom Bluetooth stack (version 1.8) which supports audio gateway for stereo headphones (A2DP), DUN (Dial-Up Networking), ActiveSync, Hands-free/Headset profiles, connecting to a Bluetooth access point, HID (Human interface devices) including Bluetooth keyboards and mice, serial port and FTP. File transfer was fast thanks to the EDR support, and DUN worked well in our tests using the LG Shine on AT&T.

Battery Life

The HP comes with a standard rechargeable 3.7v Lithium-Ion battery (model number HSTNH-S11B) that’s 1200 mAh in capacity. The battery is user changeable. Even without the cellular radio found on the Windows Mobile 6 phones, the HP iPAQ 110 Classic still has a lot to power: a top of the line CPU, a large display, WiFi (if turned on) and Bluetooth radios. The battery life shows the burden of a fast performance PDA: playing video for 30 minutes, listening to music for 30 minutes, turning on WiFi and browsing the Internet for 15 minutes and Turning on Bluetooth to pair with a couple of headsets and transfer a few files was enough to send our iPAQ to the charger. The battery should last 2 to 3 days with light use of the PIM applications, infrequent email checking and a few hours of music playback with the screen off. If you need more juice than that, HP sells spare standard batteries for $49.99.

Software

The software bundled on the HP iPAQ 110 is similar to the bundles on Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PCs, with some updates to both the OS and applications. Windows Mobile 6 adds several improvements over Windows Mobile 5. If your company is using Microsoft Exchange 2007, you will see some big improves in your email: full HTML display with images, tables, etc. and better ways to share your calendars, events and more. Microsoft Office Mobile got a little makeover as well in displaying advanced formatting (charts, tables, etc.), but it remains inferior to the desktop version of the software. The iPAQ also comes with Internet Explorer Mobile, Windows Media Player 10 Mobile and the Windows Live Messenger client. The PIM contacts are the usual suspects: Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Tasks (all of which sync to Windows desktops), Calculator and tools like ClearVue PDF viewer and Microsoft’s Pictures and Videos viewer. As in WinMo 5, the HP iPAQ comes with two basic games: Bubble Breaker and Solitaire.

Conclusion

You get a lot of features for the price. The iPAQ has the fastest processor currently available on a PDA, a large and excellent display, integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, and a software bundle that covers Office Mobile, email, music and video playback, picture and PDF viewing. We wish for longer battery life and more RAM, but neither of these hobble the device. At $299.99, the iPAQ 110 is an easy choice for those looking for an affordable PDA sans phone.

Pro: Fast! The sleek and slim form will attract fashion-conscious users. Strong WLAN performance might give notebooks run for their money. Video playback is great and gaming is a joy on the iPAQ.

Con: Built-in speaker is a disappointment. Battery life isn’t stellar and we wish the iPAQ had 128 megs of RAM.

Price: $299.99

Warranty: 1-year parts and labor. 90-day technical support for software.

Web site: www.hp.com

Shopping: Where to Buy

 

Specs:

Display: 3.5-inch transflective TFT touch screen. 65K color, 240 x 320 pixel resolution. LED backlight.

Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, 1200 mAh. Battery is user changeable.

Performance: Marvel PXA310 processor, 624MHz. 64MB SDRAM main memory for running applications. 256 MB flash ROM for storing data.

Size: 4.59 x 2.71 x 0.54 inches. Weight: 3.68 ounces.

Audio: Integrated speaker, mic and 3.5mm 4-pin headphone jack. Voice Recorder and Windows Media Player 10 Mobile (v10.3) included for voice recording and MP3 playback.

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11 b/g with WPA 2 security. Bluetooth v2.0 with EDR support. Mini-USB 2.0 for syncing with PC.

Software: Windows Mobile 6 Classic operating system. HP software bundle includes iPAQ Wireless Manager, HP Photosmart Mobile, HP QuickStart Tour/Setup Assistant and Bluetooth Manager. Microsoft software bundle includes Office Mobile, Office Outlook Mobile, Internet Explorer Mobile, and Windows Media Player 10. Windows Live Messenger client also included. PIM apps and tools include Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Tasks, Calculator, ClearVue PDF viewer and Picture/video viewer. Games include Bubble Breaker and Solitaire.

Expansion: 1 SD card slot with support for SDIO and SDHC high capacity cards over 2 gigs.

In the Box: The HP iPAQ 110 Classic handheld, standard battery, stylus, AC adapter with power cord, mini USB sync/charge cable, slip case, documentation, HP iPAQ Companion CD.

 

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