Your choice of PDA says as much about you as your mobile phone or your choice of notebook. Opt for something basic and the likelihood is that you'll use it for work but not show it off in the pub. It's a sad fact of life that choosing the wrong PDA will make the difference between it being used and it being thrown in a draw and forgotten.

There is no danger of this happening with the HP iPAQ hx4700, which is the latest “bells-and-whistles” handheld to be released by the leading Pocket PC manufacturer in the world.

The HP iPAQ HX4700's design is dominated by its 4-inch screen that sports a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. As is becoming increasingly common on high-end PDAs, this can be switched at the push of a button to be used in either Portrait or Landscape mode. So, if you like to watch DVDs in 16:9 mode you can do, or alternatively, if you hook up a Bluetooth keyboard to the iPAQ you can get more words on a line when writing documents or viewing spreadsheets.

However, it is not only the size of the screen that the hx4700 has to boast about. One look at the device and you will see that HP has done away with the navigation buttons and replaced them with a touchpad. This acts in exactly the same way as the one on your laptop. At first, navigating the smaller screen of the iPAQ in this fashion is a little confusing. However, we were surprised how quickly this became a comfortable way to get around the screen.

In portrait mode, this offers little more than what you've seen before. Placing the PDA into landscape mode (AKA Cursor mode) makes the mouse act more like the laptop variety. This makes scrolling and general navigation easier.

The downside of all this innovation in the iPAQ HX4700 is the size of the unit. With a weight of 210g, it's one of the heaviest devices released in a long time and likely to be twice the weight of your mobile phone. Added to this are dimensions of 131 x 77 x 15mm and you won't be carrying this device in your pocket.

As we have come to expect from the latest generation of handhelds, the 624MHz Intel XScale processor powers the HX4700 and is the fastest chip currently available. Couple with 192MB of memory, of which 135MB is accessible by the user, the HX4700 isn't as versatile on the memory stakes as the Palm Tungsten T5 but it is more than adequate for most user needs.

Most PDAs merely come with a Secure Digital slot for expansion but the hx4700 comes with an additional CompactFlash slot. When it comes to connectivity, the HX4700 is fitted with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in the form of an 802.11b adapter. This means users can hook the device up to their Bluetooth-enabled phone for the sending and receiving of emails.

Verdict

If you use a PDA everyday, whether for work or just to keep your life in check, the HP iPAQ hx4700 offers everything. However, unless you really need this much from a handheld that can't be tucked away in your shirt pocket, it is a lot to pay.