Posted June 19, 2003 by Lisa
Gade, Editor in Chief Discontinued and replaced by the iPAQ
hx2000 series models
The iPAQ 2210 and 2215 (they're the same unit
with different model numbers used to designate the retail channel
through which they're sold) is big news. Why? The 2210/2215 is
the first iPAQ with an integrated CF slot and SD slot, and at a
relatively modest $399, it packs a lot of bang for the buck. It's
also one of the first Pocket PC 2003 PDAs to hit the market. In
fact, Microsoft is scheduled to officially announce the release
of Pocket PC 2003 PDAs on June 23rd, but some 2210 and 2215's have
hit the shelves a few days prior, like ours.
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", including Pocket PC Phone Edition PDAs with
the new OS. 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, networking changes under the hood, and support for
3rd party applications that are written for the XScale processor.
The OS itself still has not been optimized for the newer and faster
XScale processor, but now developers can offer enhanced versions
of their applications that should run noticably faster. This means
that demanding applications like multimedia players and games will
likely offer more features and run faster in the future.
There are two versions of Pocket PC 2003: Pro
for the more basic Pocket PC models and Premium for higher end
Pocket PCs. To the end user, the differences won't be terribly
important, except that MS Reader seems to be absent from the Pro
version. Apps like Terminal Services, MS Reader and the new Pictures
app are built into the OS stored in ROM in the Premium Edition,
while you must install it from the CD into RAM on Pro Edition (or
not get it all).
Features and Horsepower
The iPAQ 2215 (that's the model we have, so we'll
use that model number) has a transflective display, an SD slot
that supports SDIO, a CF type II slot that accepts both type I
and type II CF cards, built-in Bluetooth wireless networking, consumer
grade IR, a 400 MHz PXA255 Intel XScale processor, 32 megs of ROM
and 64 megs of RAM. 57.11 megs of RAM are available to the user
to run and store applications, and 3.8 megs of ROM are available
as the iPAQ File Store too. 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.
This is a very full featured Pocket PC for the
price, and I must say that HP has come up with a gem this time!
While previous full-featured iPAQs were the most expensive Pocket
PCs, this one offers just about every feature a power user could
want for $399. It competes well with the Dell Axim X5 advanced,
offering all the same features plus Bluetooth for a bit more money.
And while the Dell is quite large, the 2215 has similar lines,
but is significantly smaller and lighter.
HP is targeting the 2215 at consumers, while
the iPAQ 5555 targets the corporate
user. The 5555 has more memory, integrated WiFi and a same biometric
fingerprint scanner. However, the 2215 has a CF slot, while you
must purchase a separate CF sleeve for the 5555 and earlier 3000
and 5000 series iPAQs. The 2215 cannot accept iPAQ expansion sleeves,
but for many users that won't matter since the CF sleeve is probably
the most necssary and popular, and you won't need it for the 2215.
How fast is this unit? You can check out the
benchmark numbers for yourself below, but let me tell you it feels
very fast. MPEG and Windows Media videos played back perfectly,
games run smoothly and all operations feel downright zippy. Experientially,
this feels like the fastest Pocket PC released to date. The only
thing that is slower is boot time from a soft reset (reboot).
The 2215 sports a new design, that's somewhat reminiscent
of the very popular iPAQ 1910 entry model. As stated, it is not compatible
with iPAQ sleeves. It's an attractively designed unit, with comfortable
curves and rubberized sides that help insure the unit doesn't slip out
of your hand. The case is made of plastic and well, it looks and feels
like plastic. Fit and finish are very good, and the buttons have a chrome
The unit is surprisingly small and light. How did HP
pack all this into such a small package? Miniaturization of components,
which raises the cost of the unit, but somehow HP kept the price reasonable.
While not as small as the tiny iPAQ 1940,
it is significantly smaller and ligher than other iPAQ models and the Toshiba
e750 and Dell Axim X5 which are its
competitors. It will easily fit into a suit pocket or pleated pants pocket.
Comparing size: Dell Axim X5 left, Toshiba
e330 center and iPAQ 2215 right.
Comparing size again: top iPAQ 2215,
middle Dell Axim X5 and bottom Toshiba e330.
