HP iPAQ h6315 Pocket PC Phone Edition

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WHAT’S
HOT

This Pocket PC is a completely fresh design. In a continual effort by HP to break away from the sleeve based design in the 3000 and 5000 series iPAQs, HP has decided to integrate as much functionality as possible right out of the box. Some of the features are menial, like the built-in VGA camera, while others are extremely worthwhile like the included snap-on thumb keyboard. With the industry standard SDIO slot, it shouldn’t even hold back the power users among us.

   Size has become more and more crucial as of late in the mobile device
market. Let’s do some comparisons with
the iPAQ h6315 versus other Pocket PCs.

Device
(no cover)
Size
(inches)
Weight
(grams | ounces)
HP iPAQ h6315
4.68″ x 2.95″ x 0.73″
190 | 6.70
HP iPAQ rz1715
4.48″ x 2.75″ x 0.53″
120 | 4.23
HP iPAQ 2215
4.57″ x 2.95″ x 0.63″
142 | 5.01
HP iPAQ 1910
4.46″ x 2.75″ x 0.50″
120 | 4.23
HP
iPAQ 5450
5.43″
x 3.30″ x 0.63″
206
| 7.26
Dell Axim X3i/X30
4.60″
x 3.21″ x 0.58″
138
| 4.80
Dell Axim X5
5.00″ x 3.20″ x 0.71″
196 | 6.90
Toshiba
e740
4.90″
x 3.10″ x 0.60″
190
| 6.70
Toshiba
e310
4.90″
x 3.10″ x 0.40″
138
| 4.90


BOX
CONTENTS

 

   This iPAQ comes boxed with all the same accessories that we’ve seen
in previous models, with the addition of a single ear handsfree headset and snap-on thumb keyboard.

From left to right: power adaptor, thumb keyboard, iPAQ h6315, handsfree kit, leather case, headphone adaptor, USB cradle.

The
USB cradle has a slot for an extra battery to charge while syncing
the iPAQ.

As always, the AC Adaptor comes with the built in adaptor dongle to connect AC power directly to the iPAQ without needing the cradle.

In
the cradle, the iPAQ h6315 looks professional and capable.

THE
DEVICE

   Let’s take a closer look at the iPAQ h6315.

Notice
the rubber grips on both sides of the device, taking influence from the iPAQ h2215. In fact, the h6315 seems very reminiscent of the 2215.

From
the back. The battery door is actually a user replaceable
battery. Above it: the VGA camera and speaker.

Like the iPAQ h2215, the iPAQ h6315 feels very snug when holding it with one hand.

Unlike the iPAQ h2215, the rubber grips are firmly implanted into each side of the device. Pocket PC Techs may not need to intervene this time around.

The
base of the device sports the sync port and the clamping holes for the snap-on thumb keyboard.

Now
back onto the front. HP put access to the most important features on the front of the device. Next to the microphone hole are four application buttons and the standard directional pad. Application
buttons include (from left to right): Contacts, Answer Call, End Call, and Inbox (which serves as a depository for e-mail, SMS, and MMS messages).

The
top of the iPAQ has three LED indicators. For some reason, OEMs insist on having blinking LEDs for everything, I’m just pleased that HP had the good sense to make it look clean and simple. The indicators are (from left to right): Phone GSM/GPRS status, Bluetooth status, and WiFi status. With the exception of the Bluetooth LED, they flash amber when there is no signal and green when it is connected.

The side of the device hosts the SDIO slot. If this device did not have all of the built-in Wireless functionality that it does, I would probably complain about this slot’s location due to the fact that many IO based SD cards protrude from the device. Normal memory cards, though, fit right in with the push-push loading system.

At the top of the device is the Infrared port and antenna. I’m not entirely certain if the antenna is for the WiFi or Cellular capabilities of the device. It’s interesting to note that my i-mate Phone Edition device often gets slightly better reception than the iPAQ h6315, even without a protruding antenna.

PICTORIALLY
– HP iPAQ h6315 AGAINST OTHER SEGMENT DEVICES

   Most of you are probably wondering how this device
measures up when compared to other Pocket PCs. For the purposes of this
review, we matched the iPAQ h6315 up against three other Pocket PCs.

From
left to right: HP iPAQ h6315, HP iPAQ rz1715, and Dell Axim X30. Side-by-side, you can
see that the iPAQ h6315’s screen is much more washed out than the others. It lacks the same contrast.

