Over the past 20 years I’ve seen incredible advancements in technology. Back in late 1991, when HP introduced its DOS-based 95LX Palmtop PC, I couldn’t have imagined something like today’s smartphone. But looking back, I see a continuous advancement in design, capability, and power in HP’s mobile devices. And right now, I’m looking at the latest example of that evolution—the HP iPAQ 210 Enterprise Handheld.
In the last issue of Smartphone and Pocket PC magazine I reviewed the iPAQ 110 Classic Handheld, a compact yet powerful Windows Mobile 6 Classic PDA. But I was eager to get my hands on the 210, the second in a series of new iPAQ PDAs from HP. Unlike the vast majority of Windows Mobile devices available today, the 210 is a PDA—that is, it doesn’t have a phone built into it. But it does have the latest software and plenty of power, and for those of us who don’t need or want phone capability, it’s a welcome addition to HP’s handheld line.
Welcome back VGA and larger displays!
HP’s previous VGA handheld was the iPAQ 4700, an extremely popular Pocket PC that is still in use by many. Several companies produced Pocket PCs with VGA displays, and a few of the newer Windows Mobile 6 Professional devices have them as well. But most of these later phone-enabled devices have smaller screens measuring 2.8 inches diagonally. (The exception is the HTC Advantage X7500 series, which sports a 5-inch VGA display; it’s reviewed in the October 07 issue: smartphonemag.com/_archives/OCT07/htcadv.aspx). The iPAQ 210 sports a large 4-inch diagonal Transflective touch screen capable of displaying 260k colors (18-bit) in VGA (640x480) resolution. The size and resolution of this screen make the display crisp and very easy on the eyes. One of the main reasons people prefer VGA is for games and videos, but it has its advantages in everyday use. With the higher resolution it is possible to reduce screen font sizes and still be able to read the information. The 210 is an excellent replacement for the older 4700.
Videos look great on the 210’s large VGA display.
Speed, space, and expandability
Like the 110, the new 210 uses the Marvell PXA310 processor which runs at 624 MHz. While the Intel PXA270 processor in the 4700 also ran at 624 MHz, the 210 is noticeably faster than its predecessor. The 210 has twice as much memory as the 4700, with 128 MB SDRAM and 256 MB flash ROM (over 190 MB of which is available to the user for file storage). Like the 4700, the 210 has both CompactFlash and SDIO card slots, which will allow you to add gigabytes of extra storage memory to the device.
In addition to a mini-USB port, the 210 also includes a 24-pin connector port. At the time of my review, the only use for this port is to connect to your PC using the included sync and charge cable. (Note: to charge the device you must connect the separate AC power adapter to the cable.). HP may offer expansion options that connect to the port (possibly a USB keyboard). The 210 does not ship with a mini-USB cable, but standard mini-USB to USB cables work with it for syncing and charging (without connecting to the AC power adapter).
Windows Mobile 6 Classic software
The 210 uses the new Windows Mobile 6 Classic operating system and software suite. (For a detailed description of this software, see At A Glance, page 78.) Included with WM 6 Classic is the Office Mobile suite of applications (Excel, PowerPoint, and Word), Outlook Mobile (Inbox, Contacts, and Calendar), OneNote Mobile, Messenger, Windows Live, and more.