capsule review

HP iPaq hw6920

At a Glance
  • HP IPAQ HW6920 MOBILE MESSENGER

    PCWorld Rating

    The hw6920 includes support for a wide variety of wireless technologies, but unforgivably lacks a 3G data connection.

Is there such a thing as wireless overkill? Maybe not, but the HP iPaq hw6920 certainly seems to be putting that question to the test. It features compatibilty with not only the GSM/GPRS/EDGE wireless standards but also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS-a cool combination that could free you from carrying a surfeit of gadgets all at once. Unfortunately, the poorly designed hw6920 leaves much to be desired. My biggest complaint: The handset has no 3G support, restricting you to older and much slower GPRS or EDGE technology for data connections, a situation that's almost inexcusable for a phone introduced in October 2006. (Wi-Fi is great as a backup, sure, but it's hardly ideal.)

Calls sound somewhat less than clear; and the unit, which measures 2.8 by 0.8 by 4.6 inches (width by depth by height) and weighs 6.2 ounces, is too wide to rest comfortably in your hand for long periods of time, especially during voice calls. On the bright side, the hw6920 turned in awesome talk-time battery life: In our tests we reached our cut-off point of 10 full hours without draining the battery completely.

The 3-inch screen is generously large but leaves plenty of room for a spacious keypad that's fairly easy to type on (though it's prone to registering repeat presses). But despite looking gorgeous at first glance, the screen has limitations that soon become apparent: Because its resolution is only 240 by 240 pixels, full-screen images (including the so-so shots taken with the 1.3-megapixel camera) look wholly pixelated.

The hw6920 runs Windows Mobile 5.1 and includes the usual selection of applications: Mobile Office for viewing and editing office documents, GoodLink for syncing to enterprise networks, and Pocket Streets portable map software, among others. (The hw6920 also has a built-in GPS feature, but if you want to use it to find directions you'll have to sign up for the $10-a-month TeleNav service.) Regrettably, I never managed to get Cingular's integrated mail client to work (even the manufacturer had no troubleshooting suggestions), so I was stuck with the obese Mobile Outlook client.

Finally, because the hw6920 offers only 6MB of user-accessible storage, I overloaded the unit within a few hours of testing and found myself besieged by low-memory warnings that wouldn't vanish until I uninstalled apps or moved data to a miniSD card.

At only $360 with a two-year contract from Cingular, the hw6920 is not a terrible deal, but other phones provide nearly the same features (sans GPS) with far fewer operational problems.

Christopher Null

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The hw6920 includes support for a wide variety of wireless technologies, but unforgivably lacks a 3G data connection.

    Pros

    • Includes built-in GPS
    • Keyboard is spacious and easy to type on

    Cons

    • Lacks a 3G data connection
    • Voice quality is below average
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