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Old 06-24-2003, 09:10 AM
Jason Dunn
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Default HP iPAQ 2215 - The New Shining Star in the Pocket PC Galaxy?

Ladies and gentlemen, before I slip into a coma at 2:10 AM, I'm going to hit the SUBMIT button and post this review. I'm about 28 hours late (I was hoping to originally publish this at 10 PM on Sunday night), but I hope you'll agree it was worth the wait. I've had the iPAQ 2215 for about a week now, and I've been using it as much as possible - this is truly an impressive device! It's also the first Pocket PC to win a very unique award from Pocket PC Thoughts...I hope you enjoy the review. Comments &amp; questions welcome!<br /><br /><b>UPDATE:</b> There's a reason why publishing reviews at 2 AM isn't a good idea. I left out an entire section on the screen! The review has been updated, and several errors have been fixed.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-36.jpg" /><!><br /><i>My goal in this review is to talk about the things that you might not already know, rather than cover all the specs in detail. The iPAQ 2215 is the first Pocket PC 2003 to hit the streets, equipped with a 400mHZ Intel PXA255 XScale CPU, a 100Mhz system bus (not 200Mhz as I had originally thought), 64 MB of RAM, 32 MB of Flash-ROM, a CompactFlash slot, and a SDIO slot. The full specs <a href="http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press_kits/2003/ipaq/ds_h2200.pdf">can be found in this PDF file.</a></i><br /><br /><b><span>First Impressions</span></b><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-38.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 1: The packaging and first look at the iPAQ 2215.</i><br /><br />My first impressions as I unpacked the box were excellent – quality packaging with a catchy design. Upon opening the box, I was surprised (and impressed) to see Outlook 2002 (XP) versus the normal Outlook 2000 we're used to seeing. Perhaps with the imminent release of Office 2003, the prices on 2002 have dropped. Regardless, it's nice of HP to give their customers the most current version of Outlook rather than an old one. Well done HP!<br /><br />The packaging contained the usual assortment of accessories: a stylus, the cradle, that silly adaptor you need to plug power into the device (a pet peeve of mine), and a ho-hum case. I know you’re never going to get a <a href="http://www.vajacases.com">Vaja-class case</a> with a Pocket PC, but this case is utterly boring and barely functional. I’m sure there’s a way to make a cheap, but reasonably stylish case. Doesn’t HP have all those smart case engineers? ;-)<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-35.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 1a: The silly power dongle. Having one more part to lose is never a good thing.</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-37.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 1b: The utterly boring black case. You can do better HP, I know you can!</i><br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><b><span>Hands on With the iPAQ 2215</span></b><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-30.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 2a: The iPAQ 2215, up close and personal.</i><br /><br />The device itself elicited a "wow" effect when I first saw it (Figure 2) – this is the first device that looks more like an HP Jornada than an iPAQ, which means it's truly the first post-merger device. Unfortunately, they didn't take the screen cover from the Jornada, which was among its best features. In terms of construction, I have mixed feelings. The fit and finish on the 2215 is excellent – the d-pad doesn’t feel mushy like my Axim X5, it has rubber side panels for easier gripping, and the silver-painted plastic looks attractive. Still, when compared to the iPAQ 1910, the 2215 feels a little on the “cheap” side. There’s always a trade-off between body materials and weight – I love the look of metal like the XDA has, but it adds tremendously to the weight. HP is betting that people want a lighter device, which is probably a safe bet. You’ll definitely want a case for this device – I can’t imagine it taking much of a beating and still looking good afterwards. I can’t wait to see what Vaja, Proporta and Sena come up with!<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-29.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 2b: A close-up shot of the control pad (d-pad) and the buttons. The buttons are a little small for my comfort, but I believe they’d be good for gaming and the d-pad is excellent, if a touch over-sensitive.</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-28.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 3: The top of the iPAQ 2215. From left to right: the stylus holder, the SD slot and CF slot (CF cover removed), microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack.</i><br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-36.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 4: What a noble-looking beast! The iPAQ 2215 – king of the Pocket PC jungle! For now…</i><br /><br />The device itself is very light – only 5.1 ounces (144.2 grams), and it can easily sit in a shirt Pocket without weighing it down. It’s 115.4 mm long, 76.4 mm wide and a svelte 15.4 mm thick. The next series of pictures show it compared with other devices so you can get an idea of its size. I wanted to make a special note of the fact that the bottom port is compatible with the Stowaway XT keyboard, which makes this an awesome tool for portable note taking and document work.