HP iPaq hx4700

I have no time for this review. Executive summary?

Probably the biggest and best screen on any PDA, WiFi, Bluetooth, and decent speed and battery life. If you don’t mind the price and the touchpad, it’s an excellent device.

I have cleared a minute or two for you. Continue. What is it?

It’s a PDA. The main feature of this one is the screen. Most Windows Mobile PDAs have screens of 240×320 resolution. This has been looking a bit tight for a while now – most current PalmOS devices are either 320×320 or 320×480. The hx4700 is one of a crop of newer devices with 480×640 screens.

It also has WiFi, Bluetooth, a fairly speedy processor, and a laptop-style touchpad in place of the usual joystick-style direction button.

What will it do for me?

Well, I’m writing this on it now 😉 This bit, I’m even writing with a keyboard – my old Palm Wireless Keyboard. They’re great for taking notes, and with the VGA screen in this one, reading is pleasant and easy too. I read whole books on it using eReader.

It also acts as a voice recorder, and you can transfer the recorded files to your PC as wav files. With the right software, all sorts of things are possible.

Why is it cool?

That screen – gotta love that screen. There’s a lot more features in there, but it’s the screen that stands out against the other models.

Why is it uncool?

It’s a bit bigger than most PDAs, so it might spoil the lines of your suit. The price is going to put a lot of people off, too. I really like my PDA to cost little enough that I could afford to replace it without too much trouble if it was lost or broken. This one is a bit beyond that.

Lots of people find the trackpad to be a problem too. I think I would prefer real buttons, but it’s not a problem. Some people just can’t get used to it and it ruins the machine for them. For such an expensive machine, it’s also a bit lacking in RAM – only 64Mb, when several other machines have 128Mb.

Should I buy it?

If you really want the best screen, then yes. If you could manage with a slightly smaller screen, check out the Fujitsu Pocket Loox 720. Terrible name, but nice little machine – includes a camera and 128Mb RAM, and the screen is the same resolution as the hx4700 – just a little bit smaller. Dell also make an Axim with a VGA screen – it looks a bit washed out next to the iPaq or the Loox, but the machine is quite a bit cheaper, and it’s small and neat.

Any more random thoughts?

Yes. If you get one, get some screen protectors – but get good ones. I use PPC Techs WriteSHIELD ones (available from Expansys in the UK), and they’re very good.