Combining a Windows Mobile handheld, a GSM/GPRS phone and a GPS receiver in a single device was an inevitable development, and it's no surprise that HP has been the first to achieve this. The company has often pushed the boundaries of handheld hardware design, introducing such features as fingerprint recognition and a touchpad. The £445 iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger is a high-end device that will suit mobile professionals who want to carry the minimum number of devices when on the move.
The iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger's dimensions of 71mm wide by 118mm deep by 21mm high and weight of 165g are not particularly remarkable. However, there are several striking design features.
For a start, the GPS receiver is completely integrated within the device. We have seen several handhelds with built-in GPS receivers, running both Windows Mobile and Palm OS, but up to now there has always been a visible external antenna.
The hw6515 has a mini-Qwerty keyboard, and above it a strip of buttons provides Call and End keys, shortcuts to the built-in Contacts and Messaging applications (with long press options to launch other applications), and, in the middle, a mini-joypad.
The 76mm (3-inch) screen is protected by a smoky-grey plastic shield that lifts up if you need to tap at the screen rather than view it through the shield. The shield is easily removed if you'd rather use a full protective case. The screen itself is square, with a resolution of 240x240 pixels -- the first Windows Mobile device with such an aspect ratio.
Elsewhere there's a slot for the rather lightweight stylus on the top right edge, a camera activation button and a volume control on the top left, an infrared port on the bottom left, plus power and 2.5mm headset jacks on the bottom edge.
There are two expansion ports, both on the right-hand side. While it's not unusual for handhelds to support two flash memory formats, the combination here is unique: an SDIO-compliant SD card slot and a miniSD slot.
The back of our review unit housed a lens for the built-in 1.3-megapixel camera, with the smallest self-portrait mirror we've seen and an LED flash. Another model, the iPAQ hw6510 Mobile Messenger, lacks the camera and costs £417. A section of the back casing is removable, and underneath it sits the removable Li-ion battery and a slot for your SIM card.
Alongside ActiveSync and Microsoft Outlook 2002, the hw6515 comes with a stereo headset, an extremely solid belt-clip-style protective case, a docking cradle (which unfortunately has no slot for charging a spare battery), a mains power adaptor, a printed quick-start guide and a slightly more in-depth user guide.