Good bye, iPaq – welcome back, Treo

One week ago I received the iPaq h6300 (actualy its the 6340, even the label on the package says 6300). I am a gadget guy, so I realy enjoyed this little toy. GSM Phone, WLAN and Bluetooth on board, nice look and feel. Even the Microsoft Operating System seemed not to bother me.
I played around for a little while, connected to the Internet where ever I was. Interesting how many open hotspots I passed on my way home. The good old Treo 600 feeled old fashioned compared to the colour- and powerfull iPaq. Applications like the M-Business Client (my Mobile Notes Client) run significantly faster. It was fun – for the first day.

Now it is time to look back on one week of heavy usage. And to say it here in advance: This device does not win the „editor-refuses-to-give-it-back-award“.

Here is why:

  • It´s an PDA, not a phone! It is obvious, that HP designed a PDA and added some phone functionality afterwards. They did not care about some basic problem using a mobile phone. One example: If you lock the keys at your mobile phone, they will only unlock, if you answer the call. Not the iPaq. If you receive a call or SMS arrives, the iPaq unlocks. If you are on the road, carrying the iPaq in your pocket and don´t care about the call or the SMS, the iPaq does not what he is ment to do. He is now alive, and the slightest touch on the screen starts activities. In my case, it started some programs – and in one case the iPaq called my mother in the middle of the night. Not funny.
  • Adaptors! Everywhere! The power outlet at the device itself is completly different from the outlet at the cradle. So don´t forget the additional adaptor, because the power plug will not fit into your iPaqs outlet. Similar problems with the headset. The outlet is covered with some useless plastic coverage, that is fixed and can not be removed. I use the phone daily in my car, and its a mess to connect it to the hands free set every time.
  • Voice Quality! Since one week, nobody wants to talk with me via my mobile phone. I hope there is no other reason for this than the iPaq. It seems, that the hands free set produces an echo, and everyone complained about hearing themselves with a short delay – independ from my location or the others provider or mobile phone. The Treo 600 had some problem with voice quality, too. It had a constant noise in the background when GPRS was on, but nobody wanted to kill me for that.
  • Applications! One of the strenghts I expected at the iPaq was the support for office applications like Word and Excel. The funny thing is: Documents to Go, which is a third party tool for Palm OS, provides much better support for Microsofts Office Suite than Pocket Word or Pocket Excel. The integrated support for Outlook is useless for me. I use Lotus Notes and synchronize via Pylon Anywhere.
  • It´s Windows! Microsoft tried to make its mobile Operating System work like Windows. Thats pretty bad. Its far away from intuitive design. It drives me mad to click through „Start – Programs – Settings – Hardware – Energy“ just to find out about the battery level. Compared to the very inuitive Palm OS on my Treo 600 it is a mess.
  • As in Windows, Programs crash from time to time. I usualy do not use a web browser on a PDA, but Internet Explorer crashed several times without a clear reason. Just opened my Blogger account, and Internet Explorer disapeared. Maybe Microsoft wants me to blog at MSN service only. Skype for Pocket PC worked fine at the first sight. I talked to a friend via WLAN and Skype, it worked very well (btw: He was connected to Skype via 33.6 modem). But Skype did not shut down. It resided somewhere in the ROM. It took me a while (missing the CTRL-ALT-DEL function that you need every day in the Windows world) to find out how too kill the program (Start – Settings – and so on)

There are many other things I do not like now. Today I tried to open SMS sent yesterday. It is there, but opening the SMS shows only empty fields. Forwarding the SMS was impossible, too. There are many little things like this which should not happen. And its not the price I want to pay for a faster processor and brighter display.

The design looks cool at the first sight, but then you realize all these blinking lights – three lights flashing asynchronous in different colours, showing the individual GSM, Bluetooth and WLAN activities. That is something for techies, its not decent. And the iPaq is definetly too heavy.

So finaly: It is a good PDA. But it´s not a SmartPhone as I like it. I will reactivate the Treo 600 tomorrow. And I will look forward to the Treo 650, which is pretty near to what I expect from a Smartphone – except the missing WLAN support. I did not expect to like that WLAN capabilities, but I learned to love it last week.

Old Comments:

Peter Fisch:
Puh, endlich einmal ein Praxistest von den Dingern. Etwas ernüchternd. Muss ich also noch ein weiteres Jahr warten… Peter (der immer noch mit seinem T65 unterwegs ist und nach wie vor begeistern von der Lautstärke der Klingeltöne ist…)
Und dieser iPaq kann nicht mal laut klingeln! :laugh:
Peter Seifert:
Du hast den 6340 ? mich juckt er ja auch als Eierlegende Wollmilchsau. Die Live-Tests bei HP haben ergeben: – Smart, lange Laufzeit für nen Windoof PDA, und fast Alltagstauglich, selbst im Auto mit Bluetooth Navi und Freisprecheinrichtung nutzbar (wenn man die Ausgabe über den Kofhöhrerausgang umlenkt. Und ein Hard-reset ab und an hat noch keinem Windows-Gerät geschadet :toungue:
Der 6340 ist aber dennoch nur ein PDA mit dem man zur Not telefonieren kann. Die hier beschriebenen Probleme hatte ich auch. Zu groß, Asbtürze, Windwos Macken…. Es ist schon ärgerlich, wenn allein die Berührung der Ohrläppchen auf dem Screen irgendwelche wilden Aktionen auslöst beim telefonieren – ich halte eben nunmal das Telefon beim Sprechen ans Ohr. Da haben die Produktdesigner wenig an Ergonomie gedacht. Aber als reiner PDA ist er sicher klasse, das stimmt.

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