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HP iPAQ 1940/1945 and 1935 Pocket PC

Review by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief, posted July 23, 2003

Discontinued Fall 2004, replaced by the iPAQ rz1715 and rx3115

The iPAQ 1940 and 1945 (they're the same unit with different model numbers used to designate the retail channel through which they're sold) are HP's follow-up to the the hugely popular, slim and elegant iPAQ 1910. Though the 1945 looks the same as the 1910 with the exception of some minor trim changes, it has several notable improvements over the 1910, while maintaining the $299 list price. The 1945 runs the Windows Mobile 2003 operating system (also called Pocket PC 2003), has integrated Bluetooth and supports SDIO. While the 1910 wasn't very expandable, the 1945 is thanks to Bluetooth and SDIO— good going, HP! The iPAQ 1935 looks identical to the 1945 and is indeed very similar except that it runs at 200 MHz and doesn't have Bluetooth.

HP iPAQ 1940
back of HP iPAQ 1945

 

What is Pocket PC 2003, aka Windows Mobile 2003?

Pocket PC2003 is based on Windows CE 4.2, while prior Pocket PC and Pocket PC 2002 PDAs were based on Windows CE 3.0. Microsoft is calling all new devices based on Pocket PC 2003 "Windows Mobile 2003". What's the difference between Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003 PDAs? You won't notice much difference at all. There are numerous bug fixes, improvements in page rendering times for Internet Explorer, a more friendly user interface for setting up network connections and networking changes under the hood.

There are two versions of Pocket PC 2003: Pro for the more basic Pocket PC models and Premium for higher end Pocket PCs. The 1945 runs the Pro version. Apps like Terminal Services, MS Reader, Spell Checker for Pocket Word and the new Pictures app are built into the OS stored in ROM in the Premium Edition, but don't come with the Pro version. You can however download MS Reader from Microsoft's web site.

Features and Horsepower

The iPAQ 1945 (that's the model we have, so we'll use that model number) has a transflective display, an SD slot that supports SDIO, built-in Bluetooth wireless networking and standard IR (Nevo and consumer grade IR don't come with the 1945). The iPAQ 1945 is the first Pocket PC to run Samsung's S3C2410 266 ARM family processor, which is less expensive and supposedly very power-frugal. You can check out our benchmarks below to see how the Samsung processor compares to XScale models. It does quite well for its clock speed, and feels plenty fast enough when using PIM apps, playing intensive games such as Interstellar Flames and watching videos with Pocket Media Player. In fact, I was surprised at how well it did with games and movies, given the unimpressive graphics benchmarks. The 1935 uses the same processor running at a slower 203 MHz.

The 1945 has 32 megs of ROM and 64 megs of RAM. 56 megs of RAM are available to the user to run and store applications, and 13.24 megs of flash ROM are available as the iPAQ File Store. The battery is user replaceable, which means you can swap a new one in whenever power's running low, or simply replace a tired battery easily.

Design, Buttons and Ergonomics

If you're familiar with the 1910, you'll be right at home with the 1945 because nothing has changed. It's the same size and weight, and sports the same buttons and directional pad. The four program buttons surround the 5-way d-pad, and the IR port is located on the upper left side just below the record button. The 1945 is the smallest and lightest Pocket PC, and that's one of several reasons why the 1900 series has been so popular. The unit is about the size of the Palm m515. It's quite attractive and modern looking, and its plastic casing is the same brushed aluminum-looking finish used on the 1910 and iPAQ 2215.

 

 

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Compatibility and Expandability

The connector on the 1945 is the same as the iPAQ 1910. Accessories made for the 1910 should work on the 1945. The 1945 offers more expansion options than does the 1910. You can use Bluetooth accessories and SD networking cards such as SanDisk's SD WiFi card which will be out in August 2003 (we'll be reviewing that card soon).

A few apps like Pocket MVP don't yet run on Pocket PC 2003 OS. Microsoft Money doesn't come with the 1945. You can download Money for Pocket PC 2003, but you'll need to buy or upgrade to MS Money 2004 if you want to sync Money on the Pocket PC to your PC.

Screen and Sound

Transflective displays are the best around and the 1945 has one. It's a 3.5" display like the 1910, rather than the 3.8" found on the top of the line iPAQs. Transflective screens reflect ambient light to illuminate the screen (for outdoor viewability and power savings) and have backlighting. The display is quite nice and has good contrast and color saturation. It's not as bright as the iPAQ 5000 series models or the 2215, but it's still more than bright enough. The screen has a faint yellow color cast that you may notice when looking at white backgrounds.

The sound volume is quite loud. MP3s sound great when using stereo headphones connected to the included 2.5mm to 3.5mm audio adapter. The Audio control panel applet allows you to set the recording environment for the mic, and turn on AGC (automatic gain control). You can also use this applet to set the headphone volume independent of the speaker volume.

Battery Life

The iPAQ 1945 has a 900 mA Lithium Ion battery which isn't that large compared to full-featured PPCs. It's the same battery used in the 1910, and you should get 3 hours of actual use per charge.

battery compartment

Above, the back of the PDA removed so the battery can be replaced.

 

Pocket PC 2003 Changes to MS Built-in Applications

1. Pocket Internet Explorer now supports HTML 4.0, xHTML, JScript 5.5 and WAP 2.0. It does render pages better and more quickly, and better still, it requires less memory to run.
2. The Contacts app now supports vCAL and vCARD.
3. Media Player 9 is a great improvement: you'll definitely notice improved frame rates and buffering.
4. File Explorer now can connect to network shares (shared folders on Windows machines).
5. You get a new game built into ROM, called Jawbreaker. It's the same as Bubblets.
6. The OS has stronger built-in support for WiFi networking and can simplify connecting to WiFi networks.

