Posted Sept. 12, 2004 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief Page 3, continued from page
The iPAQ 6315 has an integrated VGA camera and
HP will offer a camera-less version for those whose workplace forbids
cameras. Like all VGA camera phones, it's great for capturing impromptu
shots, but won't replace your dedicated digital camera. As cameras
go, it narrowly beats the Samsung i700, Treo
600 and XDA
II cameras for
sharpness and exposure balance. The lens is located on the back
of the phone and doesn't swivel, so you'll need to move the phone
around to frame your shot. To take a photo, press the camera button
on the unit's right side or launch the camera app from the Start
Menu. The entire screen becomes your viewfinder, and it's in landscape
orientation. The viewfinder has a large shutter button (you can
also press the camera button on the unit's side to take a photo),
a help button, settings button and digital zoom buttons. You can
leave the camera on automatic exposure, or choose from several
settings, set color mode, compression (image quality) and size
(640 x 480, 320 x 240 and 160 x 120). The camera has a self timer,
shutter sound (you can turn it off) and you can set how long the
review window stays open after you take a shot. The sample photos
below were taken at 640 x 480 at the highest quality image setting.
Click on a photo to see the full size, unedited original photo.
After shooting a photo, you can send it via MMS
or email using Pocket Outlook (aka Inbox)-- just tap on the mail
button and select the method you prefer. The integration MMS into
Outlook makes sending photos a breeze and is much slicker than
other Pocket PC phones which use separate applications for MMS.
Of course, the camera app integrates well with HP Image Zone, so
you can save your photos and view or send them via a variety of
The iPAQ runs Windows Mobile 2003 Phone Edition
and includes the standard Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Windows
Media Player, Outlook, Pictures, Terminal Services and MSN Messenger
in ROM. HP adds their backup up (it's really the excellent Sprite
Backup) which can backup data to an SD card or backup PIM data
to a card or the File Store, HP Image Zone, an image viewer and
editor, iPAQ Wireless for managing wireless connections, and HP
HP Profiles greatly extends the concept of
mobile phone profiles that allow you to set ring volume based on
locations such as home, meeting and etcetera. You can create profiles
that will set a ringtone, ringtone volume, vibration, screen brightness,
wireless radio settings and power off settings. So you can have
a work setting that turns on WiFi, phone, has brightness set to
40%, and uses a staid ringer. Then you can create a home setting
that turns off WiFi but turns on Bluetooth, sets the brightness
to 75% and uses an amusing ring tone. You can also set profiles
to not change your current wireless settings so you're not disconnected
from WiFi or a Bluetooth headset you're using at the moment.
In addition, the unit comes with every popular instant messaging
client: MSN, Yahoo, AOL and ICQ. The camera app and HP Image
Zone integrate with inbox for sending MMS messages with ease.
Westtek's Clearvue Suite is included, and their PDF and PowerPoint
viewers are pre-installed in ROM.
HP includes iPAQ Wireless, a handy all-in-one
application for managing phone, WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connections.
You can run iPAQ Wireless by tapping on its icon on the taskbar
or by running it from the Start Menu. Each of the three large round
buttons allows you to turn that particular wireless radio on or
off. The button is green when the wireless radio is on, gray when
off and dull orange when the radio is on but hasn't established
a connection. The additional buttons take you to the settings screen
for each wireless radio. The phone settings button takes you to
the Connection Manager's settings for the T-Mobile connection(s),
though the settings are setup at the factory so you may never need
this. The WiFi settings button takes you to the list of available
WiFi access points. The Bluetooth settings button takes you to
a general set of settings while the Manager button takes you to
the familiar iPAQ/Widcomm Bluetooth Manager.
You can use all three wireless technologies simultaneously which is quite impressive. You can surf the Net via WiFi while in a call using a Bluetooth headset. As with all GSM phones, when using the GPRS connection for data, you won't be able to use voice services when a web page is loading or email is downloading. But once the web page has loaded, the GPRS connection goes dormant (yet remains connected) and you can use voice services.
