Cyberdog Biscuits

Musings and bruisings about Apple, Macs, iPods and everything we love and hate about thinking different.

Friday, August 11, 2006



As you can see from the side-by-side comparison of the hw6915 (far right), h6315 (center) and h4355, I'm somewhat of an iPAQ fan and have been for several years. I started with Newtons many years ago and tried a few Palm devices, but always preferred the iPAQ and the MS Mobile OSes. Being primarily a long-time Mac user, I have to admit that Microsoft does a good job as long as they stick to simple OSes. But, I digress.

Simply put, after using this device for a couple of weeks, this is my favorite handheld device I have ever owned or could wish to own and leaves me for want of nothing, but there are some caveats and a warning which I will get to later.

The 240X240 screen took me about a day to get used to, but it is sharp, briliant and bright and any reservations I had about moving from 240X320 are gone. The Intel PXA270 416 MHz CPU isn't the fastest out there, but it is plenty zippy for all my tasks and web pages, large pdf and Word files load in a snap. The backlit keyboard is amazingly bright and the keys feel great.

Warning: I always encase my iPAQs and have preferred the Piel Lama cases. However, when I ordered one, it looked like the description had the 69xx hastily added to the description of the 65xx/67xx series, but the joystick in the 69xx is slightly taller (and a joy to use, no pun intended) and the leather screen"frame" divider on the case nearly tore off my jostick sliding it in. Additionally, the leather cutout in the lower right corner of the case pressed on the "return" key and would constantly inadvertently insert a return. I promptly returned that case and am using the eNovo case which is just fine.


The integrated GPS is flawless using the pre-installed Tomtom and I had no problems and outstanding satellite through Los Angeles and suburbs with my iPAQ in a PDA cup-holder. I always had a minimum of 3 bars reception through valleys, mountains, passes and in congested urban areas. The Tomtom software itself wasn't as bad as I'd heard and was pretty smart in being able to correct itself even when I blatantly ignored directions or took shortcuts.

The phone component using Integrated quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE technolgies is the best I've used, bar none. I happen to be locked into T-mobile (not because of contracts, but because of the unique plan we must use in our family business) and at my home, reception has always been horrible until now. For the first time I can hear people clearly and distinctly on every call (unless there is a problem on their end, of course. I rely on the speaker phone for 90% of my calls and the nuilt-in speaker is loud and clear enough to be used in my car while driving or when the phone is on my desk with several noisy fans going on in the room.

The 2.5 main caveats include the switch to MiniSD storage which rendered my entire SD card collection useless, but on the upside, MiniSDs have come down in price considerably and I bought a couple of 2GB cards for less than USD 30 with mail-in rebate, under USD 40 before the rebates. The second one is the switch to the 2.5 mm audio jack, which necessitates an adapter to plug into my stereo speakers. The last "half" caveat is that since this unit is still UK-only (you can find the 69xx easily enough on ebay, but I went with mobileplanet and their service was impeccable, as usual), it ships with the giant 3-pronged European AC adapter. I have plenty of compatible iPAQ adapters on hand which is why it only gets half a caveat, but if you don't, be sure to order one if you buy this device.

WiFi, IR and BT work flawlessly and WM5's ability to finally export and send Mobile Word files in a variety of formats is a huge coup.

The 1.3 Mp camera is standard Photosmart fare, but the LED flash amd micro mirror on the back, while not new to PPCs in general, make things a little fun.

Warranty service in the US is standard, world-class HP support and registration over the phone was no problem to my US address.

If you are a Mac user, MissingSync *does* work, but the 69xx series is not officially supported. It took me a few attempts to load the MarkSpace ActiveSync components and a few tries to get all the plugins to work, but I finally did! I can now sync with my Mac!

Since extra expense and hassle is the cost of being an early adopter and I consider myself lucky to be among the first to own this wonderful device, I can't subtract stars for what I consider to be hassles. The pros of this PPC phone far outweigh the cons and it draws lustful stares, oohs and ahs wherever I go.

If you're on the fence about this one and can swing the USD 760 (I saw a new one go for that one ebay recently) to USD 918 (mobile planet's latest price- they seem to have jacked it 20 bucks since I bought mine), I say you won't be disappointed. I'm sure as heck not.

Any questions or comments are encouraged in case (I'm sure I did) I forgot any key points. Here are a few more pics:


~Cd

39 Comments:

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I WAT ONE OF THOSE!!!

 
At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Z D said...

Thanks, very informative post. Here is a question or two: Are you using the UK version? Did you have to download maps for it run navigation or did it come with some in the package? Also, anyone know what the US package comes with as far as the navigation is concerned.