Bluetooth

Yay, the 1945 has Bluetooth. The interface is the same as the iPAQ 2215, iPAQ 5555 and iPAQ 5450. It's got a very user-friendly wizard interface that walks you through the steps of connecting to Bluetooth devices. The 1945 supports connections to cell phones, access points, other Bluetooth enabled computers and PDAs, ActiveSync and serial connections such as modems and GPS devices. We tested the 1945 with Socket's Bluetooth GPS and it worked like a champ. It bonded easily and maintained a quick and reliable connection with the GPS. Note that the iPAQ 1930/1935 models do NOT have Bluetooth.

Software Bundle

Even though the iPAQ 1945 is a budget Pocket PC, you get a decent bundle of 3rd party software. Bundled 3rd party software includes Resco Explorer 2003 (an excellent full-featured explorer and file manager that includes the ability to browse network shares and a registry editor), Resco Picture Viewer (allows you to view MPEG video, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, CFX, PSD, PCX, and RAW image files), HP Printing, ClearVue Office Suite™ (allows you to view native MS Office docs and print them) and Real One Player. There are also several additional demo apps on the CD.

Pocket Windows Media Player 9 is included, as are the usual suspects: Pocket versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and Internet Explorer. MS Money is no longer included and neither the version that ships with Money 2003 nor the version that came with Pocket PC 2002 PDAs will install. You can download a new version for Pocket PC 2003 PDAs, and sync that to MS Money 2004 on the desktop . The iPAQ runs Pocket PC 2003 Pro Edition and comes with MS Outlook 2002 for the PC.

 

screen shot

The Bluetooth Wizard.

Benchmarks

We've run benchmarks using VOBenchmark 3.0 from Virtual Office Systems. I've compared the iPAQ 2215 and the Toshiba e355, all of which run Pocket PC 2003. Higher numbers are better (shown in bold).

Test (all are Pocket PC 2003 models) HP iPAQ 1945 (Samsung 266 MHz) HP iPAQ 2215 (XScale 400 MHz PXA 255) Toshiba e355 (XScale, 300 MHz PXA 255)
CPU Floating Point 9.33 12.68 9.49
CPU Integer 18.39 26.96 20.13
Graphics Bitmap BitBlt 28.06 78.25 7.54 (oddly low!)
Graphics Bitmap StretchBlt 14.40 (grow) 11.50 (shrink) 76.70 (grow) 28.60 (shrink) 94.50 (grow) 128.70 (shrink)
Graphics Filled Ellipse 2.67 4.68 1.53
Graphics Filled Rectangle 5.99 12.94 2.03
Graphics Filled Round Rect. 2.15 3.82 1.09
GAPI Lines 35.90 N/A N/A
Memory Allocation 8.56 11.23 8.44
Memory Fill 1.34 1.97 1.04
Memory Move 0.77 1.24 0.85
Text 6.20 (ClearType enabled) 5.20 (ClearType enabled) 6.10 (ClearType enabled)
SD Storage Cards 64 meg SanDisk card was used 256 meg SanDisk card was used 256 meg SanDisk card was used
LRR/LRW 1.40/0.30 0.62/0.08 0.48/0.08
LSR/LSW 1.39/0.32 0.61/0.19 0.49/0.31
SRR/SRW 419.26 /0.86 238.18 /0.48 186.84 /0.18
SSR/SSW 37.69/2.05 14.08/9.51 11.53/7.25

Conclusion

Pro: This is a great follow-up to the popular iPAQ 1910. It's got a good amount of internal memory, a nice transflective display, runs the new Pocket PC 2003 OS and comes in a very elegant, slim and light package. SDIO support means you'll be able to use WiFi and other I/O cards when they're available. Bluetooth adds to the expandability, and iPAQ Bluetooth is one of the most friendly and robust implementations on a Pocket PC. Con: You won't be able to use keyboards and GPS units that connect directly to the serial port, only sync and charge cables/cradles. Battery life could be better, but considering the diminutive size of the 1945, the battery size is decent.

1940 Suggested list price $299. 1935 suggested list price $249.
The 1940 and 1945 have different model numbers because HP uses different model numbers to track sales in consumer vs. business channels. Both come with a USB cable, charger, one battery, CD with software and PDF manuals.

 

Specs:

Display: transflective 3.5" TFT color LCD, 64,000 colors. Resolution: 240 x 320.

Battery: 900 mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.

Performance: Samsung S3C2410 266 MHz processor (1940/1945), 203 MHz (1930/1935). 32 MB NAND Flash ROM, 64 MB built-in RAM (56 megs available to user).

Size: 4.46" x 2.75" x 0.5". Weight Approximately 4.27 oz.

Wireless: The 1940/1945 has Bluetooth, while the 1935 does not.

Software: Pocket PC 2003 operating system. Microsoft Pocket Office suite including Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Reader, and Outlook. Also Voice Recorder, Windows Media Player for Pocket PC as well as handwriting recognition. HP Printing, Resco Explorer, Resco Picture Viewer, Real One Player and Westtek ClearVue Office suite are also included.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 2.5mm (cell phone size!) stereo headphone jack with adapter for standard 3.5mm headphones. Voice Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player 9 included.

Expansion: 1 SD (Secure Digital) slot. Has SDIO support. Does not accept iPAQ expansion sleeves.

 

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