From left to right: i-mate Phone Edition 2003 and HP iPAQ h6315. Although the iPAQ h6315 is only smaller by a bit, it feels substantially more compact in both the hand and pocket than the i-mate Phone Edition device.

From
top to bottom: HP iPAQ h4150, HP iPAQ rz1715, HP iPAQ h6315, i-mate Phone Edition 2003, and Dell Axim X30.

Notice
the top of the iPAQ h6315 is completely barren of activity: no buttons or headphone ports.

And
finally from the bottom…

All
in all, I find the design of the iPAQ h6315 extremely professional and elegant.

THE
DISPLAY

While at first glance the iPAQ h6315 seems to have the same great 16-bit transflective display as its brother and sister PDAs, a closer inspection reveals that this iPAQ’s display is much more washed out. The colors at times are not rich, they seem faded and bleached.

The following test was done between the displays of the iPAQ h6315 and the iPAQ rz1715. The room where the photo was taken was completely dark and the same photo was loaded on each device into the same image viewing program.


The display on the h6315 is overly brightened and washed out around the corners.

The display on the rz1715 shows rich colors, closer to the way the photo looked on my desktop PC.

On the bright side, the iPAQ h6315 is extremely easy to read outdoors. This device performs better in direct sunlight than any devices have since the reflective screens. Perhaps HP was alright with letting the display be washed out provided outdoor readability was good. It’s certainly a compromise I’m willing to make since I don’t just make calls indoors.


INCLUDED ACCESORIES

I was surprised to see the high quality accessories that came with this device.

The snap-on thumb keyboard is compact and easy to travel with.

Although it was not originally evident from the leaked photos of this device online, the thumb keyboard adds quite a bit of thickness. It’s not something I would ever keep on the device all the time. It would no longer be a “pocket” pc.

They keyboard is surprisingly easy to pound out some sentences on. It makes text messaging a joy instead of an annoyance.

The supplied handsfree kit is more than adequate for those who have yet to invest in a Bluetooth headset. It is great to see that HP has included a standard size headphone port on the device, which is unusual for a converged device. Anticipating customer concerns, HP even included an adaptor so that customers can use handsfree kits of their own with the mini-plug. Good thinking HP; I would much rather use an adaptor to go bigger than an adaptor to go smaller when it comes to headphone ports.

The supplied leather case is exactly like the one that shipped with the HP iPAQ h5500 series devices. It features a belt-clip and magnetic closure. Since it’s a bit of a bulky case, I may be more apt to carry the iPAQ without a case.


EXTERNAL FEATURES

HP really packed in the buttons on this device. Due to the rubberized side, however, they were hidden and not easily activated.

The right side of the device. From left to right, the camera snapshot button, SDIO slot, and volume control (to set ringer and system volume).

The left side of the device. From left to right, the headphone jack door cover, voice memo, and soft reset pin-hole.

The back of the device. Under the removable battery lies the SIM card slot. For the initial launch, only a T-Mobile SIM card will work with this device.

When replacing the battery, it must be locked into place using the stylus.

The stylus pulls straight out of the device, HP elected not to use push-push slot as they have with some previous devices.


WINDOWS MOBILE 2003

The HP iPAQ h6315 comes preloaded with Windows Mobile 2003 Phone Edition, not Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition.

HP and T-Mobile worked hard to customize the device out of the box with their extra features and options. You can access the Call Log and Voice Mail directly from the Today screen.

T-Mobile also bundled a small utility called Wireless E-mail. It basically permits you to register your own personal POP3 e-mail accounts on their servers. In turn, they will text message your device any time a new message is received. Naturally, text messaging fees apply. If you have an unlimited data plan, just use the always-on GPRS to have your email checked on a routine basis to avoid the fees.

The taskbar icons (from left to right): iPAQ Wireless Control, SIM Manager/Phonebook, and Battery Status. Having the battery status on the bottom of the screen is extremely useful.

Tapping on the Call Log button from the Today screen brings you directly to your full list of calls.

Tapping and holding on a Call Log item brings up a menu. It’s good to see that Send SMS made the list.

Although the Phone screen is unchanged from any other Pocket PC Phone, the Tools menu has a few surprises. Not only does this iPAQ have far greater integration of MMS (directly with Inbox), but it also has options for a Hands-free device.