If you're a record button or jog dial fan, you'll be
disappointed that the 2215 has neither. You'll get the standard front
4 button layout for contacts, calendar, email and iTask, and these buttons
can be mapped to other applications. The 4 buttons are small and you
may find them hard to press when gaming. The center round directional
pad is a dream: large enough to be operated when playing intense action
games, yet not overly large like the old iPAQ oval D-pad. It moves smoothly
and easily in any direction, with enough tactile sensation to work quite
well in games.
The CF and SD slots are located at the top of the unit,
as are the mic, stereo headphone jack and stylus.
The connector on the 2215 is the same as the iPAQ 3800,
3900 and 5000 series models. I tested HP's folding keyboard with the
2215 and it worked perfectly. Existing cables and chargers work with
this new model, but HP's cradle for these other models will not. 3rd
party products should also work, though some may require updated drivers
from the manufacturers.
Screen and Sound
Transflective displays are absolutely gorgeous, and
the 2215 is no exception. 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. How different is it compared
to older technology reflective screen PDAs like the Toshiba
e740? Hugely different! Reflective screen PDAs look milky and lack
the color saturation and true blacks of transflective displays. Colors
are also more accurate. The screen is very bright and color saturated,
and at medium brightness I found it more than bright enough for my mediocre
eyes. Unlike previous high end iPAQs, the 2215 does not have an ambient
light sensor, so you can't set it to automatically adjust the screen
brightness based on ambient light. New in this model is a ClearType tuner,
which allows you to control the sharpness and color aliasing of text.
The sound volume is pretty loud, though not as loud
as the iPAQ 5555. You'll be able to hear reminders
in a noisy office when the volume is set to high. MP3s sound great when
using stereo headphones connected to the standard 3.5mm audio jack, and
you'll find the familiar iPAQ Audio Settings in the control panel, which
allows you to set bass boost, treble adjustment and mic gain control.
The 2215 has a 900 mA Lithium Ion battery which isn't
that large compared to other full-featured PPCs. However, so far run
times have been very good, perhaps because the Intel PXA255 is more power-frugal.
With Bluetooth running and connected to an access point, I've been able
to surf the web for an hour with only about 17% battery drain. In one
test run starting with a fully charged battery, I played games, tested
my 3rd party software, surfed via WiFi using the SMC card for 1 hour,
watched three 5 minute videos using Windows Media Player and Pocket TV
Enterprise and still had 60% charge left. These activities spanned 4
hours of fairly frequent use. I had the brightness set to 50%, and standby
time set to 48 hours.
As wtih recent iPAQs, you'll get a battery control
applet. You can set the "Standby" time (essentially how low
you're willing to let the battery get before it gives you warnings and
shuts down to preserve the contents of memory). So if you generally put
it in the cradle each day or at night when you get home, you can set
a low standby time since you know it'll be charged frequently. This can
significantly increase runtimes.
The battery is user replaceable, and like other Pocket
PCs and mobile phones, is located in the back under a door. You have
10 minutes to change batteries before losing your data— so don't
take one out then forget to put a new one in. While the battery ostensibly
looks like the iPAQ 1900 battery, it is different, so you won't be able
to use 1910 batteries in the 2200 series PDAs. The cradle can charge
a naked battery: it has space for the battery and contacts behind where
the iPAQ sits.
HP has done an excellent job of making Bluetooth
relatively friendly. The new interface, like the 5450's, is wizard
based, and 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 mobile phones and access points. I
was able to use a Sony Ericsson
P800 as my modem, ActiveSync to a PC that has a Belkin
USB adapter and connect to the Internet via a Red-M
access point. There are no software settings to control radio
strength, but the range is quite good and depends on what you're
connecting to. Phones have relatively weak Bluetooth radios,
so you will need to be within a 30 foot range. Our Red M access
point has a strong class 1 radio, and I was able to surf via
Bluetooth when about 40 feet away through walls and one floor
Nevo: A/V Remote Control software plus enhanced
Since Nevo appeared on the iPAQ 3900 series
it's been a big hit. Nevo is an A/V remote control program made
by the same company that does much of the world's remote control
software. Setup is easy, you can select your A/V by brand, do
a few tests and you're done. It has a very friendly user interface
and can control pretty much every piece of home entertainment
equipment you've heard of, and many you've never heard of. More
brands and models can be downloaded from www.mynevo.com.
