The problem with sound volume seems to be software related, since I used an audio editor to increase the volume of my ringtones and alerts, and now I never miss the phone ringing or an alarm. Perhaps HP will offer an updater to improve sound volume.
The iPAQ has a rear firing speaker for alarms and system sounds, so you won't be deafened by these should they go off when you're in a phone conversation. The phone speaker is located above the display in the black plastic cap, and the mic is located on the bottom, next to the Contacts button. The snap on keyboard has a hole for the mic, so you can use the phone with keyboard without degrading sound. The iPAQ has a vibrate function.
Like other iPAQs, the unit has an iPAQ Audio control panel applet that allows you to adjust treble and bass output, use AGC (automatic gain control) for the mic or set gain manually. When listening to MP3s and videos through a set of stereo headphones, sound is excellent and the volume is more than adequate. Unlike other smartphones, the iPAQ has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack commonly found on non-phone Pocket PCs, so you can plug in your favorite set of headphones to listen to tunes. HP includes a 2.5 to 3.5mm adapter in the box so you can use standard mobile phone headsets and they also include a mono cell phone headset with earbud and mic (but no call send and end buttons).
The iPAQ has an 1,800 mAh Lithium Ion battery, which is a large capacity for a standard battery. A 3,600 mAh extended battery is available for purchase separately, and that battery slides in place of the standard battery, increasing the phone's thickness. Most folks probably won't need the extended battery because battery life on this device is truly exceptional for a Pocket PC phone and even for a Palm OS smartphone both of which require nightly charging. The iPAQ runs twice as long as the powerhouse XDA II (aka i Mate Pocket PC Phone), and with light phone use with all wireless features turned on, can achieve 7 hours of continuous usage.
To test battery life, I made approximately 10 calls lasting 30 minutes total, left both WiFi and Bluetooth turned on all day, used the device frequently for PIM lookups, playing four ~ 8 minute movies and surfed the web using WiFi for an hour. The 6315 still had 65% charge at day's end. To top it off, I used a Bluetooth headset for one half of those calls, which drains more power than using the internal speaker and mic. I did another WiFi test session, with the battery level starting at 68% and I surfed the web using NetFront 3.1 for an hour and the battery level dropped to 55%. That's miraculous! Using other Pocket PCs and WiFi, an hour generally consumes 40% or more power, even with CPU power savings (drops the clock speed down) enabled. I have no idea how HP has managed this feat, but it is indeed liberating! For all tests, screen brightness was set to 55%, which was bright enough to suit us at the office. No Pocket PC comes close to standard feature phone runtimes except the iPAQ. Though the average GSM camera phone with Bluetooth can still make it to three days between charges if you're a light phone, camera and PIM user while the iPAQ will likely need a charge every other day with light use. Comparisons between smartphones and feature phones aren't that straight forward because folks tend to use the PDA functions several times a day on smartphones while feature phones don't even offer these functions.
HP includes a snap on thumb keyboard, which is ingenious. Prefer a smaller phone and have no need for the keyboard— leave it at home. Need that keyboard all the time for emails and instant messaging, keep it clipped on the phone. Sometimes need just the phone and need a keyboard at others? Carry the phone keyboard-less, but keep that keyboard in your purse or pocket for times when you need it. A very versatile design that will suit most everyone. Thankfully, the keyboard is larger than the Treo 600's, which is as small as a keyboard can go while remaining at all useful. The keyboard is a bit smaller than most accessory thumb keyboards sold separately by 3rd party manufacturers, so it doesn't add that much bulk yet it is quite usable. HP hit a good middle ground with this design.
The keyboard driver is pre-installed, so you need only snap the keyboard onto the iPAQ and begin typing. You can turn the driver off if you wish, turn on key clicks and adjust repeat rate. This driver also works with HP's Folding Keyboard, though when detaching that keyboard, sometimes the iPAQ thinks it's still there, so disable the keyboard driver before disconnecting the HP Folding Keyboard (this isn't necessary with the thumb keyboard).
The keyboard has round, domed keys that don't require a great deal of pressure to push and click lightly when depressed. It's a standard QWERTY layout with an embedded number pad and the number keys are a darker shade of gray. The keyboard's blue function key enables numbers, punctuation and foreign symbols which are masked in blue on the keys. You don't have to hold down the function when entering a phone number. Instead you can turn on Fn key lock by pressing the blue key twice so you can dial a phone number in the phone app or enter a long string of numbers in Excel. To disable Fn lock, simply press the blue key once more. The keyboard also has embedded arrow keys, buttons for call send and end and Contacts and Email buttons. Unfortunately, the keys aren't backlit, so you won't be able to type in dark or dimly lit rooms.
Next-> Go to Review Page 3 (WiFi, Bluetooth, camera, software, comparisons and conclusion)