When the device is associated with a Bluetooth headset, you can elect to enable or disable these options. This is absolutely groundbreaking on HP’s part, because they are actually allowing for the Pocket PCs audio and microphone to me controlled by a Bluetooth headset, not just the telephone calls. Therefore, one can use their Bluetooth headset to completely control Microsoft Voice Command, if installed, dictating instructions to the phone such as “Call John Doe at home”. Very nice.

If WiFi is disabled or out of range, the iPAQ will automatically try to connect to GPRS when an internet connection is needed.

Pocket Internet Explorer performed flawlessly on the over-the-air connection. The arrows with the “G” on the task bar denote an active GPRS connection.

SMS messages come in even when connected to GPRS, and thanks to Windows Mobile 2003, they now have a name assigned from Contacts instead of just a phone number.

The Accounts list includes both SMS and MMS. Up until now, most every Phone Edition device has had its own MMS application bundled, it’s good to see one with tighter integration with Inbox.

 

INTEGRATED CAMERA

HP refuses to be second to none. Taking a lead from Sony and i-mate devices with built-in cameras, HP has done the same with it’s iPAQ h6315.

Upon startup, the iPAQ’s screen becomes a large viewfinder.

Tapping on the options button leads to a menu with several different preferences. White Balance, Color, Compression, and Resolution can all be adjusted.

There are three resolutions to choose from, listed above.

The camera, surprisingly, includes some odds and ends like a Self-timer.

From the viewfinder mode, a digital zoom can be applied. The digital zoom is good for two things: enlarging the pixels of an already pixelated image and making the photo look even worse.

The actual photo from the device. Click on it to see the full size uncompressed image.

The actual digitally zoomed photo from the device. Click on it to see the full size uncompressed image.

Once a photo is taken, it can be sent to a myriad of places as shown above.

From there, pictures are easily transformed into MMS, or as T-Mobile labels it “Picture Messaging”.

MMS messages can be addressed to another phone or e-mail address. Messages sent to e-mail addresses are sent from ‘yournumber’@tmomail.net.

   Call me a pessimist, but I simply don’t see the benefit of having an onboard camera packed onto a device like this until it has better resolution and a flash. Without those, I’m still bringing along a Sony Cybershot if I really want to take photos.


DEVICE
SPEED

Continuing the speed tests we have performed
with other Pocket PCs, we’ve updated the speed table to include the
results from the iPAQ h6315. All of these benchmark results come from the
Pocket PC application Spb Benchmark from Spb Software House.

The iPAQ h6315 scored lowest here. It seems that its Texas Instruments OMAP processor is extremely slow when compared with other devices.

CPU Speed comes up the slowest for the h6315 also.

The iPAQ h6315 fairs decently with graphics, but still slower than its brother the rz1715, the low-priced budget Pocket PC.

The h6315 can load text at an average rate.

 

As I was testing this device, a realization came to me that perhaps HP was not trying to make this device a speed demon. I began to think about what would be important for a device like this which has so much to offer, and then it dawned on me: battery life.


BATTERY
LIFE

Here are the results of our run it to
the ground tests:


Full
brightness, normal utilization, 72 hours of standby allocated (where applicable):


Device


Time until 0% battery

HP iPAQ h6315 6h 42mHP iPAQ rz1715 3h 13m Dell Axim X30 3h 38m i-mate Phone Edition 3h 53m


Full brightness, all wireless features on, 0% utilization, 72 hours of standby allocated:


Device


Time until 0% battery

HP iPAQ h6315 7h 02m

As you can see, the iPAQ h6315 is a real champion when it comes to battery life. In all honesty, I believe this is why HP limited it to only 64 MB of RAM and included such a lackluster processor. It was their intention to make a really enduring device, and that’s exactly what they have done.


INTERNET CONNECTIVITY

 

    HP is truly breaking ground by including GSM/GPRS Cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth radios all in one device. Where some may think this would be a connectivity manager’s nightmare, HP has streamlined the process.


HP has included its reworked version of its iPAQ Wireless Manager to aid in simplifying the many types of connection the h6315 is capable of. Taping on either the Phone, WiFi, or Bluetooth icon toggles it from enabled to disabled, and vice versa. The “ALL OFF” button does just that, disabling all wireless services.

The Bluetooth manager offers all the typical services one would expect, including the Hands Free service.