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-33.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 5: From left to right, an iPAQ 5450, iPAQ 2215 and the iPAQ 1910. The 2215 is significantly shorter than the 5450 and nearly the same length as the 1910.</i><br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-34.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 6: From left to right, an iPAQ 5450, iPAQ 2215 and the iPAQ 1910.</i> <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-31.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 7: From bottom to top, an iPAQ 5450, iPAQ 2215 and the iPAQ 1910.</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-32.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 8: From bottom to top, an iPAQ 5450, iPAQ 2215 and the iPAQ 1910.</i><br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-25.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 9: The big and the small: the iPAQ 2215 (left) and the Dell Axim X5 (right).</i> <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-39.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 10: The iPAQ 2215 on top of a Dell Axim X5.</i><br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><b><span>What’s in the ROM Tom?</span></b><br />If your name is Tom, consider yourself lucky, because I’m writing this section <i>just for you</i>. Seriously. Here’s what’s in the ROM from HP:<br /><br /><b>iPAQ Image Viewer</b>: This is the same application that comes with the iPAQ 5450, and to be frank, it's not a great image viewer. It scans the My Documents folder for images, but doesn't look any deeper, so if you have images in the My Pictures folder, it won't see them unless you manually type in the path or open the file picker. Why not just scan the entire My Documents folder and show the user what’s there? There’s no intelligent sensing to auto-rotate a photo, so you’ll have to do that manually for each image. The app had a tendency to spazz out on me as well – I’d be in slideshow mode, press the d-pad forward once, and it would quickly go through four images instead of just one.<br /><br /><b>ClearType Tuner</b>: This simple application allows you to adjust the ClearType effect. I can only describe the effect as “heavy font” and “light font”. I prefer to leave it at the far left for a “fat font” ClearType effect. I also like that the iPAQ 2215 offers system-wide ClearType like previous Pocket PC 2002 units.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/ipaq2215review-snap014.gif " /><br /><i>Figure 11: The iPAQ 2215 includes a ClearType tuner.</i><br /><br /><b>iTask</b>: Like several iPAQs before it, the 2215 includes iTask. I don’t want to offend the developer who wrote this application, but while it’s functionally very powerful, the user interface is cumbersome and worst of all, the graphic design makes is painfully evident that it doesn’t belong as part of the operating system. A little bit of polishing would allow this app to fit in. I’ll just install Pocket Plus anyway. ;-)<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/ipaq2215review-snap013.gif " /><br /><i>Figure 12: One of these things is not like the other…</i><br /><br /><b>Diagnostic Toolkit</b>: This application is a refined version of the iPAQ self-test and would likely help HP tech support pinpoint problems on the device.<br /><br /><b>iPAQ Backup</b>: This is the OEM version of Sprite Software’s Pocket Backup, by far the best backup software on the market today for the Pocket PC. HP made a wise decision by bundling this software with their device, but I fear without some sort of reminder when the user first turns on the device, they may never set up the scheduling feature and have a backup when they need it.<br /><br /><b>Diagnostic Toolkit</b>: This application is a refined version of the iPAQ self-test and would likely help HP tech support pinpoint problems on the device. Not much here for the end user, unless you run into trouble and want to self-diagnose. Remember to turn your head and cough!<br /><br /><b>Nevo Remote Control</b>: The 2215 is a consumer device, so HP did the right thing by enhancing the IR strength and adding in the excellent Nevo. I won't do a full review here, but suffice it to say that if you've been looking for a universal remote, Nevo will do the trick. I used it on my 5450 to program my entire entertainment system and it worked perfectly.<br /><br /><b><span>Power: The Lifeblood of the Pocket PC</span></b><br />If there's one thing that no Pocket PC has managed to ever do is have such immensely good battery life that it's not an issue. We're certainly light years ahead of the atrocious battery life of the iPAQ 3650, but the 2215 won't win any awards for battery life. In order to keep the size of the unit down, HP put in a small battery – only 900 mAH. Compare that to the massive 1440 mAH battery of the Dell Axim X5 and you can see the 2215 won't last as long as some other devices. The good news is that with Pocket PC 2003, the battery warning goes off at 25% instead of the normal 40% from Pocket PC 2002. This takes away the irritation if nothing else.<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-27.jpg" /><br /><i>Figure 13: The 900mAH removable battery on the iPAQ 2215. It's great that HP has moved to removeable batteries on all their devices.</i> <br /><br />Using <a href="http://www.spbsoftwarehouse.com/products/benchmark">Spb Benchmark</a>, I found the following:
