In September 2004, HP introduced its high-performance, business-class hx4700, wowing us with its large VGA screen, its innovative touch pad and, unfortunately, its eye-popping price tag. Now, the company has released its hx2000 series, offering professionals another mobile business solution.
Not to be outdone by its more powerful sibling, the high-end hx2750 has enough talent to shine on its own. It boasts a biometric fingerprint reader for enhanced security, integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and solid performance. At around £350, it's still costly, but if you can forgo the fingerprint reader and make do with a little less memory and a 520MHz processor (as opposed to 624MHz), check out the hx2410 or the hx2110, which has a 312MHz processor and Bluetooth only.
If there's one word to describe the HP iPaq hx2750, it's sturdy. From its appearance to its feel, the PDA has a solid build and could probably withstand some rough treatment. Outfitted in charcoal gray and carrying a similar footprint to the Dell Axim X30, the hx2750 is fairly compact (77 by 119 by 16mm), but it's a bit thick and hefty, at 164g. A nice touch, however, are the rubber sides, which make for a good grip and easy one-handed use.
Another positive design feature is the included plastic flip-screen cover. The detachable, transparent cover pops on to the top of the device, and the durability theme continues here. It's strong and it remained scratch-free during our tests, although it's prone to fingerprints and smudges.
Of course, the whole purpose of this armour is to protect the hx2750's gorgeous 89mm (3.5-inch) TFT screen. While it's only QVGA level (compared to the hx4700's and Dell Axim X50v's high-resolution VGA screens), it displays 64,000 colours, and we were surprised by the vibrant images and sharp text (see 'Performance'). Beneath the display are four programmable shortcut keys -- Appointments, Contacts, Inbox and iTask, by default -- and a four-way navigation toggle with a centre Select button. And like the h5550, the hx2750 features a biometric fingerprint reader for enhanced security.
The rest of the device is standard PDA fare. Finishing out the face of the device are a power button, a speaker, a microphone and two tiny LEDs, which blink orange when the hx2750 is charging, blue for wireless mode and green for alarms. On the left side is a lone voice-record button and you'll find a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, dual expansion slots (CompactFlash and SDIO/MMC) and the stylus holder on top of the device. A small Reset button and a USB connector reside on the bottom, and a battery-release switch is on the back.
HP delivers the hx2750 with just the essential extras, including an AC adapter and a USB desktop-sync cradle. Although you get the plastic screen cover, we were disappointed the device didn't come with a protective leather case. However, if you want to carry a backup power source, a higher-capacity 2,880mAh lithium-ion battery with charger is available.
The HP iPaq hx2750 is well appointed in the features department. The handheld boasts Intel's zippy 624MHz XScale processor. A bonus is the chip's SpeedStep and Wireless MMX technology, which optimises battery life and multimedia performance. The PDA has memory aplenty too. You get 128MB of ROM and RAM and a total of 192MB of user-accessible memory, 80MB of which is available through the included iPaq File Store. If your work calls for more storage, the hx2750's CompactFlash and SDIO/MMC slots should meet your needs.
For wireless connectivity, take your pick: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IR, or all of them, since you can use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth simultaneously. As with HP's latest crop of Pocket PCs, the hx2750 comes with the iPaq wireless utility so that you can access networks, configure network adapters, and more. You also get a separate Bluetooth Phone Manager for connecting to the Web via a Bluetooth-enabled mobile.
As we expected, the handheld comes with Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, enabling you to switch to Landscape mode and access frequently used programs, among other features. The PDA also ships with Pocket Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player 9.0. Since the hx2750 is primarily a business device, HP throws in HP ProtectTools so that you can set a password or a PIN number to protect your data, in addition to VPN- and WEP-enhanced security.
Other goodies on the hx2750 include a backup utility, Image Zone for viewing images and creating slide shows, iPaq Audio, and two games (Solitaire and the addictive Jawbreaker).
The HP iPaq hx2750 offers great performance, as well as stunning video and image quality. In our performance tests, the hx2750 achieved decidedly impressive scores. Sporting Intel's top-of-the-line 624MHz processor, the hx2750 fell just a few points short of our current speed champion, the Dell Axim X30. However, in real-world operations, you won't be able to tell the difference between the two. In our usage tests, the iPaq was very fast and there was no lag in response time, even while running numerous applications.
Aside from speed, the hx2750 also delivers impressive video performance, which is enhanced by the device's impressive display. The screen isn't VGA quality, but whether surfing the Web or playing a 3D game, we were amazed by the clear text, crisp images, and vibrant colours. It's also readable in sunlight.
The PDA's wireless connections were flawless. In our tests, we were able to connect to our test wireless access point and the Web in a matter of seconds. It also had great range. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth came through perfectly in our tests, and to our delight, they can work simultaneously. Of course, having both of them on will adversely affect the device's battery life.
Speaking of which, the hx2750 offered decent battery life. Playing a looped video clip with all wireless off and the backlight set to high, the PDA lasted 4.5 hours. While this isn't the best result we've seen, it's still a respectable score. Plus, since our drain tests are designed to sap power as fast as possible, you'll get more mileage out of your handheld with normal use.
Performance analysis written by CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo
Edited by William O'Neal
Additional editing by Nick Hide