The iPAQ 6315 has built-in WiFi 802.11b wireless
Ethernet networking. It has excellent range rivaled
that of any Pocket PC with integrated WiFi. The Connection Manager
found nearly every known WiFi access point within range, and Cirond's Pocket
WiNc got them all. Some of my notebooks with more high powered
radios and the latest Intel chipsets don't do as well. Windows
Mobile 2003 automatically notifies you of new access points in
range once you've left the area of your current connection. Users
liked this handy helper since most didn't leave their WiFi radios
on all day when traveling about town, lest the battery drain. But
the iPAQ has such good battery life, users are leaving WiFi on
all the time and some are annoyed by the notifications. You can
avoid these by setting the WiFi connection to use only preferred
connections, so it will only notify you of access points you've
previously connected to rather than every access point in range.
Mobile 2003 comes with a certificates application, and the iPAQ
has HP's Enroll, a certificate enroller, and the device supports
LEAP and WPA. The iPAQ supports VPN connections using IPSec/LT2P
and PPTP authentication and both WEP and 802.1X encryption.
The iPAQ uses HP's Bluetooth Wizard and Widcomm
drivers which are powerful and user-friendly. It walks you through
connecting to a variety of devices, from your ActiveSync partner
(if you have a USB Bluetooth adapter installed on your PC), to
Bluetooth headsets (handsfree, headset and even audio gateway
profiles are supported) to access points and GPS units. I
ActiveSync-ed wirelessly over Bluetooth, connected
to a Red-M Bluetooth
access point for Internet access, and transferred files to other
Bluetooth enabled Pocket PCs. The iPAQ can also serve an Internet
connection over Bluetooth (it has a Personal Network Server and
Dial-up Networking Server profiles), so you can use it as a
modem for your Bluetooth enabled notebook- nice touch! The 6315
is the only Pocket PC phone that supports both audio gateway
and standard headset profiles, so you can use a Bluetooth headset
for phone calls and to hear MP3s, alerts and other PDA-based
audio. Excellent! Bluetooth headsets work with MS Voice Command,
so you can press the Record button on the iPAQ (assuming you've
used this as your Voice Command button) and give the iPAQ commands— sweet!
The iPAQ has good range and sound quality with
most Bluetooth headsets, though you wouldn't want to listen to MP3s
over a mono headset connection for an hour. When Bluetooth is turned
on, it knows when a paired headset is in range and the headphone
icon (see image on page 1) appears in
the menu bar. When the headset is in range, calls will automatically
transfer to the headset and you'll see "sound waves" come
out of the headphone icon. If you use more than one headset (one
for the car and one for your head) you can pair with several, and
set one as the default. We tested the 6315 with the Bluetrek
headset and it had great sound volume and clarity, worked reliably
with MS Voice Command and was very stable in general. The Parrot
DriveBlue hands-free car kit also worked quite well for both
calls and MS Voice Command. The Actiontec Bluetooth headset had good
range and sound quality but didn't behave reliably with the iPAQ:
the iPAQ couldn't sense when the headset was out of range and thus
would sometimes hang transferring a call to the unavailable headset
or hang merely looking for the unavailable headset upon wakeup,
System (PDA) audio didn't always pipe to the headset either. The Plantronics
good range and sound clarity, though the quality degraded with some
crackling at 10 feet while the G2 managed
15 to 20 feet. The Jabra
BT250 worked well, and had a 10 foot range with good clarity Some
users have reported that the iPAQ occasionally has trouble waking from
standby when connected to the Jabra but we haven't had
that problem. Users report that the Motorola
HS810 does cause intermittent
wake from standby problems, requiring a soft reset. All the headsets
had very loud volume, as do wired headsets and stereo headphones. Thankfully
the internal speakers are the only quiet things on the iPAQ.
Above: the iPAQ Wireless Utility. Below, the iPAQ
connected to a BlueTrek G2 Bluetooth headset using both the headset
and audio gateway profiles.
Comparing the iPAQ 6315 to other Smartphones
Choice is a good thing, and there are several
competitors to consider when buying a Pocket PC phone. While the
iPAQ 6315 is the newest kid on the block, there are a few older
models on the market and some forthcoming models that compete.
XDA II: This
phone isn't for everyone since it was never offered in the US.
It's pricey at $850 to $900 from importers, you must configure
GPRS, SMS and MMS settings yourself, and your carrier will offer
no support for the phone. That said, it works well here in the
US and I've enjoyed using it on T-Mobile for the last four months.
