Every time we get a new PocketPC in to Pocket-Lint tower, it seems to offer more features for less money and the HP iPaq 4150 isn’t about to buck the trend. With its slim design, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support this unit is all about connectivity on a budget.



A slim design and refinement of the D-pad and front keys is the first thing you’ll notice with the new PDA. The slimness certainly gives a wow factor considering what the unit has managed to pack in. Even better, the rear casing can be removed and a new lithium-ion battery swapped out.

The buttons on the front of the device offer the usual quick preset options and like models before it can be changed via the software to whatever you so wish. The choice to spread them out and make them circular rather than square doesn’t really make much difference to the usability of the machine and in reality we felt this was more an aesthetic change that an actual need to improve usability.

A equally small but nice feature is the additional LED light to the power switch, which is now on the top of the 65k colour screen. Instead of the standard one, two LED lights have been positioned either side of the power switch to give you some indication of what is going on. One acts as a warning for battery life and alerts to events, while the other activates when you have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled. Like the Wi-Fi-less H1940 the unit features a SD-Card slot on the top of the unit - ideal for adding accessories like a digital camera or more storage.

In tests Wi-Fi was easy to use and even easier to set up prompting us that it found our pocket-lint wireless network rather than us having to prompt it. For emails and web surfing the 240 pixel x 320 pixel wide screen served well (especially for looking at Pocket-Lint’s mobile edition) although a lack of keyboard entry if you are planning on doing lots of emailing might hinder most people. For the corporate user the 4150 also supports VPN functionality allowing you to connect via GPRS (via Bluetooth to a Bluetooth-enabled phone) to your office email through the VPN gateway and ultimately your Exchange server. Bluetooth was simple to set up and connection and pairing with our test phone the Ericsson T68 was easy.

Using the HP4150 proved fast and efficient. Like the H1940, the H4150 comes with 64MB of RAM (though you can access only 55MB) and 32MB of ROM, which is where the new Pocket PC 2003 OS resides. Also changed from previous versions is the processor, the H4150 ships with Intel’s 400Mhz XScale processor rather than Samsung’s 266Mhz, but we didn’t notice much difference. Programs opened with little to no lag even when we had everything running at once. Software included in the box includes the usual array of Pocket Word, Pocket Excel and RealOne Player, however Nevo, the remote control software package, usually found in the iPaq range was missing.

Verdict

Overall this is a great little PDA with a crisp screen that has the form factor of the H1900 range but with the added benefit of the Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth connectivity. However, while the Wi-Fi provides fast and efficient connectivity to the internet to get your emails and favourite websites, the lack of a keyboard may hinder this becoming a true business day-to-day emailing device (you can add a the h2200/4100 Micro Keyboard for another £43 but that takes away from the slim and smallness of the design). That said, for those looking for something more than the H1900 series and the top of the range H5500 series this fills the gap nicely.