The shiny casing gives the iPAQ Data Messenger a consumer-friendly look.
The touch-sensitive D-pad is superb and is probably the best of its type we have seen.
No front camera and no GPS, but otherwise the range of features is solid.
Response time was fast and we do not have any real complaints as this smartphone did what was asked of it.
Battery life is on the high side, but take care not to thrash the Wi-Fi if you want to extend it as long as possible.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:53:47 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
It has a great D-pad, and a stylish and minimalist design.
There is no front-facing camera or GPS.
It may be the only innovation, but the ‘optical navigation button’ is impressive and we wouldn’t be surprised to see others copy it. It looks neat against the mostly black, shiny casing. At first glance you would think it is too small to provide a D-pad-style control. But, because you can slide the whole tip of your finger across it, the button has huge reach.
We found it was easy to move around the full screen, and when you want to select something you simply press down. HP has got the touch sensitivity just right and, because it is touch-sensitive to the finger, no object in your pocket can accidentally brush it.
We also like the overall look of this smartphone. The buttons are very minimal; on the front there is just the optical navigation button, a bar that contains almost invisible call and end keys, and the touch-sensitive menu and OK buttons.
We were impressed with the hardware button on the top of the casing, which turns the phone ringer on and off. This is not exactly unique (Palm has been offering the feature for ages) but we cannot see why it is as rare as it is.
There are some things we do not like. HP is aiming the handset at business users, and still thinks they do not want a 3.5mm headset jack. We hope they opt for the 3.5mm, instead of the 2.5mm, next time.
We were nonplussed by the absence of a front-facing camera for making two-way video calls, as on a 3G device with HSDPA you should be able to make a video call.
You will have noticed the word ‘data’ in this smartphone’s name, so it is no surprise to find a full QWERTY keyboard under the screen, which slides out of the right side of the casing.
The keyboard is not the best we have seen, nor is it the worst. On the downside it lacks a dedicated number row and, while the dollar and euro signs can be found on the keyboard with Fn key combinations, you need to go into the symbols menu if you want a pound sign.
We found we were able to tap out text messages and emails well enough, but not with the speed or assurance we have experienced on other similarly designed smartphones.
The iPAQ Data Messenger will be available exclusively at Vodafone, then it will be available SIM-free. We think it could make quite a splash.