It is currently the most powerful PPC phone, with a 400MHz processor,
128 megs of RAM, ATI graphics and great benchmarks. It too has
a VGA camera, though it's not quite as good as the HP, and Bluetooth
that's not as full featured as the iPAQ since it runs the Microsoft
Bluetooth stack and doesn't have many profiles. If you want WiFi,
you'll need to purchase an SD WiFi card. Battery life is about
1/2 that of the iPAQ and you will need to charge it every night
and top it up during the day if you're a heavy phone user or
like to use Bluetooth, WiFi or watch movies frequently. The iPAQ
is a marathon runner, while the XDA II is 100 meter sprinter.
The XDA III should be out in Europe sometime in November, and
importers will no doubt bring it to the US. Its specs are similar
to the XDA II, but it adds a slide-out thumb keyboard and may
have WiFi. The XDA II doesn't come with a keyboard, unlike the
6315. The XDA II is a tri-band GSM device that runs on 900/1800/1900MHz
bands, while the iPAQ is quad band, adding the new 850MHz band
used by Cingular/AT&T Wireless in the US. The XDA II is unlocked
and can be used with any provider while the 6315 is locked to
T-Mobile. T-Mobile will provide you with an unlock code if you've
been a customer in good standing for three months.
T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone (original
aging model is blown away by the iPAQ, as it should be since it's
the oldest and first Pocket PC phone. While processing speed is
similar, the iPAQ has more memory, Bluetooth, WiFi, a transflective
display, a user replaceable battery, SDIO and a camera, all of
which are lacking on the original XDA. If you're a satisfied US
T-Mobile customer with the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone, run, don't
walk, to upgrade to the iPAQ 6315.
Motorola MPx (MPx300): This phone has been making
appearances at trade shows since early 2004, but its release has
repeatedly been delayed. It too runs a TI OMAP processor, and at
200MHz isn't really faster than the iPAQ. It runs Windows Mobile
2003 SE which is nice: the dual hinge design allows you to flip
open the device in either portrait or landscape modes (only SE
devices support landscape orientation). The MPx has a significantly
smaller LCD, so it's harder on the eyes. It has an interestingly
designed integrated thumb keyboard that takes a bit of getting
used to. I've only played with prototypes, and we can't expect
much from these, but they have never been stable. The MPx, like
the iPAQ has WiFi and Bluetooth. It's a GSM triband device, and
doesn't support the 850MHz band. It will have a 1.3MP digicam,
the highest resolution camera on a PPC phone.
Samsung i700: I
liked this device when I had it, and reception was great thanks
to Verizon Wireless' excellent network. This model has been around
for 1.5 years, but has found new life when Verizon issued an
upgrade from Pocket PC 2002 to Windows Mobile 2003 in late Summer
2004. New devices ship with the 2003 OS. Since the device has
been out so long, it's unlikely we'll see an upgrade to Windows
Mobile 2003 SE. It's a CDMA phone which means great call clarity
in the US, but it won't work around the world. At 300MHz, it's
faster than the iPAQ, though Samsung's extreme power savings
settings slow it down (get the free Auto Step to speed things
up). It too has a VGA camera and an SDIO slot but lacks Bluetooth
and WiFi. It's reasonably compact (though larger than the 6315),
very attractive and comes with both a standard and extended battery.
It supports Verizon's high speed network for data, which is about
50% faster than GPRS.
Hitachi G1000: This
is an outdated model, and Sprint may replace it with a version
of the XDA III (known as the Daxian). It's very, very large and
heavy, but has a nice integrated keyboard that's not removable.
It has a 400MHz processor, but is hobbled by a scant 32 megs
of RAM. The device has a VGA camera and an SDIO slot (may require
a free updater). It has neither Bluetooth nor WiFi. It's offered
by Sprint PCS in the US and is a CDMA phone that works in the
US. It supports Sprint's high speed network
for data, which is about 50% faster than GPRS.
Treo 600: A very, very popular Palm OS smartphone,
offered by T-Mobile and Sprint. The T-Mobile version is GSM while
the Sprint is CDMA. Palm OS simplicity and stability can't be denied,
and these require fewer reboots than Pocket PCs. It has an integrated
keyboard that's very well laid out in terms of usability, but is
the smallest I've ever seen and you may find it hard to type on.