Thanks again.

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

Hi, z d.

Yes, mobile planet (expansys' US presence, as you probably already know) import these as-is from UK inventory. It runs 1.21UK.00 ROM, which, so far, has been a superior experience for me here in Los Angeles. I can't find anything wrong with it.

The iPAQ has a built-in program that lets you download your 1 free Tomtom city map right to your iPAQ and it went smooth as silk. I did have to pay for a couple of other maps, but they are all I will probably ever need and, as stated in the review, the Tomtom Sw works fine for me, so I have no reason to try anything else ATM.

There is one caveat about that built-in program for the free map. After you d/l it, it gives you a discount code for fuure purchases. When I wnet to the Tomtom site, it accepted the code, showed it on the order page, but never applied a discount. I called Tomtom support and the tech said he thought it might be because I was buying US maps from a UK device and he would alert the web team and someone would C/B after 3 days. That was over a week ago and no one has called. Anyway, I went ahead and bought the map because I wanted it, but a discount would have been nice.

 
At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Z. D. said...

Cyberdog,
Thanks a million! This is all the info that I have been seeking as to make a decision wether to wait for the US version or pick up the UK version. I am now tempted to pick up the UK version, but the price is the only turn off. If I want to save some $$ the best bet it to actually get a locked US version (cingular or any other GSM provider that carries it) and then have it unlocked for $50 or so from some online website. Decisions, decisions! hmm
By the way, I bookmarked your site. Your info has been very valuable. Best regards!

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

I'm glad I could be of help, Z D. The import rpice is a stopper for me to replace all of our iPAQs (we have 4 currently going) until they are sold natively, but I'm happy I got an early preview and don't feel sorry for having spent the money. I did see HP Canada is already selling or anounced they will be selling soon the 6950 (no camera) for $699 (I think Canada dollars, which is nice, but can't find the URL in my history), so hopefully they'll be coming down to the States at a good price and soon.

I'd be interested to hear how your unlocker service goes if you try it. I've aways wondered if they were just scammers.

 
At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Z D said...

I will keep you updated! Thanks.

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question about the HW6515: Can you setup the camera so that the current GPS position info (Latitude, Longitude, Course, ...)is automatically attached to the camera's pictures?

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you said you purchased the eNovo case, where is the cheapest site to buy one of these?

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

I think the 6515 (don'y have on eof those) can and know that the 6915 can attach a GPS location to a pic.

It's very simple. When you open Photomart program there's a little button "GPS" that records your current GPS coordinates when you snap the pic.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

Actually, I ended up returning the enovo case, too. I'm using a modified (i did it yself) Innopocket magnesium case and putting that inside of a generic leather belt case. I' not sure about cheapest, but I always buy my cases from cases.com. They're really good outfit and fast shipping.

 
At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you attach a cordless foldable keyboard to it?

 
At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Aewold said...

What is the GPS sensitivity? Is it the newer 2-meter or the 15-meter?

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

I don't know the official specs on the GPS, but judging by the way it plots my position, it sure seems within 2 meters.

 
At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, you were able to get the 6915 to work with T-Mobile? If so, any problems with getting service setup? I'm also stuck with T-Mobile and looking to ditch the blackberry.

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger frustrated atty said...

I just want to confirm that you're able to use the 6915 with t-mobile. Is so, any problems with setting up t-mobile service? I, too, am stuck with them and looking to ditch my blackberry

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

Yes, works with my T-mobile SIM card and I have tested it with a friend's Cingular SIM. It's a quad band and should work anywhere in the world on any network that uses a SIM card.

I hueard rumors on the HP forum that they are ready to drop inthe US, so the price should be a lot more reasianble than what I paid. They're already on HP Canada's website....did I already nmention that here?

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

To anon about the foldable keyboard: I don't think so unless it's a BT keyboard. The 6900s don't have USB interface.


You'd probably want tp look at the 6800 series which do have USB (but don't have a built in keybaord) if you wan to use a fold-out KB.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

Oh, to anon in re: cordless KB. I don't know. You'd probably get a definitve answer at the HP handheld forums.

 
At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review. One critical item was missing for me. How is the letter recognition. I've been a PDA user since the first WindowsCE device. For me the only input worthwhile is handwritting. I had a HP6315 with T-Mobile until my unit died. They would only offer a Blackberry replacement at the time and the new MDA is too small for me. I am concern the small screen will be consume with the letter recognizer screen. Any comments?

 
At 10:10 PM, Anonymous aewold said...

HP's website finally shows it available for the US market:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF25a/215348-64929-215381-314903-f92-1822489.html

 
At 1:48 AM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

Letter recognition is outstanding, IMO. I have pretty sloppy writing and I don't remember a mistake once since I've had it.

