Review of HP iPAQ 2215
I have finally decided to sit down and write out my first review for ChuckAllen.US. I have no shortage of ideas of products to review. It only makes sense, however, for my first review to be about my iPAQ. After all, I use this thing every day and have certainly put it through its paces over the past year and a half that we have grown close.
My iPAQ, as you can tell by now, is not a demo model from HP. Like all the reviews on this site will be, it was an actual purchase for my own personal use. It was not my first pda, however. This particular iPAQ was a replacement for its predecessor- an HP Jornada that got “lost” on a flight home from the Philippines. Prior to the Jornada I had favored the Palm OS owning a Visor Handspring that replaced my Palm IIIe.
That is enough about my pda history. I will even spare you the boring details of what I was looking for in a pda or how I use my pda. Granted, a few of those details may arise in the review but they are boring and inconsequential. Let’s get on to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
There is much that I like about the iPAQ 2215. It has a stylish appearance with a small size. This particular model sports both a compact flash slot and a secure digital slot which allows for more expansion without sacrificing size. The built-in Bluetooth would be nice if my cell phone carrier offered a Bluetooth phone that worked. The built-in memory falls in the middle of the range with 64 MB of storage in addition to the 32 MB of ROM that holds the OS and other files. Given that my old Jornada had 16 MB and my older Palm OS devices had 8 MB and 4 MB respectively, the 64 MB felt like an enormous hard drive. In my case, 64 MB of storage is ample since I store only my core applications in storage and install everything else to my 1 GB compact flash card. However, for anyone not accustomed to pda applications, let me assure you that 64 MB would fill up fast if compact flash memory were not available.
One main characteristic that falls in The Good is the processor performance. The model that I have has a 400 mhz Xscale processor which has ample power to run several applications at once. Video plays well using Windows Media, PocketTV or Pocket DivX without skipping or freezing. Listening to music while using other applications is not a problem either.
All is not perfect with the iPAQ 2215, however. I have had problems with my SD card not being recognized by the device. At times the device acts as if it has no SD interface and merely ignores any card I insert. I have also had one SD card become corrupt while using it in the device. (A simple reformat on my laptop restored it to usability.) Additionally, Windows Mobile lacks several features that simplify its use. Fortunately, spb Pocket Plus provides some of those missing features for around $10. Features such as launching applications from the Today screen, closing applications instead of merely minimizing them and displaying battery and memory usage on the Today screen really should be a part of the operating system.
One main characteristic that falls in The Bad is wireless. I mentioned that they device has built in Bluetooth, but that has not yielded much value. My wireless carrier does not offer any phones with the Bluetooth working so I can’t dial up through my cell phone. (Although some carriers must offer it because my device discovered quite a few Bluetooth devices in the Tampa airport one day.) I even tried to synchronize the device using a Bluetooth adapter on my pc. It worked once or twice, but after that it was more work than success. Wi-Fi wireless is also missing from this model. I initially ignored this deficiency since I could simply purchase a Wi-Fi Compact flash or SD card and use it in more than one device. The fact that I haven’t made that purchase yet indicates that perhaps getting Wi-Fi built-in would have been a good idea.
Now it is time for The Ugly- the one complaint that annoys me more than anything else about the product. In my case it was an easy decision: the side grips.
While I mentioned earlier that the iPAQ is stylish, this attribute has been entirely obscured by the side grips. The side grips on the iPAQ 2215 are made of black rubber and help to provide some traction for holding the device. The problem is that the grips come off too easily. At first it was merely annoying, as I would have to fasten the grips back in place every couple of weeks. Next it became frustrating as the rubber started peeling off the plastic fasteners and would no longer fit correctly. Lastly, it became Ugly as the grips would fall off every time I took it out of its case.
I now use the device with no grips at all. Every time I look at my $400, formerly stylish device that now looks as if it is only partially assembled, I grumble silently at the designers. Even though HP offers replacement grips at no cost, the replacements do not last very long. And I am not alone. Google “iPAQ grips” and you will see what I mean. I must also admit that there are a few companies that sell replacement grips- even one that screws on- but paying $20 - $40 more to get my pda back to its original form just doesn’t set well with me.
I understand that my Good/Bad/Ugly format seems to put more emphasis on the bad. However, for the HP iPAQ 2200/2215 I must say that I have been very pleased. I use my pda every day and carry it with me at all times. The iPAQ has proven durable, capable and well worth the money.