The unit is fast, solidly built and has an SD slot that supports
SDIO, though the slot has little power and so far no SD networking
cards are compatible. So if you want Bluetooth and WiFi, the Treo
600 isn't for you. It has a 160 x 160 screen that's really too
small for serious web browsing, but web pages do load fast using
the included browser. It too has a VGA camera.
Some users report that their 6315 hangs too frequently,
requiring a soft reset. To avoid that, make sure you're using a
Bluetooth headset that plays nicely with the iPAQ (there are a
few mentioned in our review). Even more important,
like some other Pocket PC phones, the iPAQ runs a lot of processes
out of the box-- around 22, and the absolute limit for the Windows
Mobile OS is an inadequate 32. At 28, the OS may start shutting
down apps to reduce running processes, and if one of those apps
happens to be the phone app or another one of core importance,
the device can hang (thanks, MS ). So,
make sure to not leave a lot of programs running. Use the Memory
control panel applet to kill programs you're not using at the moment,
or get the free task switcher/closer PocketNav, which runs from
the menu bar on the Today Screen and makes it easy to switch to
other apps or exit them. But don't close the Phone app.
The Windows Mobile OS convention is to leave every program you've
used running, and that's not so great, but MS doesn't want to change
that. Following these rules, my iPAQ never freezes.
HP's first iPAQ Pocket PC phone is definitely
a winner. It packs every feature a connected road warrior could
want, has great reception and call clarity and the price isn't
bad for a Pocket PC phone. While it's not the fastest PPC phone
on the block, it will outlast any other model on a charge, generally
offering twice the battery life of competing models. If you have
a need for speed, look elsewhere, but if you need a device that
can last the day easily, do consider the 6315.
Pro: Incredible battery
life, battery is user replaceable and a double-capacity battery
is available. Included standard battery has a high capacity.
Included thumb keyboard makes email and SMS a breeze. Good transflective
display that's the most viewable I've seen outdoors in years.
Has every current wireless technology: phone, WiFi and Bluetooth.
Decent VGA camera, great reception, compact attractive design
and an SD slot that supports SDIO. Very good set of Bluetooth
profiles and excellent Widcomm driver software. Currently the
only smartphone that supports both headset and audio gateway
Bluetooth profiles. Side grips and straight-sided design make
it comfy in the hand and ensure you'll keep a good grip.
Con: It's not fast. Internal
speaker volume isn't loud. Don't buy this model if you want to
playback DVDs recorded at very high bitrates: stick to 300 Kb/s
or import an XDA II. HP has indicated that an upgrade to Windows
Mobile 2003 Second Edition won't be forthcoming. First generation
Bluetooth headsets may not be stable with the unit (sometimes
you have to soft reset the iPAQ if it won't wake from standby
when connected to a first generation headset).
TFT color LCD, 64K colors, Screen Size Diag: 3.5",
Resolution: 240 x 320.
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.
A 3600 mA extended battery is available for purchase.
Instruments OMAP 1510 168MHz processor. 64 MB built-in
RAM (55 megs available). 20 MB Flash ROM
available in File Store for your use.
x 2.94 x .82 inches. Weight: 6.7 oz (190 g).
Phone:GSM quad band world phone: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz bands. GPRS class 10 for data.
Camera:VGA CMOS camera, .3 MP, capable of taking
still photos up to 640 x 480. It does not shoot videos.
in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone
jack. A 2.5 to 3.5mm adapter is included so you can use standard cell phone headsets. Voice Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player
9 included for your MP3 pleasure.
Networking:GPRS class 10, integrated
WiFi 802.11b and Bluetooth.
Mobile 2003 Phone Edition operating system. Microsoft
Pocket Office suite including Pocket Word, Excel,
Internet Explorer, and Outlook. Also, Terminal Services,
MSN Instant Messenger for Pocket PC, MS Reader,
Voice Recorder, File Explorer, Pictures, VPN
Client, ClearType Tuner as well as handwriting
recognition. 3rd party software: Westtek ClearVue
Suite, iPAQ Backup, HP Image Zone, HP Image Transfer,
AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, T-Mobile
Today Screen enhancements, T-Mobile email and aggregated
Instant Messaging. ActiveSync 3.7.1 and Outlook
2002 for PCs included.
SD (Secure Digital) slot supporting
SDIO and SDIO Now!. Can NOT use iPAQ expansion