  • <li><b>Maximum backlight, looping WMV video playback:</b> 3 hours, 57 minutes<br /><li><b>Display off, looping MP3 audio file:</b> 8 hours 35 minutes<br /><li><b>Maximum backlight, standard use test:</b> 5 hours 39 minutes<br /><li><b>Maximum backlight, Bluetooth active, no use:</b> 5 hours 54 minutes
As you can see, this is just a little shy of the 12 hours HP quotes as the effective battery life on their Web site. :roll: The battery was fairly quick to charge: in two separate tests using <a href="http://www.spbsoftwarehouse.com/products/benchmark">Spb Benchmark</a>, the battery was recharged from flat to full in an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes.<br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><b><span>Device Memory</span></b><br />The iPAQ 2215 has 64 MB of RAM and 32 MB of ROM. 57.11 MB of RAM are available to the user and HP puts this on the outside of the box to eliminate buyer confusion (they actually under-estimate a little, stating there are 56 MB of user RAM). The Flash ROM only has a meagre 3.83 MB for user storage, although that's enough for several applications to live in. The Pocket PC 2003 OS image has grown a little and HP went for a 32 MB ROM chip rather than the larger 48 MB ROM that some other Pocket PCs have.<br /><br /><b><span>Device Performance</span></b><br />The iPAQ 2215 represents an evolution of Pocket PC performance that brings together two important elements: the first Pocket PC operating system based on Windows CE .NET 4.2, and an Intel XScale PXA255 with a 200 mhz bus. When you power on the device and begin to use it, it's impressively fast – screen redraws are snappy (almost as fast as the Palm Zire 71). Here's where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and where I'll unleash a partial set of tests I did with the incredibly comprehensive <a href="http://www.spbsoftwarehouse.com">Spb Benchmark</a> (ok, ok, I helped design the program, so of course I love it!). That's right, I could have taken even more benchmark screen shots. 8O Most of these are self-explanatory, but higher results (bigger bars) always mean more speed, which is better.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-1.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-2.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-3.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-4.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-5.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-6.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-7.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-8.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-9.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-10.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-11.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-12.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-13.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-14.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-15.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-16.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-17.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-18.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-19.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-20.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-21.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-22.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-23.gif" /><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-24.gif" /><br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><b><span>Performance Analysis in Brief</span></b><br />As you can see by the results on the previous page, the 2215 is a top-performer. Perhaps the most shocking difference in speed for me was, strangely enough, ActiveSync speeds. I connected my iPAQ 2215 to the front USB 2.0 port on my Shuttle SS51G, and when I transferred 20 BMP images that were 250 KB each, the entire process only took a few seconds – I was amazed! The 2215 finally achieves real USB speeds and it makes a huge difference with file transfers of all types. This is the first device I can honestly say doesn't need a memory card reader to transfer music – it's fast enough on its own.<br /><br />Although the 2215 was speedy in most tests, it fell down in a few key areas. Listing a directory of 2000 files, it was 80% slower than an iPAQ 5450. On several of the graphics tests (GAPI BitBlt and the Arkaball test), it really fell behind the zippy 1910 – and what's most curious about this is that the 1910 includes no graphics co-processor, while the 2215 includes the MediaQ dedicated graphics processor. Either the MediaQ accelerates some functions at the expense of others, or Spb Benchmark is flawed in some way. I'm going to investigate further, but suffice it to say that when you're using the 2215, nothing about it will feel slow – this is the fastest overall Pocket PC I've ever used.