Setting up the connection with my Sony Ericsson HBH-30 Bluetooth headset was completely effortless. The phone kept constant contact with the headset whenever it was in range.

Once the Bluetooth headset is connected, the headphone icon appears in the task bar. From there, audio is sent to the headset from the device (if you have it set up that way).

Nothing has really changed in the WiFi control panel, just the standard list of networks.

Once connected to a Wireless Access Point over WiFi, the connectivity icon changes on the task bar.

Although the iPAQ h6315 cannot be connected to GPRS and WiFi at the same time, the user can be surfing the internet while making a call. Notice the call icon to the left of the clock and volume icon on the taskbar.

Most remarkably at all, the device can be connected to the internet over a WiFi connection while pairing with a Bluetooth device, all the while in the midst of a call. Very impressive!


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BUNDLED APPLICATIONS

The HP iPAQ h6315 comes with a few neat applications.

A built-in instant messenger service allows for you to connect up with the top 3 remaining IM clients (MSN Messenger is also included as part of the core operating system). It is my understanding that these programs will work by sending and receiving SMS text messages. More charges? No thanks!

Within Settings is a small applet called Phone Band which allows you to connect up to either the North American or European/Asian bands.

Also included in Settings is an applet which controls various profiles, which act as a sort of macro to bring the device to the exact settings you have pre-selected at the change of just one option.

You can even pre-select which wireless services to have enabled and disabled when switching profiles.

When holding down the Power button, profiles can be easily changed.

Naturally, the snap-on thumb keyboard has a small Settings applet. I would recommend disabling the keyboard sound, it might drive you mad after a while.

    HP also bundled to invaluable applications from WESTTEK, LLC. ClearVue Presentation allows users to view and present PowerPoint presentations on the go, while ClearVue PDF is for viewing PDF files normally opened with Adobe Reader.

When receiving an e-mail with a PowerPoint file attachment, it is immediately associated with ClearVue Presentation.

The software then renders the presentation flawlessly.

ClearVue PDF is a simple PDF reader with functionality you’d come to expect on a small screen, namely a zoom function.


BLUETOOTH GPS SUPPORT

Some of our readers are probably wondering how well this device works with Bluetooth-based GPS systems. The answer is: flawlessly.

The GPS tracks perfectly while driving at a baud rate of 38,400 bps.

Phone capabilities are not affected by the GPS, even when it is dictating directions (tests performed with Bluetooth GPS Solution by Belkin).


PURCHASING

The HP iPAQ h6315 is slated to be available from both HP and T-Mobile. If ordered from T-Mobile, they will send the phone with an activation kit. If ordered from HP, it will come with a SIM card and a phone number for T-Mobile to activate it. The price is expected to be $599.00.


PROS


Integrated GSM/GPRS Quad Band Cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth Headset support across the Pocket PC, not just for calls
  • Outstanding battery life

 

Snap-on thumb keyboard included


CONS


  • Lackluster CPU Performance


  • 64 MB RAM can be confining

  • Screen lacks contrast, colors are washed out
  • Integrated camera lacks flash, high resolution, and any actual usefulness


OVERALL
IMPRESSION

Overall, this Pocket PC has really impressed
me. I find that the minimal amount of RAM and poor CPU performance are more than over shadowed by the iPAQ’s battery life and rock solid stability. This device is a true multi-tasker, making complex switches in connectivity seemingly transparent to the end user.

That
being said, HP has produced a strong contender for the ever-growing market of converged devices.

Back
to pocketnow.com
|
Discuss
this Review


PROS


Integrated GSM/GPRS Quad Band Cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth Headset support across the Pocket PC, not just for calls
  • Outstanding battery life

 

Snap-on thumb keyboard included


CONS


  • Lackluster CPU Performance


  • 64 MB RAM can be confining

  • Screen lacks contrast, colors are washed out
  • Integrated camera lacks flash, high resolution, and any actual usefulness


OVERALL
IMPRESSION

Overall, this Pocket PC has really impressed
me. I find that the minimal amount of RAM and poor CPU performance are more than over shadowed by the iPAQ’s battery life and rock solid stability. This device is a true multi-tasker, making complex switches in connectivity seemingly transparent to the end user.

That
being said, HP has produced a strong contender for the ever-growing market of converged devices.

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About The Author
Derek Snyder