HP Ipaq 114 Classic PDA - Review

HP Ipaq 114 Classic PDA - Review

HP Ipaq 114 Classic PDA - ReviewFor those who want a standalone PDA, this is a well-designed, light organiser at a reasonable price

Pros: Small; light; standard-sized USB and audio sockets

Cons: No dock; Mobile IE not great; no inbuilt internet access

Bottomline: A good PDA that packs a lot into a small frame, but a smartphone would better suit most people

Price: £190

In these days of smartphones it may seem a bit of an anachronism to use a standalone PDA.

But the Ipaq 114 Classic certainly answers the call for a small form factor organiser and it is also extremely light at just 116g.

Connection to a PC is with a standard mini USB socket that doubles up as the charging socket - a mains adapter is supplied in the box.

Assuming that your USB hub is not being overstretched for power, the Ipaq will charge when connected to a computer. This flexibility for charging is very welcome and should be copied by all PDA and smartphone manufacturers.

Another sensible design feature is the standard 3.5mm jack, which lets you use your own headphones without the need for a proprietary adapter.

There are two lights on the front panel. One shows the wireless status while the other indicates if the Ipaq is charging. The main buttons are slightly different to the traditional Windows Mobile devices, with Calendar, Windows Start key, OK and Mail buttons from left to right. The Today screen has also been updated and contains all the useful information you might want, including shortcuts for enabling the wireless network.

As expected, Windows Mobile 6 is the operating system used by the device. Synchronisation with a Windows XP computer is performed using Activesync, which is supplied on the CD; Windows Vista takes care of PC to PDA communication using its Mobile Device Center. Unlike previous devices, which have had a copy of Outlook included in the package, Microsoft’s email client is missing from the Ipaq 114 Classic’s software collection. Since Activesync will only work with Outlook, its omission is something of a disappointment.

There is 256MB of memory on the device with 64MB of Rom. Extra storage can be added in the form of an SD card, again this is full size so no adapters are needed.

The 3.5in display is very bright, clear and easy to read with a standard resolution of 240x320. However, there does not appear to be any way to rotate th e screen. It may seem like jumping on the bandwagon but it does help when surfing the web or viewing pictures.

Connection to a wireless network is simple and the Ipaq supports both 802.11b and 802.11g networks. Web browsing is courtesy of Internet Explorer which, although good, is still not quite to the standard of Opera Mini. The PDA can access both internet email accounts (Imap and Pop) and those hosted on an Exchange server.

The problem with Wifi in any device is the drain on power, but this is especially true of smaller PDAs. In our tests, about two hours of solid wireless use left the battery half drained, so you’ll need to use it sparingly if you’re away from the mains. To increase battery life, a light sensor on the front is used to adjust the screen brightness.

Apart from the power adapter and USB cable there are no other accessories included with the Ipaq 113 Classic. The lack of a dock is a bit of shame as this is a far neater way of storing the device on a full desk.

HP’s Ipaq 114 Classic is a great little PDA at a reasonable price, but there’s little it can do that today’s smartphones can’t handle. While it’s true that most people will end up opting for a smartphone over a PDA - the mobile internet access they offer can prove invaluable - this Ipaq will appeal to those who don’t want to be tied to a monthly contract.