By March 4, 2008

HP iPAQ 214 review

With the vast array of mobile phones on today’s market equipped with Windows Mobile, or other PDA software, can HP’s latest standalone PDA device compete? Will people really want to carry around several devices for contacts, calendars and calls?


HP’s latest iPAQ, the 214, at first glance seems a step back to the original iPAQ days. A PDA Device running Windows Mobile 6 Classic, with all of the standard features you would expect from this operating system – Except, no SIM card or telephone support. HP have integrated full wireless and Bluetooth support into the device so the old days of connecting wires to your desktop may at least be over.

HP iPAQ 214

HP iPAQ 214

HP have stated to us that continued interest in this style of perhaps, traditional PDA’s are attracting new market areas where mobile phone connectivity is not required, such as the health marketplace covering hospital usage for example.

What’s in the box?

Once again, HP’s market brand is clearly in evidence with the box and packaging. You can see our full unboxing video HERE. User Guides and Software are first to come out of the box, revealing the pretty sizeable iPAQ 214 Enterprise Handheld. A pretty hefty 2,200AH battery should keep the device running for a while. A standard charger with multiple country options hooks up to the non-standard charging lead. The USB Sync cable included also has a connector for the charger so the device will not charge from USB alone.

Hidden right at the bottom of the box is the retro style carry case.

HP iPAQ 214 Specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6 Classic
  • 4” VGA display
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth V2.0
  • 624MHz Processor
  • 128MB SDRAM/ 256MB ROM
  • 2200 mAh battery
  • SD and Compact Flash Slot
  • 126mm x 76mm x 16mm
  • 192 grams
  • General

    A rather simplistic set of buttons and connectors adorns the very smart and well built HP 214.

    To the top right of the device we have the power button.

    The large screen 4 inch diagonal screen dominates the front of the case leading us down to the typical control keys

    HP iPAQ 214 buttons

    HP iPAQ 214 buttons

    Shortcut keys either side of the main navigation control provide quick and simple access to common features such as Calander, E-Mail and Windows Shortcuts. The navigation pad allows standard control of the PDA and features.

    The bottom of the phone provides the propriety charging and docking connector, as well as a mini USB for PC synchronisation. I never managed to get the device to charge from the USB connector alone and had to use the supplied docking cable and mains charger.

    HP iPAQ 214 bottom

    HP iPAQ 214 bottom

    Many people however will be really pleased to see the full size standard 3.5mm headphone socket.

    The top of the case hides a dual SD/CF socket allowing great expansion with devices or memory cards.

    HP iPAQ 214 top

    HP iPAQ 214 top

    Interestingly, HP have also accommodated a small light sensor right next to the power switch which will automatically adjust the screen brightness depending on ambient light conditions.

    On the left of the device is a solitary voice recording button.

    HP iPAQ 214 left side

    HP iPAQ 214 left side

    The right side is home to nothing more than a reset button.

    HP iPAQ 214 right side

    HP iPAQ 214 right side

    Highlights and Lowlights


  • Exceptionally high build quality
  • Massive 4inch screen running at 640×480 resolution
  • 624Mhz Marvell processor is really fast for such a device
  • 128MB ram as standard will keep those applications running well
  • Lowlights

  • Touch screen feels like pressing through loose, thick plastic
  • No USB charging
  • Slightly too large to hold comfortably in one hand for a long period of time
  • No Phone!
  • Review

    The HP iPAQ 214 is a pretty sizeable PDA device with a massive 4 inch 640×480 resolution screen. It has certainly been manufactured extremely well and the looks and quality are superb – Very much a high end PDA device.

    After unboxing the unit and charging for a while I played around with the customary interface and the stylus. I’m not convinced by the feel of the screen though. Whilst it undertakes stylus control very well, it feels like a thick bit of plastic and almost feels like it moves under the point of the stylus. (And yes…. I had taken off the protective cover!!). Many of today’s touch screens have a much nicer look and feel.

    Hooking the device up to my WiFi connections was a breeze – HP certainly make connectivity a joy with all of their devices. Browsing the internet really has the device coming into its own though. The exceptionally sharp 640×480 display allows so much more of a web site to be visible and navigation becomes so simple. Looking at images, maps and text were great. Even better, the screen is more than bright enough to be viewed clearly outside.

    What you also notice, certainly compared to many PDA Phones, is the speed of the device. I’m running my HTC Touch overclocked at 260, rather than 201mHz and it still seems mighty, mighty slow compared to the HP 214. The slowest of slow applications run so well making the device a dream to use.

    As this is classed as an Enterprise device I thought I’d better test some of these features so I enabled Bluetooth on my laptop and ran through the HP configuration settings to hook the PDA to my laptop. As mentioned previously, HP are the King of connectivity on many of their devices. I was able to sync to my laptop within minutes and have my calendar and e-mails synchronising across the Bluetooth connection.

    This is where I had to step back a little though. Bluetooth or wireless for synchronisation? It’s great when I’m sat in the office but on the road to be without synchronised mail unless I stop off at Starbucks just seems a little backward, especially for an “Enterprise” classified device.

    If you want to view maps or anything when you are out and about you need to make sure you download them first or else you are going to have to use the Bluetooth connection on your mobile in order to access the internet.

    The device has been fun to use though, with no real issues or major complaints. The button placement is great and, apart from my dislike of the feel of the screen, stylus control is precise and responsive. The really handy navigation buttons save stylus time, and some extra neat features like holding the buttons down for a few seconds will launch other shortcuts is well thought out and very useful.

    HP iPaq 214 vs HTC TyTN II

    HP iPaq 214 vs HTC TyTN II


    I have to admit, I wasn’t overly looking forward to reviewing this device, the idea of a standalone PDA seemed very old school especially when my HTC Touch does all of this and has phone calls as well! I was however very impressed with the HP iPAQ 214.

    I can also understand the market place HP are trying to attract, people may want to be able to go out and not be bombarded with e-mails such as your normal Windows Mobile or CrackBerry. There may be places such as hospitals where phones are not allowed, but simple access to internet via WiFi may be.

    However, for an Enterprise device I just can’t help feel this has a restricted market sector.

    If you are looking for a top of the range PDA and happy to carry your normal phone with you, this device is simply the best I have seen on the market. However, I for one will stick with my Windows Mobile device, which, although smaller and harder to view web pages, does everything I need in one nice small package.

    Review by: John

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    Posted in: Reviews

    About the Author:

    More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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