HP iPAQ hx4700 review
It may be big compared to other PDAs, but the hx4700 provides near-notebook flexibility thanks to the amazing screen, software bundle and the ability to add 5GB of storage.
Review Date: 16 Nov 2004
Reviewed By: Tim Danton
Price when reviewed: (£422 inc VAT); Delivery £5 (£6 inc VAT)
We need to get this PDA's problem out of the way right from the word go: it's big. Less of a palmtop, more of a handheld, the hx4700 is a Pocket PC that was never designed to slip discreetly into a shirt pocket. But before everyone starts decrying HP as a fool of the greatest magnitude, we should make it clear that there's a huge amount of compensation for the size.
The first, and most striking, is the screen. Measuring 4in diagonally, it dwarfs the 3.5in screens that we previously regarded as large - the effect is far greater than the extra 0.5in sounds. Equally important is the resolution HP squeezes in. None of that 240 x 320 nonsense, the hx4700 boasts 480 x 640 bright pixels.
Fujitsu Siemens' Pocket LOOX 720 also included a 480 x 640 resolution, but it compromised by using a 3.6in screen. The HP's extra space makes a big difference to readability; for instance, the Today screen appears huge, so you'll never have to squint to read an appointment. It's also handy when browsing the Web.
But HP goes one better again by including Pocket Informant 5 (see Mobile Computing), a program that will make you wonder how you ever lived with Pocket Outlook. Crucially, Informant takes full advantage of the larger viewing area. For instance, you can glance at your monthly schedule and see whether you have meetings in the afternoon or morning on any particular day; more contacts can be fitted on any one page, and are presented far more accessibly; and you can simultaneously search across your calendar, tasks and contacts.
As ever with its iPAQs, HP has opted for a quality screen too. The colours are vibrant, which means photos stand out, and the viewing angles are good enough for several people to crowd round the machine at once. But if you use the hx4700 only to display holiday snaps then you're wasting the power on offer.
A prime reason is the 624MHz Intel PXA270 processor. This doesn't make the hx4700 speed along quite as fast as we hoped: there's some minor stuttering when switching between applications, but this is due to the larger screen having to be refreshed. Certainly when we watched video it played back scenes smoothly, and searches were returned in double-quick time.
Another sign that HP is targeting the power user is the amount of memory on offer. There's the customary 64MB of RAM, but HP accompanies this with 128MB of flash memory - even if the battery dies, you won't lose any data if you store it here. In total, there's 85MB of flash memory set aside for storage, plus whatever you can steal from the RAM.
If you're willing to spend a little money, storage certainly won't be an issue. HP includes an SD card slot (which also supports MMC and SDIO cards) plus a Type II CompactFlash slot. The latter could be home to IBM's 4GB Microdrive, for instance, or a camera.
HP wasn't satisfied with all this, however, and decided to innovate even further. For this PDA doesn't feature the navigation pad we've grown accustomed to, instead opting for a trackpad. In two years' time, this will either prove to be a stroke of genius or a madman's folly - luckily, we think it's the former.
This wasn't our first impression though. In the default Navigation mode, the touchpad proved to be an unworthy replacement for the normal navigation pad. It's fine if you just want to press up, down, left or right, but if you try to activate a program by pressing in the middle of the pad then things get rather frustrating.
- Microsoft reveals Windows 10... no, really
- eBay and PayPal split up
- iOS 8.0.2: old problems remain, new bugs added
- Technopop: London sci-tech festival is just for kids
- Windows 9: release date, features, free update and cloud version
- Chromebooks get version of Photoshop
- Retina display iMacs "coming soon"
- Apple patches ShellShock Bash bug
- Should the UK be a sharing economy?
- Want free Wi-Fi? It'll cost your first-born child
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Smartphone benchmarks 2014: what's the fastest smartphone?
- What is Kindle Unlimited and how does it work?
- BlackBerry Passport release date, UK price and specs
- OS X Yosemite release date, price and key new features
- How to change keyboard in iOS 8: customise the iPhone 6 keyboard
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: is the new iPhone 6 better than the Galaxy S5?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6/X release date, specs and rumoured UK price
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office