HP IPAQ 514 Voice Messenger Regina SK

While HP is well known for PDAs and touchscreen PDA smartphones, the iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger is its first compact Windows Mobile smartphone.

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HP IPAQ 514 Voice Messenger

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While HP is well known for PDAs and touchscreen PDA smartphones, the iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger is its first compact Windows Mobile smartphone. It runs the Standard edition of Windows Mobile 6, which is designed for non-touch-screen smartphones.

The iPAQ 514 has an austere black and silver design. The keypad's keys are small but raised in the middle and are fairly easy to use. It has a fairly large 2in screen, but the quality of the screen is one of the phone's weak points. It's bright, but has a low 176x220 pixel resolution. Windows Mobile smoothes the edges of the onscreen fonts, but at this resolution it just makes them blurry and hard to read. There's not as much room on the screen for web pages as on larger Windows Mobile PDA smartphones, but the browser makes a good job of reformatting them and runs smoothly.

The iPAQ 514 makes it easy to get online. The wireless network manager is simple to use. It scans for networks and prompts you to enter a WEP or WPA/WPA2 password. The phone also grabs your GPRS settings from the SIM card, so setting up a mobile data connection takes only a couple of clicks. It's a far cry from the maze of settings you have to enter on most Windows Mobile smartphones. The phone only supports GPRS, not 3G or HSDPA, so you're limited to dial-up networking speeds.

Full-size touchscreen Windows Mobile smartphones let you edit Word and Excel documents, but the iPAQ 514 is rare in being a compact smartphone with built-in Word and Excel editors. It can view PowerPoint presentations, too, but you'll need a third-party application such as ClearVue PDF to view PDF files.

The iPAQ 514 can connect to POP3 and IMAP4 email servers, and has a built-in database of email settings for common email services such as Gmail. It can also synchronise your contacts, calendar, email and tasks with a Microsoft Exchange server, and supports Push email if the server has the Direct Push service enabled.

One of the iPAQ 514's most interesting features is its Voice Commander program. This lets you use voice commands for common tasks such as dialling contacts, and it will even read out text messages and emails to you. If you want to reply to an email but can't stop and type a message, you can choose to reply with a voice attachment. This records up to 30 seconds of audio and attaches the resulting Wav file to your email reply.

The iPAQ 514's screen isn't brilliant, but it's a very good-value smartphone with useful voice-messaging features.

System Specifications

Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition operating system, quad-band GSM, GPRS, 2in 176x220 resolution LCD, 65MB internal storage, microSD card slot, USB1.1, Bluetooth 1.2, 802.11b/g, 1.3-megapixel camera, 49x16x107mm, 102g

Author: Chris Finnamore

Computer Shopper Online