HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6365 review: HP iPAQ h6365

If you need a smart phone as a business tool, the h6365 is a solid choice. On the other hand, if you're seeking a stylish gadget, you'd do better to look elsewhere.

Alex Kidman

Alex Kidman

Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.

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Aside from its quad-band GSM phone performance, the real standout part of the h6365's feature set is that it's equipped with WiFi (802.11b), Bluetooth and GPRS connectivity, and will seamlessly hop onto the fastest available connection. Indeed, depending on how you configure it, it could tread all over other people's wireless space, if it isn't secured.


HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6365

The Good

Seamless connectivity via GPRS, Bluetooth or WiFi. Solid construction. Included clip-on keyboard.

The Bad

Large size. Integrated camera is poor.

The Bottom Line

If you need a smartphone as a business tool, the h6365 is a solid choice. On the other hand, if you're seeking a stylish gadget, you'd do better to look elsewhere.

As smart phones go, the h6365 is quite large and bulky, at 119 by 75 by 18.7mm and 190g. If you forget to bring the included headphone set with you, you'll certainly feel its presence next to your ear. Physically it's definitely been designed with that distinctive iPAQ look, which lends it a certain quality of familiarity (if you're au fait with the existing line), although by the standards of most phones, including smart phones, it's a touch on the visually pedestrian side. The unit ships with a clip-on keyboard for those who can't stand entering data onscreen; the only real catches with this are its small size -- but that's understandable for a keyboard unit of its dimensions -- and the fact that when it's clipped on, it covers the USB and power connectors for the PDA. The supplied cradle is likewise physically functional, but visually unexciting.

From the end-user point of view, though, that makes it a solid business tool, and its visual style really backs this up -- this is a tool designed to look impressive in a professional pocket, rather than a cool gadget to impress all down the pub with.

Now, the presence of a camera on the back of the unit might make you wary of the theory that this is a business tool, were it not for the fact that the camera within the h6365 is an entirely unremarkable VGA quality unit. In our testing, we found it blurred easily and had large problems dealing with any dark photos, which makes it a less than appealing option for those post-pub photos that you'll regret anyway. Maybe that's a good thing, on reflection.

As a phone, the h6365 is essentially unremarkable; in our testing it worked well enough, aside from the as-noted problem that it's a bit of a solid beast to use -- but that's a criticism that can be levelled at most smart phones on the market today. Certainly, the addition of Bluetooth makes it possible to link it up to a suitable Bluetooth headset, and unless the phone portion is merely an adjunct to how you plan to use the h6365, we'd suggest that it would be smart to invest in one, pronto.

With regards to its wireless performance, we did encounter some problems getting the h6365 to talk to a home wireless network. In some instances it'd seamlessly work, while at other times it'd search around blankly for a network to connect to. To its credit, it's easy enough to work out when different connectivity modes are in play; the h6365 ships with an integrated wireless configuration utility (iPAQ Wireless) that makes configuration easy. Different coloured indicators on the top left hand side of the phone indicate phone, Bluetooth and wireless activity, with discrete lights for connected or disconnected status.

In PDA terms, the iPAQ h6365 does what most other iPAQs do, albeit that this one is running Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition, rather than the standard Pocket PC OS. It's laid out a little differently than most PDAs -- with the most notable difference being the SD/MMC card being on the side of the unit, rather than the top -- but with a total of 55MB of user-accessible memory, and the usual suite of Microsoft software on board, it's a perfectly capable unit.

In terms of battery life, it's very hard to judge the h6365. HP claims a talk time of greater than three hours, and a standby time of more than 100 hours, but in every instance we could envisage where the h6365 made sense, you'd be using the wireless connections -- possibly concurrently -- and once you start using wireless connections, you can expect the performance of the phone to plummet considerably.

The iPAQ brand is a fairly strong one in the PDA space, especially amongst the professional crowd, and it's clear to see that the h6365 series iPAQs don't stray too far from this at all. It's a solid smart phone, albeit one that lacks the flash styling that makes other smart phones, such as O2's Xda IIs, arguably sexier gadgets. That factor alone will probably decide for you whether the h6365 is for you. If you need a reliable and solid business tool, it fits the bill nicely, but if you want a phone with a little more visual flair, you may do better to look elsewhere.

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