As an extremely satisfied user of an IPAQ 3950 I was keen to discover the improvements made with this latest generation IPAQ. First impressions were not good; the asthetic look of the IPAQ appears to have regressed with the emergence of a somewhat maternal bluetooth nipple and replacement of the excellent console button arrangement with something that looks designed as a cheap afterthought by a fan of noddy and big ears. The fingerprint scanner did intrigue however so onwards I pressed. I needn't have bothered. The sci-fiesque novelty wears off as quickly as the grime from your fingers accumulates (I am a keen horserider and found by the end of my weekly hack the scanner was covered in dust from my Pony, Beauty) and you are left with the dawning realisation that why would anyone require biometric security on a device of this type? What information is so sensitive it requires these hi-tech measures yet would be deemed suitable for a handheld device that invariably sits on ones desk next to the cafetiere for all the world to see? The security offered by the 3950 is just right; not too intrusive, practically thought out and easy to use; something the finger print scanner is not as often takes multiple attempts to work correctly, involving the licking of fingers which after a hard days trotting is not a pleasant experience. Performancewise the IPAQ does not seem to have taken any steps forward. The OS is virtually identical as is the CPU performance. Battery life is unchanged. Memory is improved but only to 128mb. A 1Gb SD card in the expansion slot dissolves any perceived advantage. The dimensions are identical (except for nipple; see above). Where has all the money been spent? I am a huge fan of the IPAQ, it has made a genuine improvement to my day to day organisation and security of personal information. I think I'll go back to my old relic and continue to use that until it can make the tea and bake a cake. Now that would be useful.
My h5450 was a gift for my 18th birthday. To be honest, its got a lot of features I probably don't need - i dont (yet) have a Bluetooth phone, but i do have a wireless broadband router which means I can log onto the net from anywhere in my house. The spec is fine, although I was slightly dismayed to find out that the new version of the operating system (Windows Pocket PC 2003) came out just a week after I obtained the handheld, and HP won't upgrade the OS until at least September. Annoyingly, there is a SIM card slot in the back, behind the battery, yet it is not functional. I've also had to reset the unit a couple of times, particularly to get the WLAN working. Updates are easy to install, but sometimes fail. The memory on the unit is sufficient to fit a couple of low bitrate albums in MP3 format, which makes it ideal for a journey - play solitair, have your schedule available at the touch of a button, and listen to your choice of music through the built in speaker or headphone jack. The battery life is good, although WLAN tends to shorten it significantly. The bundled software is good, and HP offer you the chance to download software for free from their selection on their website.
I have just qualified as a doctor, and bought an IPAQ 5450 - need this one as it has a snazzy fingerprint and pass/pin security (the only one on the market at the moment to my knowledge!) This means that should someone steal it, your data is safe - 6 illegal attempts to gain access and it wipes all the data! But since you synchronise it with your home computer - go out and buy another, and hey presto it will synch all the data onto the new one! It is also WiFi 802.1b and bluetooth compatible, and link via IR too! (you want more....ok!) It comes with MS excel/word etc and all the usual packages such as contacts, email, internet explorer etc. however there is also a neat little programme called Nevo - which can control TV's etc.. any device really! (thought: you could have some real fun turning off all the TV's in a shop!!) I won't go into all the packages, but needless to say it has tons of memory and is Softpaq upgradeable over the internet, there is lots of medical (amongst others) packages to download - and you can read books on it, convert currencies... the list goes on. Price is somewhat hefty (£499 generally) but I shopped around on the net and 'Widget' were able to supply at around £447, or 251 Totenham court road, London has good deals. I haven't regretted it for a moment.... take the plunge and you won't regret it! To summarise... it does what it says on the tin!