Hitachi G1000 Pocket PC Phone Edition
2002 from Sprint PCS
Posted August 6 2003, by Lisa
Gade, Editor in Chief
Until recently, if you wanted a Pocket PC Phone
Edition model in the US, you had one choice: the popular T-Mobile running
on GSM networks. Older models like the Toshiba 2032 actually ran
Pocket PC 2002 OS with voice and data software from Sierra Wireless
added on. Now thanks to Verizon's Samsung i700 and Sprint PCS'
Hitachi SH-G1000, we have two excellent choices that run on CDMA
networks in the US.
The Hitachi G1000 is the first Pocket PC, let
alone Phone Edition, to have an integrated thumb keyboard. Since
the days of the RIM Blackberry, thumb keyboards have become the
mantra of business users who needed email on the go. Along with
the Samsung i700, it's also the first to have an integrated VGA
Design and Ergonomics
This is a surprisingly large unit by today's
standards, outsizing both regular Pocket PCs and other Pocket PC
Phone Edition models. If you're looking for a smartphone that will
easily fit in your pocket, then look elsewhere. If you carry your
devices in a briefcase, purse or on a belt clip then the G1000
may work well for you.
The Hitachi has an attractive two tone silver
and black plastic case that tapers a bit near the bottom to make
it easier to hold. The antenna is at the top and is not extendable.
The camera sits on the top left and swivels to facilitate taking
pictures in a variety of settings. There are two LEDs on the top
right and one on the left side to indicate charging and wireless
status and one LED flashes when you have reminders.
The Hitachi G1000 compared to the Kyocera
7135 Palm OS Smartphone
Unlike Pocket PCs, the Hitachi doesn't have the
usual four buttons to launch built-in PIM applications such as
calendar and contacts, nor does it have a voice record button.
You can however assign one of the 8 function keys to launch these
or any other applications. Gamers may not find this smartphone
to be to their liking since many games make use of the four front
buttons found on Pocket PCs.
On the left side, you'll find the standard 2.5mm headset
jack, SD slot, jog dial, voice activated dialing button, a 3 position
slider switch that lets you select from various ring modes (office, silent
and etc) and a key guard switch. On the right side, there's a volume
up/down switch that controls Pocket PC volume when not in a call, and
call volume when in a call. The unit has a speaker above the display
and mic in the keyboard area for phone conversations, and a large speaker
on the back which is used for Pocket PC applications and ring tones.
The G1000 has a 3.5" transflective 65,000 color
display. It's not as bright as current iPAQ models, and is on par with
the Dell Axim X5 . It has the most outdoor readable display I've seen
on a transflective device.
Wireless service is provided by Sprint PCS, and the
phone supports PCS Vision, Sprint's name for their high speed 1xRTT data
network capable of speeds up to 144k and averaging about 60 - 70k these
days in metro areas.
It's a single band phone that runs on the Sprint PCS
1900 MHz CDMA band, which means it should work anywhere in the US where
Sprint PCS digital service is available. Note that digital data connections
require you to be in a digital service area and to use the high speed
PCS Vision data connection, you'll need to be in one of the many major
metro areas that offer this service. Given the aggressive rollout of
high speed service in the US, Sprint should have most major cities covered.
The Hitachi G1000 offers very good voice quality and
decent signal strength indoors and out. I expected an even stronger signal
given the size of the unit, but it's certainly adequate and didn't drop
any calls here in the Silicon Valley area. It has a speakerphone, voice
dialing and works with standard cell phone headsets. Sprint includes
a 2.5mm to 3.5mm standard stereo mini-jack adapter so you can listen
to MP3s and movies using standard headphones.
How much will wireless services cost you? Check out
the Sprint PCS web
site for rates and plans. The pricing runs from $45 to $100, with
PCS Vision free for the $100 2,000 anytime minute plan. For lesser plans,
you'll pay $10 plus charges per k of downloaded data.
Pocket PC Phone Edition models have good PDA-phone
integration. You can dial anyone in your contacts list by tapping and
holding on their name in the contact list (this will dial their work
number) or by tapping a phone number while you've got a contact's record
In addition the Hitachi G1000 supports speed dialing
and voice dialing (PCS Voice Command). You can even connect to the web
by telling the unit to "call the web"!
If you wish to dial a number that's not in your contacts
list, you can press the Call button to bring up an on-screen dialer.
The numbers are large enough to facilitate finger dialing, and there
are talk, end, speed dial and call log buttons on the keypad screen as
well. While in the phone dialer screen you can use the Notes and Contacts
icon in the taskbar to jot quick notes while in conversation, or look
up a contact for quick dialing.
Horsepower and Battery Life
The Hitachi G1000 has an XScale processor running at
400 MHz and 32 megs of RAM. Performance is very good thanks to the top-of-the-line
processor and all applications felt snappy. Video and MP3 playback were
quite smooth. You can set the unit to run at full speed, or slow speed
to conserve battery. On full speed settings, the Hitachi did as well
as the very zippy iPAQ 2215 using VO Benchmark.