<br /><br /><b><span>Bluetooth – For Those Who Care</span></b><br />Bluetooth is one of those technologies that I keep trying to love – really! I seem to have a 50/50 success rate with it and I tend not to be successful when I really need to be. I was able to connect an iPAQ 5450 to the iPAQ 2215 and transfer a file from one device to another (that was cool!), but I couldn’t get the 2215 to connect to my Iogear-Bluetooth dongle-equipped desktop PC. The worst part about Bluetooth for me is how arcane the troubleshooting is – I never know where to start. I don’t have a spare SIM for my T68 (and right now my <a href="http://www.fido.ca">Fido SIM</a> is in my SPV Smartphone), but I’m sure it would have been an easy setup to get the 2215 to connect to my T68i and do GPRS data. There’s no headset profile on the 2215, or a keyboard profile, so this device won't be usable in any cutting-edge Bluetooth scenarios. Maybe next year?<br /><br /><b><span>So What About the Screen?</span></b><br />The screen 3.5" back-lit transflective touch-screen on the 2215 is great, but it's not quite as good as the screen on the 1910. It's quite bright, but it lacks the depth of contrast that the 1910 has. Side by side with the 5450, it looks roughly on par – in normal lighting, it looks like it has slightly better contrast, which is surprising given the image below. I'm not sure why the 2210 image looks more washed out than the others. The screen is inferior to the iPAQ 1910, but it's still an excellent screen for viewing photos, and I have no complaints about it (although the screen from the 1910 would make this Pocket PC even better).<br /><br />I shot this using a Canon G2 on a tripod in complete darkness with no flash, then I cut out each screen in PhotoImpact and created the montage below – I wanted to get an idea of how each screen looked at maximum brightness, displaying the same theme. All devices had ClearType turned off. And speaking of ClearType, it's interesting to note that Windows Mobile 2003 displays ClearType on the Today screen and start menu, while on my iPAQ 5450 with Pocket PC 2002, ClearType isn't visible on either.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-40.jpg"><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jason-june03-ipaq2215-41.jpg" /></a><br /><i>Figure 14: A screen comparison shot in the dark. Click the image for a full-size version.</i><br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><b><span>A Lot to Love for Audiophiles</span></b><br />Because it’s been a while since I’ve used an iPAQ full-time, this is the first time I really sat down to test out the bass/treble boost functionality located in the control panel. Colour me impressed! After plugging in my Sony MDR-EX70LP headphones, I listened to a bass-friendly favourite of mine (Extreme’s “Tragic Comic”) that begins with a delicious riff from an acoustic bass, complete with the sound of the pick hitting the strings. Did the iPAQ 2215 pull it off? You bet! Even without the bass/treble adjustments, it sounded quite good (lacking slightly in bottom-end tones however). A few tweaks on the bass/treble sliders later and it sounded almost perfect. <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/ipaq2215review-snap016.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 15: Bass and treble adjustments.</i><br /><br />At first I thought the amp didn’t go very loud, but just like your desktop version of Windows, there are two volume sliders you need to adjust to get maximum volume – the Windows Media player audio level and the system audio level. Once I cranked up both, it was quite loud. I wouldn’t recommend cranking up the system audio level all the way – I noticed a hint of distortion. A safe maximum would be the system volume on one below the top and the WMP volume level up all the way.<br /><br />There aren’t any headphones in the box, which is a great thing. Why? Because the 50 cent headphones all the OEMs include can’t do justice to any type of music (ok, perhaps country music, but I digress…). The user will experience much more satisfaction with the 2215 as a music player if they drop $20 on some intro-level headphones.<br /><br />Perhaps the most impressive thing was what I didn’t hear: no hiss. With most other Pocket PCs, when the amp is idling (not playing sound) but not yet in sleep mode, there’s a slight hiss. This hiss pervades every bit of audio that it plays, including music. Most of the time when you’re listening to music you wouldn’t hear the hiss. Still, knowing it was there always bothered me. Switching from song to song results in a very quiet pop, but even at maximum volume it’s almost inaudible. The dreaded “iPAQ audio pop” is finally gone for good!<br /><br /><b><span>Video Playback – Better, But Not Quite Perfect</span></b><br />Once of the things I’ve been told for months about the new Windows Media Player 9 Series client for the Pocket PC is how much they’ve improved the performance traits. I’ve seen some demos and was duly impressed, but I wanted to give it a try for myself.<br /><br />I took a 2 hour, 34 minute 502 MB MPEG1 rip of my Aliens 2 DVD at 192 x 320 resolution (455 Kbps) and, using the Windows 9 Series Encoder, I converted it to a 277 MB (263 Kbps) Windows Media Video file. The default Pocket PC profile for full-screen video is 320 x 240, but since the original source file was cropped to letterbox format, I adjusted the encoding profile to trim away the excess screen space which saved even more space than the already impressive WMV compression. The resulting video was easily played back in full screen mode by WMP9 and the audio and video were perfectly in sync. The quality was a little lacking on scenes with high motion and dark backgrounds – MPEG1 compression is known for its blockiness - so transcoding from that format into WMV is far from ideal. I haven’t had time to rip a new DVD, but considering that WMP seems to handle this bit rate without problems, I predict a raw rip to WMV would have great quality.