Product Type: Hewlett-Packard Smartphone
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Dull looking but a great smartphone
HP iPaq 614c
Member Name: ScottishWestie
HP iPaq 614c
Advantages: Features, weight, size, general finish
Disadvantages: HP customer service, jog wheel, no headphone socket
Five years ago I purchased a HP ipaq 4150 pocket PC which served me very well in that space of time. The day I bought it I threw my pens & paper out the window & my life became better organised than ever.
However, the software was no longer compatible with my home computer (Vista) & I was fed up of carrying around a mobile phone & a pocket PC all the time. I wanted something that integrated them both & started looking for a Smartphone.
I have no loyalty to HP products but after four years sterling service from my old device I had no reason to doubt their new products. The specifications of their new HP ipaq614c Smartphone were just what I was looking for & I started to track down a reasonably priced one.
P.A.Y.G. or contract?
HP in the UK don't sell their products via the large phone companies, that appealed to me as I preferred to use my P.A.Y.G. SIM card from Virgin. I'm not a heavy mobile user but the main reason I wanted a Smartphone is for the PC as well as being able to use the phone when necessary. This particular model is only offered as 'unlocked' so just about any SIM card will operate on it.
I've had dealings with HP's customer services before with Aftersales issues & found that they never reply to emails or phone messages. However, this time it was a pre-sales enquiry & most companies bend over backwards to help or give advice when a sale is likely.
Not so HP, despite making a call & sending two emails I am still waiting for information 18 months on. Maybe HP feel customers are not that important to them!
The full retail price of the new phone was £395.00 (Clove Technology) but I found one from Insight UK for £308.00 with a £50.00 cash back from HP. I ended up paying £258.00, a massive £137.00 saving. I sold my old pocket PC on Ebay & got £75.00 for it which went towards the cost of the new phone.
IN THE BOX
When it arrived I was like the mouse that just got the key to the cheese larder, how can such a simple device get me all excited? In its little box it came with the following:
1 x phone (obviously!)
1 x battery
1 x USB lead for transfer to a PC & that doubles up as a charger lead
1 x Charger plug with USB socket
1 x Ear piece with mini USB plug
1 x Get you started instruction book
1 x Installation CD with full device instructions
1 x Warranty manual
However, you don't get a micro SD card, wrist strap, phone case, spare stylus or screen protector despite the latter being listed. The instructions for the phone are on the CD with only basic advice in the 'get you started' booklet. There was a coloured flap on the box highlighting main features of the phone but little else.
It's not sexiest or most stylish looking phone I have ever seen put it next to the slim & stylish Apple iphone & no one would give it a second look. It doesn't come in eye catching colours or have slide out key boards, it's just a plain looking 'candy bar' phone with a built in jog wheel on the key pad.
It isn't as bulky as it looks in photographs & only weighs a mere 145g, put it in your shirt pocket & it won't pull your shirt out of shape. It will take up very little room in a ladies evening bag.
Marvell PXA270 Processor 520MHz
128 MB SDRAM main memory for running applications, 256 MB flash ROM, Integrated WLAN 802.11b/g with WPA2 security, Bluetooth® 2.0 with EDR
Integrated Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE phone and Tri band HSDPA 3.6/7.2 Mpbs, Integrated GPS navigation (Assisted GPS)
Windows Mobile® 6 Professional, with 2.8" Display. 1 Year Warranty
Dimensions Width 6cm, Depth 1.8cm, Height 11.7cm, Weight 145g. Supports Micro SD card. Screen 2.8" touchscreen, display resolution 240 x 320, Image 64 colour -16 bit display. Camera 3.0 mega pixel with flash.
Software includes Contacts, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Notes, Tasks, Internet explorer, Active Sync, Calculator, Clear view PDF, MP3, Google maps, HP photo smart mobile, Windows messenger, Sun JAVA, Windows live, Voice commander, various games & loads more.
OUT OF THE BOX
One annoying feature of many modern phones is removing & replacing the rear battery covers, some you have to prize off & others don't fit properly. This device has a cover that is released by a fake chrome button & the cover slides off; it goes back with a distinct click & remains secure.
Less impressive is what you see behind the cover, the SIM card goes in first followed by a micro SD card with a flimsy clasp. This is not something you want to change very often due to the flimsy nature of the clasp so I purchased a 4 GB card just for my music & back up. The battery goes in last & takes anywhere between 2-4 hours for a full charge form flat.
The charger lead is quite smart, one end is mini USB (phone end) & the other is a full size USB which plugs directly into the charger socket. The charger socket comes with a UK three pin plug & an interchangeable USA two pin plug. That same lead doubles up as a transfer lead to your PC.