I do wish the G1000 had more than 32 megs of RAM, which
is currently at the low end of the Pocket PC spectrum. This isn't a huge
issue since you can expand the unit's memory by purchasing SD or MMC
storage cards. The SD slot does not support SDIO, which means you won't
able to use the slot for SD WiFi or Bluetooth cards. (Update 2/2004:
Hitachi and Sprint have made an updater available that adds SDIO and
SDIO Now! support here.
The G1000 comes with a Lithium Ion battery that's user-replaceable.
The battery is under a cover on the rear of the unit. Interestingly,
the Hitachi will turn off the phone section if you remove the cover.
The G1000 comes with a desktop cradle and a charger that you can plug
into the cradle or plug directly into the phone (handy when traveling).
Under average use, you should be able to get one to two full days use
The Hitachi has an integrated VGA digicam that
allows you to take pictures at 640 x 480, 320 x 240 and 160 x
120 resolutions at fine or normal quality settings. The camera
swivels 180 degrees front to back. The camera application allows
you to adjust image brightness via a slider, and has 5 white
balance settings: auto, sunny, cloudy, fluorescent and tungsten.
The camera app gives you a choice of three shutter sound settings:
a standard shutter sound, a female voice that tells your subject
to "Say cheese" (really!) or off.
To take a picture, simply launch the camera
application and press the on-screen shutter button. The button
is large enough to accommodate a finger, so you won't have to
whip out your stylus. 640 x 480 images taken in fine mode were
about 350k in size, and in normal mode were only 36k in size.
Obviously there's a lot less compression used for fine mode and
the images show less color fringing and distortion in fine mode.
You can use Sprint's Picture Mail service to email photos taken
with the camera, or simply download the standard JPEG files to
your hard drive.
How is the image quality? Pretty decent and
a bit better than many other VGA PDA digicams. It has a fixed
focus lens, which means that images aren't that sharp, but you
won't notice this unless you download them to your PC. On the
Hitachi's screen, they look quite good. Image sharpness can be
improved on the PC by re-sizing images down. Color balance was
reasonably good, though the camera does tend to take photos that
are darker than the actual scene.
The Hitachi has a standard QWERTY keyboard
layout, and is comfy to use. The hard plastic keys are slanted
diagonally outward allowing for thumb (rather than fingernail)
typing, and give good tactile feedback. Key travel is quite good
for a thumb keyboard, and sensitivity was right on target: I
didn't have to press unduly hard, nor did I accidentally press
The top row of keys do double duty as function
and number keys. All other keys are just where you'd expect them:
tab on the left, backspace and carriage return on the right,
with the spacebar centered in the middle. The function key and
number key buttons are on the lower right, and are color coded
blue and black respectively. The keys are not backlit.
The G1000 comes with ActiveSync 3.7 and Outlook
2000 for the desktop. Sprint's handy today screen launcher is
pre-installed, and that gives you quick access to the call log,
speed dial, voice mail, camera application, commonly used applications
and a list of running programs (you can stop any or all programs
using this tool). The CD contains quite a few applications, but
most of these are demo rather than full versions. The full versions
of Westtek's ClearVue suite is included in ROM. ClearVue allows
you to view Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents as well as PDFs.
Hitachi's own backup program is pre-installed in ROM.
Sample Photos taken at 640 x 480 in fine mode on
auto white balance and brightness set to the default mid-point.
Click on photos to see the full size unedited image.
Oddly, this was a sunny day!
Pro: Nice transflective display (not as common
on smartphones) and a fast processor make you feel that you aren't
missing out on top-of-the-line PDA features by going for a convergence
device. Excellent voice quality. Runs on the high speed PCS Vision
network which makes web browsing bearable. Very good keyboard will
be a Godsend for email addicts. Included audio adapter means you
can listen to MP3s using standard stereo headphones. Con: The unit
is VERY large. Only 32 megs of RAM. No SDIO means you won't be
able to use this for WiFi or Bluetooth networking. Single band
means no roaming on Verizon's 800 MHz network and no analog service.
Display: 3.5" 320
x 240 pixel color transflective display with 65,000
MHz Intel XScale processor. 32 megs of RAM.
Size: 5.8" x
3.3" x .9". 8.4 oz.
in speaker and headphone jack for headsets and
headphones. Stereo output via headphones. Supports
alarm sounds, LED alert and vibrating alerts.
SD (Secure Digital) slot. Download the updater from
Sprint to get SDIO.
Comes with 1 rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries.
PC 2002 operating system. Microsoft Pocket Office
suite including Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer,
Reader, and Outlook. Also, Terminal Services, MSN
Instant Messenger for Pocket PC and Voice Recorder
as well as handwriting recognition.Westtek
ClearVue Office Suite™ is included.
supporting 1xRTT for data. Service provided by Sprint
PCS in the US. Single band CDMA 1900 MHz (PCS).