<br /><br />All was not perfect however – I took a 362 Kbps WMV file and transcoded it to a 266 Kbps WMV file using the 9 Series encoder and the audio and video were slightly out of sync (about 5 ms). If you weren’t paying close attention, you might not notice it, but neither the original or the transcoded WMV file exhibited similar behaviour on my desktop PC, so I have to wonder what’s going on. I’ll investigate further, but so far everything I’ve thrown at the new Media Player has played, including video clips pulled directly off the Net (320 x 240, 368 Kbps). Reaching the point where you don’t necessarily need to transcode the video clip is a big step – it means less hassle and more natural use of your digital media.<br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><b><span>Gotchas</b></span><br />Although I really like the iPAQ 2215, no review would be complete without me finding room for improvement in a few areas. ;-)
  • <li><b>No screen cover</b> – am I alone in thinking this is a useful feature that allows you to keep the device as small as possible by not needing a case, yet still protecting the screen? I must be the only one to think that, because other than the just-announced JVC, screen covers are a rare thing.<br /><br /><li><b>No USB charging</b> like the 5450 - this is a great feature I’d like to see across the entire iPAQ line.<br /><br /><li><b>There’s no jog dial</b> – this is a deal-breaker for some people. I personally don’t mind that much – the only functional jog-dial I’ve ever seen is the Sony full rotation jog dial. Until Pocket PC OEMs start to license that style of jog dial, everything else seems like a pale imitation to me.<br /><br /><li><b>The cradle is very light-weight</b> and moves too easily when docking the iPAQ. I’d prefer to see something more substantial like the Dell Axim X5 cradle.<br /><br /><li><b>There’s no record button</b>. A year ago, I used audio recordings a great deal, so this would have been a deal-breaker for me. But once I started using an XDA full time, I was weaned off this feature. If you live and die by voice recordings, you’ll have to re-map one of the four front buttons to record your audio.<br /><br /><li><b>The d-pad is hyper-sensitive</b>. I found myself scrolling through multiple MS Reader eBook pages when I only wanted to go ahead one page. <b>UPDATE:</b> I adjusted the repeat rate in the button settings and now everything works as it should. It would be nice if HP set the default a little lower, because most users won't know to do this change (heck, I didn't!).<br /><br /><li><b>There’s no spare stylus</b>. Come on HP, save your customers a bit of frustration by including a three cent stylus. You know we’re worth it!<br /><br /><li><b>Poor speaker placement </b>– I want the sound coming from the same direction as the screen. The audio amp isn’t powerful enough to overcome this placement, resulting in poor audio performance if you’re showing someone a video clip and relying on the external audio for them to hear it.<br /><br /><li><b>When you soft reset the unit, it takes approximately 23 seconds to become usable again.</b> That’s a long time, roughly twice as long as the Dell Axim X5. I guess the good news here is that the 2215 is much more stable than other Pocket PCs I’ve tested, so you shouldn’t need to soft reset very often at all, especially if you’re using a task killer to exit from your applications.<br /><br /><li><b>Although I know this is a budget device, I'd love to see a bigger battery </b>– if they could reach 1440 mAH like the Axim, the device would be even more usable.
<b><span>Where to Buy</b></span><br />The iPAQ 2215 can be <a href="http://www.mobileplanet.com/private/pocketpcthoughts/product.asp?dept%5Fid=2621&pf%5Fid=MP965605&listing=1">ordered through our affiliate partner, Mobile Planet, for $399.95.</a> Shipping is free until June 30th, 2003.<br /><br /><b><span>Conclusions</b></span><br />In case you haven't figured this out already, even with a few rough edges, the HP iPAQ 2215 is the fastest and one of the most all-around capable Pocket PCs I've ever seen. It's small, light, fast, has built-in Bluetooth, dual-slots and is relatively inexpensive at $399 US. HP did a superb job of creating a device that bridged the gap between the entry-level 1900 series devices and their flagship 5000 series devices. <br /><br />The 2215 is a well conceived product that properly balances the elements of price, performance and value, with very few compromises. For these reasons, it's the first recipient of the Pocket PC Thoughts Zen Award, our highest honour reserved for products that meet the highest standards of consumer value and technical achievement.<br /><br />[If we had finished our Pocket PC Thoughts Zen Award logo, this is where we'd put it. Until then, just imagine a cool-looking logo <a href="http://www.dance-centre.com/images/ying%20yang.gif">based around the ying-yang concept</a>]
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 09:18 AM
Fzara
Thinker
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 405