SWITCH ON & CONNECT UP
Within seconds of switching the device on it recognised my Virgin card & I was ready to make my first call. You can make a call three different ways, either press the numbers on the key pad as per normal phones or bring up a finger friendly key pad on the touch screen or open contacts & scroll through to find your number & press enter. Call quality is excellent & all calls, missed calls, texts etc are recorded on the screen for reference.
Bluetooth is great for transferring my details & lists form my old pocket PC to my new one, this was a painless task & saved me a lot of time & hassle. The Bluetooth connects to my built in microphone/speaker in the car, ear piece or lap top without any problems.
Wi-Fi is quick & fast for connecting to the internet, my old pocket PC used to take ages. I could have obtained a 14 day visitor visa for North Korea quicker than connecting it up. However the whole process took about 25 seconds on the new phone & works extremely well. Looking at the Internet via a screen smaller than a credit card can be a pain unless you use phone friendly webs sites.
There is no conventional head phone socket so Bluetooth headphones are best, I use Sony neck phones as the sound quality for a £30.00 set is fantastic.
HP has installed Windows Mobile 6 professional which means you can use a stylus & touch screen if desired. I often transfer my Excel work documents & updating them with a stylus is essential for me. The stylus is a little awkwardly placed at the rear left hand bottom of the device, neither handy for right nor left handed people. However, it's telescopic & feels good in your hands, when you reinsert back in the phone it closes up to a smaller size, all very clever.
However, six months use & the little retaining tag inside the phone cover broke leaving the stylus free to fall out. HP were interested in a warranty claims so I obtained a spare cover from an American website for $15.00.
If you are familiar with Windows you will be at home with the mobile version. Both Excel & Word are more condensed versions than you'll find on your desktop PC, you even get 'spell check' & you do get a nifty predictive text which works so much better than most other versions I have experienced on mobile phones.
Either HP or Microsoft have been a little stingy in the software they now supply, you no longer get the finance software they used to supply in days gone by & the calculator is more basic than previous versions but there is plenty of space to add on software at a later date & many are available for free. HP did give me 'spd wallet' for free from their website which is good for keeping your bank & credit card details encrypted on your device.
On the supplied CD is software to install on your PC to sync with your device, I've had a few problems getting it to work properly but I think I am the problem, not the software. Back up is simple on to a PC from the device, just plug in the device, go to My Computer (XP) or Computer (Vista), copy & paste onto a separate file on the PC. You can also back up onto the micro SD card which is advised.
The screen is wonderful; it has a bright & intense display despite being only on 75% power to conserve battery life. It can easily be read in sunlight even with a screen protector on it. The display can be altered form portrait to landscape with the touch of a button, handy for internet displays.
The camera is on the rear of the device & features 3.0 mega pixels, it's no substitute for a proper camera but it does capture a half decent image & is quite good with videos. It comes with a flash, on screen controls & a self portrait mirror. Operation is simple, press the camera button on the edge of the device to put it into camera mode & then press again to focus & shoot. However it is useless outside where you cannot see the image on the screen.
The front mounted jog wheel is at first a little difficult to get used to, it feels too sensitive but once you get used to it, it works rather well & is handy for one handed operation. You can switch it off altogether & just use the side mounted one which does the same job. My only gripe with this feature is when you are entering text via the stylus & on the screen QWERTY key board the side of your hands touches the jog wheel & knocks everything around the screen. It is great when using the built in MP3 player.
Hand writing recognition also features on the device which is great for taken notes. It doesn't take long for the device to recognise your handwriting & is very accurate when it prints out your words.
A voice recorder is also featured & is operated from a switch on the outside of the phone, however it is constantly being switched on when you don't need it but can be switched off permanently if required.
There are two rather small buttons below the screen to assist one handed operation; one offers a clever 'short cut' operation for 10 different tasks & the other goes into 'message' mode for texts or email. The buttons are far too small if you have man sized chunky fingers or long feminine manicured finger nails. If you are man with chunky long manicured nails you'll have the same problem!!
Battery life is not too bad, I charge up every two days with moderate use but Wi-Fi & Bluetooth will soon shorten battery life as will the brightest settings for the screen.
You wouldn't buy this phone for its looks but then that wasn't an issue for me, it's the features that were more important & the quality of these features has exceeded my expectations.
Aside form a few gripes about the micro SD card clasp, location of the stylus & HP's dreadful customer services; I love this device which will hopefully be my digital friend for the next few years. It's highly recommended but shop around for a good deal.
Summary: A feature packed phone
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