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HP iPAQ rx3715 review
Posted on 11-Oct-2004 07:58 by Darryl Burling. | Tags Filed under: Reviews.


HP iPAQ rx3715 review
This is a review of sorts, however, I have tried to focus on the rx3715 as a user coming from the HP iPAQ h4150 (which I am). Therefore the focus of this review is the most noticeable differences moving from the h4150 to the rx3715. Your mileage may vary depending on what, if any device you are coming from.

The new iPAQs have been met with a variety of reactions. Users of the old Jornadas have mostly been happy to see more of the Jornada influence in the design, however users of the Compaq devices tend to prefer the more curvacious look of the earlier iPAQs. Personally, Iím generally more interested in functionality than design unless the device is utterly repulsive, which in my humble opinion these devices are not.

Size & feel
The device itself is shaped much like the original Palm or Jornada devices - rectangular rather than rounded. While this initially tends to repell users of earlier iPAQs, it actually makes the device more usable when in landscape mode, and does not make the device any less usable in portrait mode. I also think that the device has a more solid feel to it than previous devices.

The size of the rx3715 is very similar to the h4150 both in terms of height and width. The rx3715 is thicker (deeper) than the 4150 by about half. However, I have found that this really makes negligible difference in terms of its usability.

Many of the people who have picked up the rx3715 while I've had it have commented about the weight of the device. It is certainly lighter than the older generation of iPAQs (h5500, etc), but it is very similar to the h4150, and warrants little comment in comparison.

Buttons
The buttons on the rx3715 are very similar to previous devices, however, all the buttons support both the standard push to activate function as well as push and hold to activate a secondary application. If you like multimedia, you'll also be pleased to learn that the primary function on the buttons is assigned to multimedia by default. Calendar, contacts and the more traditional applications are all assigned to the secondary push and hold functions of tha buttons. Of course you can still program the buttons to open any application you like, and you have twice the functionality of most other devices on the market.

Screen and Landscape
I remember with fondness the screen on my HP iPAQ h1910. The colours were so crisp and clear, especially compared to the h2210 I purchased in the middle of 2003. None of the devices Iíve owned since have had a screen that has looked as nice.

The screen on the rx3715 is bright, the colours are crisp and there is no yellow tint. I would go as far to say that the screen on this device is the nicest of any QVGA device I have owned.

Also - youíve got to love the landscape capability. Landscape is not really practical for applications where you have data input requirements because you loose so much screen real estate on the SIP (soft input panel - or keyboard), however, landscape is really good for reading, because you spend less time switching between lines and more time reading. I do quite a bit of reading on my Pocket PC, so I have found myself switching from portrait to landscape quite regularly.

Battery life
I use my Pocket PC quite a bit, so with my h4150, I got into a habit of charging my device every night. I always wanted to start the day with a full battery, so I could be sure that I would not run out of power during the day. Generally when I got home after a day of heavy use, the battery would have around 55% remaining

The first time I opened up the box on the rx3715, I was a little disappointed to find that the battery was bigger than the battery for my h4150. I guess I was hoping that the battery would be interchangable between the devices so I could use my spare battery with the new device. But, here too I was plesantly surprised by the new iPAQ. Where I was constantly charging the h4150, I have relaxed considerably with the rx3715. Now I tend to put the iPAQ on the cradle when I sit down at the computer at home and let it charge off the USB (yes it supports USB charging), now at the end of a heavy day of use, the battery is still around 75 percent. Iím more than happy to ditch my spare battery if I donít need it anymore.

Memory
One of the key features of the rx3400, rx3700 and hx4700 series iPAQs is the memory. Initially most people thought that the new generation HP devices would have 128 MB RAM. When the devices were announced, we all looked twice when we saw the amount of memory in them.

152MB!? How does that work? That huge memory on the rx3715 is comprised of 64MB RAM and a 96MB file store. Some people wonder what is the point of the file store? In previous devices, where the file store was only 2.8 MB (like the h4150), I would almost agree. But in a device with has more space than a small storage card, there are loads of uses. Personally, I use this space to install applications. In the past, I have never been able to have all the applications I want to have because they just wonít fit. And because I hate installing applications on removable storage, I try not to install them there - when you remove the card - you remove the app. So I love the extra memory in the rx3715, and finally have all my applications on my device with (lots of) room to spare

Camera
Another defining difference on the rx3715 is the 1.2 megapixel camera. The presence of cameras in Pocket PCs has tended to divide Pocket PC users, and many users hate camera equipped devices with a passion. I really donít mind either way. If the device has a camera, I'll probably use it, if not Ė itís no big deal.

The quality of the camera on the rx3715 is sufficient for use on the web and great for showing on a TV or computer screen (click here for an example). I like having the option of taking the odd snap on my iPAQ while Iím out and about without having to haul my now aged 2 mega pixel camera around with me.

While the camera does perform reasonably in low light conditions, there is no flash with the camera - which is frustrating. If you offer a camera, it needs a flash!

Performance
How does it perform on a benchmark against other machines? I've used Spb Benchmark to collect performance information, and if you click in the chart you can have access to our Performance Centre, with other Pocket PC reviews and charts:


Performance comparison

Multimedia
The rx3715 is billed as a multimedia device. In terms of the hardware it seems to measure up to this. It has plenty of memory, good quality sound output, a great screen, has a very loud speaker, very loud headphone output, good headphones bundled with it and a good camera.

The software on the other hand is a little immature in some respects and very good in other respects.

The bundled Nevo software is an attempt to be an all in one media management and control application. However it has some serious shortcomings. I say shortcomings because what it does it does reasonably, but it lacks some features as follows:
  • No playlist support
  • No hardware button support for playback control
  • One location for all media is too limited without support for playlists
  • In-program landscape switching of video does not seem possible - the button for this is unavailable
  • No ability to turn the screen off during playback

    Personally, I've switched the media button to Windows Media player. On the bright side, the Nevo remote control software has continued to improve.

    Finally a note in terms of value for money. I should add that I did not get given this device by HP for a review. I purchased this device with my own money. So - am I happy with my rx3715? The battery life, screen and memory more than make it good value for money in my mind.

    Pros
  • Great screen
  • Loads of memory
  • Very good battery life

    Cons
  • Bundled music software does not meet minimum requirements
  • No flash on the camera



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