MY GOD! I miight just have a heart attack looking at all that stuff to read!

How many benchmarks are those? Like 2,000?! All I can tell from the benchmarks is that the person from Microsoft who said that the Pocket PC OS will not be optimized for Xscale processors was lying.

Jason (Please, answer this tomorrow morning), have you tried testing out what the framerate is on PocketMVP, using some kind of similar video?

Nice work-an awesome review.
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 09:32 AM
Daimaou
Ponderer
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 102

THAT WHAT I CALL A F---- REVIEW ! OUCH ! 8O amazing JOB :werenotworthy:
 
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  #4  
Old 06-24-2003, 09:39 AM
Fzara
Thinker
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 405

One question though-why did the 1910 beat out all the other PPC's in terms of "Graphic Index"?

On a sidenote, you said "Colour me impressed", spelling "colour" with a 'u'. Oh well, only the English and the Canadians spell it that way-perhaps that tells the world something about them. :mrgreen:
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 09:46 AM
rskoss
Pupil
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 10

>> There’s no headset profile on the 2215

That's the deal breaker for me. The next PDA I buy will work with both a bluetooth phone and bluetooth earphones.
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 09:49 AM
echo
Pupil
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12

i was curious what the difference between the Intel PXA255 and PXA250 CPU's is :?: also, is it the 200mhz bus that speeds things up in the 2215 or is it also the PPC2003 :?: how fast is the bus speed in the 3970's :?:

reason i wonder is that people are reporting that the 2215 are great with the snes emulation. if i upgraded my 3970, would how much performance increase would i expect to see? something comprable to this device?
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 09:57 AM
jage
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 47

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fzara
MY GOD! I miight just have a heart attack looking at all that stuff to read!

How many benchmarks are those? Like 2,000?! All I can tell from the benchmarks is that the person from Microsoft who said that the Pocket PC OS will not be optimized for Xscale processors was lying.

Jason (Please, answer this tomorrow morning), have you tried testing out what the framerate is on PocketMVP, using some kind of similar video?

Nice work-an awesome review.
I didn't see any proof of X-Scale optimization...? Yeah, it's fast, but it looks more like pretty nicely done memory bus (especially looking at that memcpy test). Remember, the instructions X-Scale adds are more like some multiply-accumulate for video & music playback and some packed saturated arithmetic. Instructions like that are hardly useful outside games and multimedia and, should I add, useless in operating system. Besides, I doubt Windows Mobile 2003 even requires X-Scale. Maybe Windows Media Player and Cleartype has some optimizations for it, but outside that most likely nothing.

PPC 2003 aka Windows Mobile 2003 is probably going to speed up older StrongArm devices as well, when it comes to the applications and OS itself.

A good explanation (speculation, though) for the slow display performance is that MediaQ has a seperate memory mapped video buffer, with slow, uncached access... or, someone forgot to switch on write buffering on the CPU for the display RAM. It'd be interesting to see how it looks like when writing data to the buffer using ARM STM instructions. Another possibility is that GAPI takes excessive amount of time in functions GXBeginDraw() or GXEndDraw(). Ipaq 38xx has exactly this problem. If I had 2215 I could find it out in minutes. If this was the case, writing to video buffer directly would solve the problem.

I could write some video buffer testing code if someone would be interested to find out about the GAPI speed as well. Anyone interested with 221x? 8)
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 10:09 AM
freitasm
Oracle
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 841

Jason that was a long wait :wink: Have a sleep, and thank you for this review!
__________________
Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand technology community
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 10:20 AM
albsilva
Pupil
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 45

Hi,
2 questions:
- I assume that there are no expansion sleeves for this new ipaq, right?
- Is there a chance to connect this ipaq to GPS devices thru serial cable without using a CF to serial adapter, like the ones from Socket?

Thanks,
Alberto Silva
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 10:29 AM
aussieandre
Pupil
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 13
Default Screen Cover

Fantastic review. I want one now but I will not be getting one because of the lack of a screen cover. The screen cover is one of the best features on my 3970. I cant believe HP dont include one.

Now, if only they would integrate a mobile phone.... :?:

Andre
 
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