HP iPAQ 614c Business Navigator review: HP iPAQ 614c Business Navigator

Typical Price: £327.00
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good HSDPA support; onboard GPS; good build quality.

The Bad No navigation software included; bulky design; short battery life.

The Bottom Line With its HSDPA and GPS support, innovative virtual scroll wheel and sturdy build quality, the iPAQ 614c is not short on appealing features. However, we think its chunky dimensions and short battery life will put off many potential buyers

6.5 Overall

HP has plenty of experience of manufacturing PDAs, but this is only its second ever attempt at producing a smart phone. Its previous offering was the 514 Voice Messenger , which was aimed squarely at the budget end of the market. This iPAQ 614c Business Navigator model is pricier at around £340 sim-free, but packs in more advanced features including HSDPA support and onboard GPS.

Strengths
In terms of size, the 614c is closer to a traditional PDA than a mobile phone. This has allowed HP to add a fairly large 71mm (2.8-inch) screen and to kit it out with a rather spacious keypad. The phone is aimed primarily at business users and as such, it needs to be able to stand up to some abuse. Thankfully, its sturdy construction gives you the impression that it could go 12 rounds with Tyson and come off none the worse for wear.

The device's keypad is unusual because it features a raised circle in the centre. This acts as a virtual touch wheel, similar to that found on the classic iPods. In menus or a long list, you can run your finger around the wheel to quickly scoot up and down through the options. It's a welcome addition, and much more intuitive to use than the traditional Windows Mobile rocker wheel.

When it comes to connectivity you couldn't really ask for more. In addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it also supports HSDPA for mobile broadband. The 614c has onboard Assisted GPS support, too. The 'assisted' part means that it downloads extra data once every few days that helps the GPS chip to lock on to satellites faster than usual. It seems to do the trick as even in built up areas it's quite fast at getting a lock on a decent number of satellites. Unfortunately, there's no GPS navigation software included, although there is a Google Maps application that can use the GPS chip to track your location.

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