The Good The sleek and travel-friendly HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion offers integrated GPS, TomTom Navigator software, and useful travel tools. The Windows Mobile handheld also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The Bad The HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion was slow to acquire an initial satellite fix and had subpar battery life. The stylus is also placed in an awkward location.
The Bottom Line The HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion delivers a sleek all-in-one navigation, productivity, and entertainment device to mobile professionals; we just wish it had better battery life.
HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion
It's been a while since we were excited about any handheld device from HP; don't get us wrong, the company has produced a solid line of PDAs over the years, but they've all been pretty status quo--until now. Today, the company introduced its HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion--a sexy and sleek handheld that not only offers the benefits of a Windows Mobile PDA but also integrates GPS into the mix. It's more refined than some of the other PDA/GPS combos out there, such as the Asus MyPal A636; plus, the PIM functionality gives it an edge over the Garmin Nuvi 350. Unfortunately, it stumbled a bit in the performance department. The rx5900 was slow to acquire an initial GPS fix, and the various functions took a toll on processor speed. All said, we still think the rx5900 is a handy device for on-the-go professionals, providing them with the tools for organization, travel, and entertainment. The HP iPaq rx5900 is expected to ship in mid-October and will cost $599, which is on the pricier side, but you do get both the PDA and the GPS capabilities, and it's on a par with other devices in this category.
The HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion is a sleek device, both as a portable nav system and a PDA. The travel-friendly handheld measures just 4.7 by 3 by 0.6 inches and weighs 5.9 ounces, making it easily portable between your car and for use on foot. We really like its streamlined look and attractive silver casing and burnt-orange accents. In general, the device had a solid construction, but the glossy coating made it quite slippery in the hand.
The 3.5-inch, QVGA touch screen has a 240x320 pixel resolution and features an antiglare coating, which did a pretty decent job of keeping the display readable in direct sunlight, but colors tended to wash out a bit. As of this writing, HP will not offer a VGA model of the rx5900, which is shame since this type of device would really benefit from an extrasharp screen, but they did not rule it out for future Iterations of the rx5000 series. You can easily rotate the screen's orientation four ways with the screen rotation button on the right spine. In addition to this control, the right side also holds a power button, a small status LED (blinks blue for the wireless connections, amber for battery charge, and green for complete charge), and three more shortcut keys to the Quick Launch page, Navigation menu, and media player. All buttons are identified clearly by small icons, and they can be reprogrammed to open other apps.
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