The HP iPAQ range has been given an overhaul in recent months. However, it has taken the company until now to change the design of its biggest selling handheld - the h2200 series - in favour of a more utilitarian design.

The reason that its predecessor was HP’s biggest seller, and the same level of success is being foisted onto the hx2410, is due to the flexibility that the unit has to offer. The semi-rugged look and feel of the device means that it can be used by IT managers or field-workers as well as those in an office environment. The look of the device is all about business - those looking for a glorified MP3 player need not apply.

One look at the design of the hx2410 and you can see that it’s larger than most Pocket PC’s on the market. The 164g weight doesn’t detract from its use, but you are aware that it’s there. With rubber grips running down either side of the casing, you’re not likely to drop it, nor is it likely to break should you accidentally let it go. This is one handheld that is designed for the working man rather than the businessman.

The reason for this size is due to the expansion options and connectivity that come as standard. With both the standard Secure Digital slot and the less common CompactFlash slots both residing on the unit, you can mix-and-match your expansion needs with ease.

At the core of the unit is an Intel PXA270 processor, with a running speed of 520MHz it isn’t the fastest PDA on the market but we found that applications loaded and ran quickly enough. The memory allocation is also what we have come to expect from a handheld of this calibre. Coming preloaded with 128MB of space, which is broken down as 64MB RAM and 64MB ROM, of which 31MB can be used by the owner, it may lack the high-end space of other recent releases, such as the PalmOne Tungsten T5, but it’s enough to keep you active.

The HP hx2410 comes fitted with 802.11b and Bluetooth, so should you need to connect wirelessly, regardless of location, this device can quickly access data on a network or the Internet. For those who want to go the fully secure route, the hx2710 offers an integrated Biometric fingerprint reader, which prevents access from unauthorised users. The scanner is fitted on the front of the device, above the navigation key. With security supplied by Credant Technologies, which is a policy-based security and management software platform and works by protecting corporate data transmitted over public networks, data stored locally on mobile devices. On the non-Biometric devices in the range, this space is left blank.

Verdict

No, it isn't the prettiest or most compact of iPAQs but it's perfect if you need a robust unit that can withstand being tossed into a kit bag. The bulkier chassis design required to house all this hardware may detract some users from testing out the hx2410 but if you like to have a handheld that covers every eventuality, we think you'll like what the HP hx2410 has to offer.


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