Judge for your self:
What I wrote.
The result

 
At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cyberaddy, great article. I am also with TMo, but have been trying to track the newest version of the 6515, the 6940 and 6945 (unlocked) GSM. I want to get either/or nad wonder since they are a beefed up 6915, if they would also work here.

 
At 8:35 AM, Anonymous JR said...

Will the 6940 and 6945 also run on TMobile? They are essentially a beefed up 6915. Any thoughts? Thanks.

 
At 12:15 PM, Blogger Bill said...

It seems HP has had a falling out with ATTingular and brought out an Unbranded/Unlocked GSM 6940/6945! I just ordered one. 6940-No Camera and 6945 - With Camera. I should have it on Monday 9/18.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Apparently ATTingular and HP had issues and HP decided to bring out the unbranded/unlocked 69XX now rather than further delay the US introduction. I just ordered one at $599.00 from HP Shopping. The 6940 has no camera while the 6945 does. I don't think these are beefed up at all but rather simply the US version of the UK and Euro models.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

JM: The 6900 series is quad band and unlocked. It's designed to work globally anybody's SIM card. T-mobile won't support it if you have problems figuring it out, but that's what the HP forums are for.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

bill- yeah specs look the same. I couldn't see anything different in the included software liste either. I just ordered a 6945 for my wife and will see how that goes before replacing our whole fleet of iPAQs.

There was one bug, or rather a typo, in the UK version I'm running, though. I'll be curious to see if they fixed it for the US BIOS: They misspelled "lose" in this notification box, as you see here.

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

crossing my fingers, this blog pushed me over the edge and i ordered a 6945 from HP, showing an est. ship date of 10/3/2006. I'm cingular, Treo 650 and need WM5 ... didn't see a mount kit avail, but didn't look hard.

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

Anon: Palm devices actually turned me off to PDAs for several years coming from Newtons, so I know there's often a diametrical preference between the two OSes. If you have time, please let us know what outhink of your 6945. I'd be veryinterested to hear a Treo user's reaction to this iPAQ as I think oter's would.

 
At 4:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a mac user and i was wondering if you could tell me how to sync this device using isync

 
At 11:31 AM, Anonymous ad said...

Great information everyone! Sounds like a fantastic device; my mind is 99% made up. However, I have just a few remaining questions regarding the 6910 that I'm hoping someone here might be able to help me with - as I can't find the answers anywhere else online / in the available product specs:

1) Does the device have a PDA-only mode? (i.e - Is it possible to turn the phone off, but still use the PDA?)

2) Does the device have an FM-band radio receiver?

3) Is it possible to listen to music via the speakerphone, or only with an earplug?

4) Approximately how much the GPS software add-on cost?

Thanks much!

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

Anon Mac user: You need Missing Sync, but the 6900's are not officiaally supported yet. However, mine does work with it.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

ad:

1. Yes. Just turn off the phone in iPaq wireless settings.

2. No FM. The iPAQ 6828
has one, but no keyboard, different form factor
3. You can listen from the built-in speaker, but it's very small. Again, for multimedia type stuff, the 6828 is better with 2 stereo speakers built in.

4. Tom-tom GPS software is included with 1 free city map download. There is other GPS software you can buy and install, but I'm not sure of the brands off the top of my head.

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Pasha said...

Hi,
I have just question does this messenger is compatible with T-mobile service?

 
At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just about to purchase a new 6945 but I have one thing holding me back. I really like voice activated dialing. I chatted on line with a HP rep and he said it DOES support voice activated dialing. However, I have not seen voice activated dialing listed anywhere as one of the features.

Can you tell me if it does support voice activated dialing using a bluetooth headset.

Thanks Tim

 
At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there, I'm new to the terminology and it would be helpful for me to understand what "unlocked". I take it if for example I'm a Verizon customer, I could buy this phone and have them activate it. Please excuse my ignorance.

 
At 11:29 PM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

I'm not sure if Verizon uses SIM card (GSM/GPRS) phones. Around here (SoCal) I think it's only T-Mobile and Cingular while Verizon is a CDMA network.

Unlocked means it's not restricted to one carrier as are the phones when they are sold through the carrier(at usually heavily discounted prices.)

 
At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gday cyberdog,

Can it run WMP 10 and TOMTOM at the same time? ie listen to mp3s (headphones) and get GPS navigation?

Cheers.

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger Cyberdog said...

I don't know. Let me see... yep, sure does. the music skips for a second while the GPS is putting heavy load on the CPU such as during signal acquisition, but they both run well together most of the time.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home