So it’s with perhaps a little bit of surprise that I find myself returning to one product again and again: the HP iPAQ hx4700. Not only is the device a marvel to look at, with its sleek lines and large, bright screen, but it’s just so darn useful.
Based on the latest version of Microsoft Windows Pocket PC, the hx4700 is packed with all the features you’d expect to find on a modern PDA: e-mail, calendar, contacts and a host of other applications are a mere thumb’s twitch away. What many PDAs don’t have, however, is a 4-inch, transflective VGA screen that displays 64k colors. I can only say you have to see it to believe it, the screen is that crisp, bright and good. The first time I turned it on, it was amazed at the clarity and resolution. Viewing pictures or PowerPoint slides is a joy with the landscape mode.
Also unique to this PDA is a laptop-like touchpad, which replaces what would otherwise be a standard nav button. The touchpad lends to mouse-like navigation that is very easy to use. The four application buttons are recessed, to prevent accidental triggering and blend in well with the black control panel.
The hx4700 also sports both CF and SD slots for adding storage capacity or to facilitate applications. I found these especially useful when I needed to access a large PowerPoint file at a recent meeting. Of course, with such a large storage capacity at hand, I couldn’t help but load it up with MP3s so I can listen to tunes while I play Jawbreaker, er, I mean while I work.
Need to connect to a wireless network? Easy. The connection manager controls both the included Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. I was connected to our office’s hotspot within minutes of turning the device on for the first time. I also managed to transfer a few large files via the Bluetooth manager, which was surprisingly speedy. With the wireless accessibility, the hx4700 also lets users configure the security settings, with 64- and 128-bit WEP encryption available. It also supports LEAP, 802.1x, WPA and CCX 1.0, to ease your IT department’s fears. It also has a standard IrDA for transferring contacts between infrared capable devices.
The hx4700 has been so easy to use that I find myself using it, well, all the time. The speedy Intel processor (624 Mhz), useful 64 MB of RAM, light weight and long battery life all equate to accomplishing more whenever and wherever you happen to be.