HP iPAQ rw6815 review: Small communicator for the pretentious

Jiří Kuruc, 23 January 2007. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Both mistakes and attractive features in the calling applications

iPaq rw6815 features a built-in standard GSM communication module, but does not support UMTS (3G). The communicator states no limits to the number of saved contacts. The amount of fields assigned to each contact is enough to meet any user’s needs. Contacts together with details inside them are seamlessly synchronized with MS Outlook – a simple way to always have updated back-up in your PC. Remote synchronization with an Exchange server is available as long as the latter supports such type of synchronization. In the case of MacOS X we highly recommend you the application Missing Sync.

Once we had packed up the communicator with contacts, the next stage of our testing was to start calling. Here we ran into another control obstacle: HP had forgotten to install a "smart dialer" (not a single one), which is a standard part of the equipment of all HTC PocketPCs. It is not only Microsoft to blame, who failed to implement it directly into the OS, but also Hewlett Packard, who could have added this application for easier dialing to the communicator’s features, just like HTC did. Let’s explain the problem: when you switch on the device and press the green receiver, a virtual keypad with numbers and letters appears on the display. The selection of a letter does not lead to a name filtering though – you need to insert a phone number. What? Oh yes, that’s right! Microsoft seems absolutely convinced in users’ ability to memorize 500 phone numbers. But there is a Contacts key, you will oppose. Yes, but if you do not want to pull out the stylus, you get no other remedy but browse the entire phonebook using the down arrow, really slow. A longer press on the arrow activates letter browsing, but even so searching may take you as long as half a minute. Without a doubt, the stylus makes things much easier, but who’s so crazy to feel like pulling it out every time a call is to be made?

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The keys only serve for dialing numbers; contacts take a long time to find

The so called "Smart Dialer" works as expected: you need to tap on the letter keys on the virtual keypad to filter the corresponding contacts. Besides, you can use the fastest and unbeatable search through T9; a single tap on a selected virtual key is enough to run the process - brilliant, fast and simple.

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Smart Dialer displays corresponding contacts

iPaq rw6815’s speaker is loud enough even though some reviewers express the opposite opinion. The testing piece we were provided with performed superbly in 100% noisy environment like a city street or inside a tram. Yet, our total evaluation mark is not the highest as the sound is unnatural, with less dynamics than desired. The speaker performs middle and high tonalities the best. The opposite part did not have any remarks on the sound quality. We also connected iPaq with a wireless Nokia earphone and it worked seamlessly. You will simply have to get accustomed to the time lag after accepting a call typical for all communicators based on the Windows Mobile platform.

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Options in the communication area

The last con that should not remain unmentioned refers to the keys beneath the display, which do not get illuminated when a call is coming. It would have been far more comfortable if they did, even though calls can be accepted by both the soft-key and the receiver.

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Setting up the option Voice Command

Another application serving calls is Voice Command. It dials calls and runs applications without the necessity of prior instruction records. Voice Command pronounces the name of the caller, provided the latter is saved in the communicator memory. If it is stored on the SIM card, the application only pronounces the corresponding number. What a pity that voice commands do not get transferred to the wireless Bluetooth earphone. It would have been the one and only truly practical implementation of this application.

Mobile data transfers

The voice type of communication is among the most important. Devices like HP iPAQ rw6815, however, are generally sought after by users in need of data communication. iPaq features GPRS/EDGE, but lacks HSDPA and even UMTS. Nevertheless, EDGE should be sufficient for any kind of comfortable browsing of graphic web pages. What’s more, EDGE is supported by nearly all existing operators. If you want to make a full use of data transfers, you’d better subscribe for a special data tariff. Should you not, you may want to install a suitable application to count up the amount of transferred data as well as the expected cost.

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GPRS offers a choice among timeslot schemes

Mobile data transfers provide access to a whole range of useful services, of which the most crucial is email communication. Windows Mobile offers the application Inbox supporting POP3 accounts. Inbox manages multiple accounts, provides automatic check in regular time intervals, signatures, and fully supports work with attachments. Besides, the upgrading pack AKU 2.0 comes to offer the so called Direct Push technology, also implemented in the famous Blackberry communicators. Email box is generally checked in regular time intervals. Thanks to Direct Push, however, emails are delivered immediately after having been received by the server. The only but also neccessary condition is that your company’s Exchange server supports Direct Push. Also keep in mind the amount of spam in today’s electronic flows, which will inevitable raise your monthly expenses and will eat up a part of the battery life.

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E-mail client and its settings

Here is a brief summary of some other uses of data functions: Internet Explorer (standard application) provides access to common Internet pages, but experiences difficulties with certain types of scripts or opening pages in separate windows etc. Should you have problems with browsing common web sites, look for alternative solutions. Many users ask about the compatibility between iPaq rw6815 and the service Web'n'walk from T-Mobile. They can work together, but you should use Opera Mini instead of a common Internet browser. Windows Mobile does not permit direct start of Java applications, but iPaq has a solution for this problem: in its menu you will find an application, which can install and run any type of Java applications.

No matter what type of on-line communication you happen to work with - MSN, ICQ, AIM, IRC, Jabber or Yahoo, you will easily find the corresponding application on Internet for free.

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