If you're a remote guru, you can add your remote by its code
as well. You can set up multiple rooms, and switch between them
to control the TV, DVD, cable box, receiver and etc. in your
living room, and the TV and stereo in your bedroom. This is more
than just software: if you've ever tried shareware A/V remote
control software on Pocket PCs, you've probably noticed that
the range isn't very good (who wants to get up and stand within
5 feet of her TV to change channels?). Compaq/HP beefed up the
IR power to what they call consumer grade for the iPAQ 3900 series,
5450 and 2215 models. You'll be able to use your iPAQ to control
your TV, DVD, Stereo and etc. from your couch, even if you have
a large living room. Some playful types actually enjoy using
their iPAQ and Nevo to change channels on TVs at consumer electronics
stores and other public venues .
The Bluetooth Wizard.
For the price, the 2215 comes with a decent software
bundle. 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 wtih Pocket
PC 2002 PDAs will install .
The iPAQ runs Pocket PC 2003 Premium Edition and comes with MS
Outlook 2002 for the PC. Bundled 3rd party software includes Conduits
Peacemaker Pro (allows you to beam to non-Pocket PC PDAs), RealOne
Player, AvantoGo!, Audible (first month free), XcelleNet's Afaria,
HP Mobile Printing for Pocket PC, Westtek's ClearVue Office Suite
which allows you to view native Word, Excel and PowerPoint files
without conversion, F-Secure FileCrypto, MARGI’s Presenter-to-Go,
and several trial versions of popular programs.
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
2. The Contacts app now supports vCAL and vCARD.
3. Media Player 9 is a great improvement: you'll definitely notice improved
framerates and buffering.
4. Pictures, a new applicaton included on Pocket PC 2003 Premium Edition models,
is an image viewer that supports thumbnail view, full screen view, slideshows
and simple editing.
5. File Explorer now can connect to network shares (shared folders on Windows
6. You get a new game built into ROM, called Jawbreaker. It's the same as Bubblets.
7. The OS has stronger built-in support for WiFi networking and can simplify
connecting to WiFi networks.
We've run benchmarks using VOBenchmark 3.0 from Virtual
Office Systems. I've compared the 2215 , iPAQ
5555 and the iPAQ 5450, all of
which run a 400 MHz XScale processor. Higher
numbers are better (shown in bold).
HP iPAQ 2215 (PPC
iPAQ 5555 (PPC
76.70 (grow) 28.60 (shrink)
73.50 (grow), 29.90 (shrink)
5.20with ClearType enabled
21.00, 4.80 with ClearType enabled
256 meg SanDisk card was used
128 meg SanDisk and SimpleTech
256 meg SanDisk card was used
Go get one! For the price you get everything
except built-in WiFi, but you can add that with a CF WiFi card
for under $100 additional. Great transflective display, excellent
expansion options thanks to the dual CF type II and SD slot which
supports SDIO, user replaceable battery, fast performance, latest
version of the OS means this thing packs a lot of power. The design
is attractive and the unit is very small and lightweight— you
can't get a Pocket PC much smaller than this except the iPAQ 1910,
which offers fewer features.
The 2210 and 2215 have
different model numbers because HP uses different model numbers to track sales
in consumer vs. business channels. Both come with a ballistic nylon slip case,
USB cradle, charger, one battery, CD with software and PDF manuals.
TFT color LCD, 65,536 colors, Screen Size Diag: 3.5",
Resolution: 240 x 320, .24mm dot pitch.
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 900
XScale PXA255 400 MHz processor. 32 MB NAND Flash
ROM with 3.8 megs available in FileStore for your
use, 64 MB built-in RAM with 57.11 megs available
to the user.
Size: 4.57" x
2.95" x .63". Weight: 5.01 oz.
in speaker, mic and stereo headphone jack. Voice
PC 2003 Premium 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, Pocket
Windows Media Player 9 and Voice Recorder as well
as handwriting recognition. 3rd party and other software:
MARGI Presenter-to-Go, RealOne Player, Acrobat Reader,
Nevo A/V remote control, and several additional trial/demo
programs. ActiveSync 3.7 and Outlook 2002 for PCs
SD (Secure Digital) slot, 4 bit data bus, supporting
SDIO. 1 CF type II slot supporting type I and type
II cards. Does not accept iPAQ expansion sleeves.