When most devices are becoming converged with the aim to unite phone, GPS and Wi-Fi in one unit, you can't help but feel that HP are trying to re-capture some of their former glory by releasing a traditional PDA back into the market. That aside, the HP iPAQ 114 Classic is still a great performer and can be purchased online for around £170.
From a design point of view, the traditional grey and silver finish of the HP does look aesthetically pleasing, with responsive buttons at the base of the device, alongside a handy joypad and a rubberised coating at the back for extra durability. Despite its size, it weighs in at only 115g, making the 114 portable.
With the HP's fast 624MHz CPU and generous memory, including 31MB of free system memory and 196MB of storage space, you would expect the HP to be a strong performer and you would be correct. Opening multiple programs, watching videos, viewing documents or playing games did not phase the device one bit.
Its large 89mm (3.5-inch) transflective screen makes it useful for viewing in outdoor conditions and the auto sensor -- which adjusts the brightness depending on the available light -- is ideal for conserving power, whilst still achieving a bright display.
The inclusion of a standard headphone jack will also pair nicely with a compatible headset, but it's just a pity HP did not supply one as standard.
If you are lucky enough to be around Wi-Fi hotspots or routers, the built-in Wi-Fi can accommodate your Web browsing requirements quite nicely.
With an 89mm screen the icons and text would have benefited from a higher VGA resolution, but in order to get this you will need to purchase the more expensive HP iPAQ 214.
The lack of a phone option means you don't get a basic camera to take images and outside Wi-Fi coverage you will have to link your HP to a compatible Bluetooth phone for Internet access. You have a handy BT phone configuration tool to make life easier, but its list of available compatible devices is limited -- though you can simply pick the closest match which seems to work.
Having a transflective screen was a great opportunity for HP to add a built in GPS receiver, but unfortunately if you want this facility you will have to attach a Bluetooth receiver instead.
With manufactures like HTC going out of its way to customise the standard applications, HP have provided little more than a couple of extra shortcuts to the home screen and some small utilities, though to be fair, you can get additional software for free via its choice Web site.
Going back to the virtual keyboard for inputting text can be a bind, so getting hold of a Bluetooth external keyboard is a must for prolonged typing.
The 1,200mAH battery is respectable, but we would have expected a larger battery for a traditional PDA. Utilising the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth does zap the power quite quickly, but on standby or for general use it can last for days without needing a charge.
HP obviously feel there is a need to release a traditional PDA back into the market place. While most manufacturers are converging multiple technologies into one device, the 114 is completely the opposite. Granted it's a strong performer, but with its transflective screen HP had an opportunity to add a GPS component to the mix, as a result its appeal will be limited.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday