PDA review: HP iPAQ 210

Keeping to the standard, HP recently released the iPAQ 210 which retains the standard features and design of the traditional handheld.

Keeping to the standard, HP recently released the iPAQ 210 which retains the standard features and design of the traditional handheld. The iPAQ 210 is a traditional handheld that HP put on the market just a few days ago. It offers an impressive list of features, including a VGA screen, dual memory card slots, and a fast processor.

Because this model is so new, I've only had about 12 hours to work with it, so all impressions are as yet preliminary. I can say that at first blush, the 210 has a lot of potential, though there are a few annoyances and disappointments.

Hardware
The 4-inch, 640-by-480-pixel screen is beautiful, and while it requires more pressure to activate the digitizer than most devices, I've found it not too hard to adapt to. The extra size makes the default Windows Mobile Classic interface practically finger-friendly.

The rest of the basic hardware doesn't disappoint at all. This iPAQ has a great, 624 MHz processor, a lot of memory, and the full suite of wireless. It took to both my Bluetooth headphones and 802.11g Wi-Fi network as easy as you can imagine.

The extra-large (2200 mAh) battery takes forever to charge, but it should take forever to drain, too.

Software
On the downside, the system software falls a little short is some places.

For one, I'm less than thrilled with the iPAQ's power on performance. If you leave the Wi-Fi active when you turn the device off, when turned back on it requires longer than it really should to wake up. The delay is only a couple of seconds, but that's more than the near-zero lag that's normal with Windows Mobile 6 devices. I hope that HP fixes this in a ROM update fairly quickly, because it's just annoying.

To be fair, once the device is on its performance is quite good, and none of the other standard software has shown any glaring issues, but I'm definitely left with the feeling that the 210 would benefit from a good solid ROM update. That's disappointing in a device that's been as long coming to market as this one has -- HP should have had all the kinks worked out.

The casing is also somewhat of a peeve, since both the glossy black front and the flat black rear have a tendancy to take and hold smudges.

Preliminary conclusion
On the whole, the iPAQ 210 has a lot of potential, despite its flaws. It remains to be seen how much of an annoyance these will be in day-to-day use.

You can expect a more complete review of this handheld in the next week or so, plus I'll be adding my comments to Brighthand's iPAQ 210 Forum.

Additional specifications

  • Dimensions: 5.0 in x 3.0 in x 0.6 in
  • Weight: 6.8 ounces
  • Memory: 128 MB of RAM, 256 MB of ROM
  • Storage Card: CompactFlash, SD/MMC

Additional photos:

This was first published in February 2008

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