By Brandon Miniman | December 17, 2009 3:33 AM
HP hasn’t done much in the smartphone market to date. In 2008, they came out with three devices, the iPAQ 910, the Data Messenger and the Voice Messenger, none of which were successful. These devices, while good for the mobile professional, didn’t really have a mass market appeal. Well HP is back, this time with yet another device aimed at the business user. The iPAQ Glisten (interesting name for a business device, we know) runs on the AT&T network and has a BlackBerry-like form factor. Is this the device the one to help you be more productive? Read on to find out!
The HP iPAQ Glisten has a Qualcomm MSM7200A CPU running at 533MHz on Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional. It has 512MB ROM (200MB accessible), 256MB RAM (~140MB accessible), and has a microSD/HC expansion slot for added memory. The resistive AMOLED touchscreen is 2.5″ and is QVGA 320×240 resolution. It’s a quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900) phone with triband UMTS (850/1900/2100) with HSDPA. It also has assisted GPS, WiFi b & g, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, USB 2.0, and a proximity sensor. For audio, the Glisten has a 3.5mm headphone jack, and for syncing and charging there is a microUSB port. The rear camera is
3MP with no autofocus or flash. Powering the device is a 1590mAh battery. For even more specs, check out PDAdb.net.
The iPAQ Glisten is one of the few Windows Mobile devices to have a candybar QWERTY form factor like a BlackBerry. While the screen is smallish at 2.5″, it uses AMOLED technology to produce deep blacks, plus it is low on power consumption.
Weight (grams | ounces)
4.44″ x 2.47″ x 0.52″
Here’s the unboxing for the HP iPAQ Glisten. There was no case included.
The keyboard on the iPAQ Glisten is very similar to that of the Motorola Q9h, except that the buttons are bit harder to press. On the top of the keyboard are traditional Windows Mobile buttons (such as a D-Pad and Start menu button) which helps hugely with one-handed usability. Some of the keys on the bottom of the keyboard are programmable, which is nice.
On the right side of the device is a microUSB jack for syncing and charging, and to the right of that is a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio. On both sides of the device is a classy chrome strip.
On the let side of the device is the volume rocker.
On the top is a one-touch WiFi toggle (which is useful), and a standby/power button.
The camera on the rear is 3MP with no flash. The entire back is covered with a rubbery coating, which makes the device feel super secure in hand. Notice the stylus silo in the bottom right.
Taking off the back battery cover we reveal the large 1590mAh battery. Unfortunately, you must remove the battery to swap the microSD card.
Here’s a closer look at the hardware on the iPAQ Glisten.
Here is the Glisten compared to the HTC Snap and Motorola Q9h.
Here they are stacked, stacked. The Glisten is the thickest device here, but not by much.
Click onto the next page where we’ll cover software on the HP iPAQ Glisten.
It’s safe to say that HP has done little to nothing to customize Windows Mobile, which is unusual, but not the worst thing in the world (for those that like things clean and basic). The default Today screen is Titanium, which does a nice job at bringing forth important information. I’m currently running Spb Mobile Shell on the Glisten, and it’s working great.
Pressing on the Start menu button will bring up the default Windows Mobile Start menu. Sadly, you don’t get to see many icons on the screen at once. HP should have gone with a four-icon-wide grid.
If you drill into the Apps folder, you get a lot of java-based trialware. Typical for an AT&T device.
This is piece of software is branded with HP PhotoSmart. It’s a slightly glorified photo manager that lets you print, email, and organize your photos. I didn’t find much use for it.
You can customize four buttons along the bottom of the keyboard to launch any program you want. Nice!
The Glisten comes with a fair amount of available ROM and especially RAM. I found device performance to be adequate …certainly not speedy, but it’s a very usable device with little lag involved with opening a program. Another annoyance is the HP doesn’t include any memory management, so at times you may have to go into the Task Manager and kill applications that are using a lot of RAM. Again, I’m using Spb Mobile Shell, which makes this easier by giving you quick access to a task manager.
Out of the box, ClearType is disabled which makes text look horrible with the QVGA screen. Be sure you flip this on.
It looks like AT&T has included a built-in updating application, which didn’t pull anything down when I ran it.
Here’s a closer look at the software on the HP iPAQ Glisten.
From the home screen you can begin dialing the name of the personal you want to call (very convenient and fast), or you can press the Call Start button to bring up the dialer (Windows Mobile default).
When someone calls, you can the default Windows Mobile notification with a small photo.
When on a call, here’s what it looks like. The speakerphone on the Glisten was excellent with great sensitivity and loud volume.
This is the camera application, which is optimized for use with the D-Pad.
You can change modes by pressing the D-Pad.
The lack of auto focus and flash made this indoor macro shot come out blurry.
Here’s another indoor shot. The image is pretty sharp, but the colors are dull.
Here’s an outdoor shot that looks good when made smaller, but if you check out the original, you’ll see how noisy it is. The iPAQ Glisten takes video at QVGA resolution.
On the next page we’ll cover performance, battery life, and give an overall opinion on the Glisten!
Thanks to a huge battery and an AMOLED screen, the iPAQ Glisten has fantastic battery life. Under a moderate amount of use, expect to get two full days without a charge. Under heavy use, you’ll last a bit over a day, and with light use, expect to charge after three, maybe four days. Very nice!
There are a lot of wishes that we have for the iPAQ Glisten, but it’s important to keep in mind that this device isn’t supposed to be flashy and excellent at multimedia playback. If you want that, get the Tilt 2.
For starters we wish that HP would have done something…anything…to change the interface of Windows Mobile. Each and every Windows Phone on the market has some improved home screen interface, plus a couple of pieces of software that are indpendent of what Microosft includes. The Glisten is basically running a clean and tidy installation of Windows Mobile 6.5. That’s it! While this may make the tweakers happy, it provides a drab experience for most users who want something interesting with a little bit of eye candy.
The rest of our gripes have to do with features and qualities that we see in other devices but not in the Glisten. For example, the small and low resolution screen isn’t good enough for a good photo/video experience. Also, swapping out microSD cards isn’t easy and requires you to pop out the battery. But again, it’s likely that the average Glisten user isn’t going to be using the device for multimedia, so these aren’t huge issues.
Right now you can get the Glisten online from AT&T’s website for $179 after discounts and rebates, or $379.99 without a contract.
- Fantastic battery life
- Great speakerphone
- Excellent one-handed usability
- Great keyboard
- High build quality, solid in-hand feel
- Clear call quality
- Has a 3.5mm audio jack
- Low resolution screen
- No software enhancements included
- Poor camera/camcorder
- Poor multimedia experience
- Must remove battery to swap microSD card
|Ease of Use|
The iPAQ Glisten is a bare bones productivity device. It is in no way flashy or exciting, but it wasn’t intended to be. It’s a business device that has great battery life, terrific one-handed usability, and a great keyboard. If you’re a fan of the candybar QWERTY form factor, the Glisten will make you happy. But if you want a device that can do more than just communicate, you’re better off with a device like the AT&T Tilt 2.