iPaq 214. First Impressions


I've had the PDA for two-odd weeks now.

These are the two weeks in which I try to install all useful programs that I had before and I download and install new ones that I think I might like/need.

I have not had time to squeeze every bit of it, because these past weeks have been pretty busy so these are just rough impressions...

But the day has come. As today, it has been hard-reseted, loaded with the programs that I need and ready for its first and definitive test: real usage. As you may or may not remember I am heading to DevTeach and that will be the perfect test on its features: lots of reading, video, note taking and PIM usage. Do not forget using electronic maps because I am not what you would call someone with a great sense of orientation.

Besides it's ready for real usage, equipped with the screen protector and the case ;-)

First Impressions:

  • Screen looks great. It's my first VGA device and I am impressed with the quality of text rendering and images.
  • I don't like the way the screen "feels". I have to press the stylus way harder than I used to in my "old" 2210. That annoys me and makes usage slightly less pleasant. It's true that it becomes slightly more responsive with the time, but that has to do IMHO with the fact that you get used to press harder.
  • I love WiFi. I had a compact flash wireless card, but I did not use enough as it's a hassle to remove cards (lazy boy speaking). But it does not work so well. I get lower signal than with any other laptop or my previous CF card. I have not installed the WiFi patch yet (nor it latest reincarnation). I tried the first one and could not install it although my deveice complied with all pre-requisites. Pretty lame on HP
  • Real VGA rocks!! But I must be getting old because my eyes get tired easily with those tiny types. It's a pity that only a handful of programs handle it correctly. A lot of them either do not support it at all, refusing to start (MioMap) or have minor (or not so minor) glitches that may turn them unusable. I found that RealVGA it's the one working best for me. If anyone has any other opinions, glad to hear them.
  • A lot of programs (mostly freeware) that I used have been phased out or turned commercial. And some of them do not work at all in Windows Mobile 6 or my iPaq (as some users reported that HP's implementation may be a little "peculiar"). I will miss vBar (replaced with pBar, not as nice integrated with the bar) and noteM (no replacement here yet)
  • Even with a pretty beefy processor, the machine does not feel any faster than my previous PDA. We are talking about ages in computer-years!!! I am very disappointed with this. Sure there are tasks where the processor outperforms my previous machine (like calculating routes with the GPS program). But in common day-to-day usage, it does not feel any snappier at all.
  • The problem is aggravated when the machine is in true VGA mode. Then, it really takes me back to 2002 and pre-Xcale devices
  • The volume of the device is very slow. I tested it with some movies and I had to enable the pre-amplification. I still do not know how it is going to

Fortunately enough I have no problems whatsoever with battery not charging properly or drainage when CF is left in overnight. I have, for the record, a 8 Gb Sandisk Extreme II and no SD/SDHC for the moment (I expect getting a cheap one in Canada)

To conclude my gratuitous rant on my soon-to-be-beloved device I am slightly disappointed.

I do not regret having bought it, but I am not nearly as happy as I have been with other devices.

I am liking it better than the first couple of days, and I think I will be happier as me and my toy expend more time together :-p