When it comes to choosing a Pocket PC there is little or no need to look elsewhere than at the HP iPAQ line-up. The company has dominated the market since day one and now with its new range offering something for everyone, there are no visible gaps in its range.
The HP iPAQ hx2750 is the last of the line to be made available and is intended as the replacement for the old and, so it seems now, unwieldy h5550. This latest device is actually based on the hx2410, which came out at the end of 2004. Whereas the hx2410 was aimed at a more mainstream audience, this model is intended for use by those who carry important or sensitive data around with them.
This is achieved by the addition of fingerprint security. A mini-strip reader sits above the navigation button, which forces the user to swipe their finger over it a number of times - usually three - so that it can register your identity.
A company called Credant Technologies, who specialise in such matters, has created the security software for HP. We were impressed with how easy it was to actually set up a profile and to lock down your data. True, if you only carry around a few contacts and phone numbers, this is a case of overkill but sales execs or anyone carrying a database of contacts and sales figures, for instance, with appreciate the extra-features.
The look of the actual device is on the bulky side, with rubber grips fitted either side of the main casing. This means you can throw it in your bag without worrying too much about the impact. Weighing 165g, it’s not exactly heavy but you won’t want to carry it around in your shirt-pocket.
Considering the bulk of the device, the 3.5-inch screen is a little on the small side. Especially when you consider that HP has made 3.8 and even 4-inch screens available on its more multimedia-focussed handhelds. Regardless of size, the screen is bright and responsive.
Expansion plays into the standard approach of “business types like choice”, so it comes with a Secure Digital slot as well as the more backward compatible CompactFlash. This dual approach certainly works and if you need to add peripherals, whether a memory card or a camera or GPS unit, the hx2750 is flexible enough. On the inside, the iPAQ hx2750 runs the same PXA270 processor as the other members of the range, but at the faster 624MHz frequency. With 256MB of memory, which is splits as 128MB of ROM and 128MB of SDRAM, there is up to 192MB of user definable memory with the rest being made up of the iPAQ data store.
For many people, the HP iPAQ is just too specialised and doesn't really offer anything that we haven't seen before. However, for the business user, or anyone who “must” carry “sensitive” data around with them, there simply isn't a better Pocket PC on the market.