By March 13, 2008

HP iPAQ 614 review

How long have I waited, like lots of you, to get hold on the iPAQ 614c?
Will it live up the expectations that I have for an all round Sat Nav, phone, PDA? Well today it arrived thanks to Clove Technology who have kindly provided the review unit.


Firstly I would like to apologise if the review shows a slight bias, as I am looking to buy one of these units, and therefore may, inadvertently, look at it in a slightly different light. I will try and take off those rose tinted glasses, and be as objective as I can.

After approximately a 6 months wait, here it is, I have been plaguing Matt almost daily for up-to-date news of its release, now it’s here, he can rest easy, until the Asus P750 gets close again. Anyway!

HP iPAQ 614c

HP iPAQ 614c

As it has now arrived, it does appear to be readily available almost everywhere in the UK and Europe, but there is still the issue of it being withdrawn from US sales probably due to the chipset, as previously mentioned, “Due to recent legal issues between suppliers of mobile phone technologies, HP have decided not to offer the iPAQ 610 Business Navigator to U.S. customers as previously planned.”

What’s in the box?

The box itself is a mind of information, as you open the lid, there you will find the Quick setup guide, and guide showing you what all the buttons do. There is also the setup disc which easily lets you set your device up, assigning speed dial, email accounts, preferences etc. Again very helpful, on starting up the device there are loads of hints and tips sections as well as the usual automated network, email set up procedures, it is recommended that the set up CD is used. The one thing that grabbed my attention is a sticker on the device itself that states ‘cracked screens due to improper handling are not covered under warranty. Do not compress, hit, bend or drop your HP iPAQ. Remove your HP iPAQ from pants pockets before sitting down. Always store your HP iPAQ in its protective case’. Alas, however, no free screen saver or protective case that I could find.

Included in the box is a USB type connector and charger, there is a plug socket with adaptors of different regions around the world. There are the usual manuals and also the important start up disc. Mini usb connecting headphones.

See Matt’s HP iPAQ 614c unboxing video for more details.

HP iPAQ 614 Specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6 professional
  • 2.8-inch transmissive TFT 240 x 320 pixel touch panel display
  • Built-in Assisted GPS
  • Integrated Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Tri Band HSPDA
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth V2.0
  • 520MHz processor
  • 128MB SDRAM/ 256MB ROM
  • 3 Megapixel Camera (614c)
  • MicroSD Slot
  • 1590 mAh Lithium Polymer battery
  • 117 x 60.3 x 17.5mm
  • 145 grams
  • General

    First impressions; I think ‘chunky’ would sum it up. The dimensions are on the larger size of what I am used to. It is comparable with the Eten x800 at roughly the same width and depth, and slightly longer at 117 opposed to the Eten’s 114mm. It does feel big to hold and is a little on the heavy side, having said that I have been using an Asus P526 while I have been waiting for this release, and that is a full 30g lighter, so the 614 would feel heavy in comparisson. Tytn II users will find it lighter, though bigger.

    The rubberised back sits comfortably in the hand, whereas the front has been mentioned as appearing ‘plastic’. Although the buttons are a shiny black plastic, I quite like them. (take the glasses off!). It has to be said that I find it slightly too big for day to day use and using for any length of time it does start to get uncomfortable, I found that the edges of the casing did not help at all in this area.

    On the Front of the device you will find the 2.8in Touchscreen, the 20 button keypad (no QWERTY), and 2 ‘softkeys’. The softkeys by default are set to messaging and HP Shortcuts.

    HP iPAQ 614 keypad

    HP iPAQ 614 keypad

    HP shortcuts opens up a new page of customisable menus set up as 0. Google Maps, 1. IE, 2. Contacts 3. Calendar 4. Set Alarm 5. Wndows media 6. HP asset viewer 7. Calculator 8. Messaging 9. Games. These menus correspond with the keypad numerical buttons and allow quick access to each relevant program.

    Within the blue backlit Keypad is also is housed the ‘virtual wheel’ or as HP call it ‘the Smart-touch navigation wheel’ which replaces any D-pad, this is very responsive and useful for scrolling etc. I personally ended up turning it off as I kept catching it when I was using the keys, good idea and stops the usual dust magnets in the form of trackballs etc. but it’s not for me.

    The other keys on the left side of the numerical pad are from the top, the phone dial button, a Window start key, OK button, and the portrait/landscape button, this is a very welcome addition as I use Sat Nav a lot and prefer to have it in landscape mode, yet prefer to use the PDA portrait. On the right side of the keypad are buttons to hang up the phone, Clear, Enter, and the Power on/off.

    The left side of the unit holds another OK button, underneath which is a 3 way thumb wheel, up/down and push, and under that is HP’s voice commander button.

    HP iPAQ 614 left side

    HP iPAQ 614 left side

    On the right side of the Ipaq is the camera button.

    HP iPAQ 614 right side

    HP iPAQ 614 right side

    The top of the phone holds a strange but useful mute button, which switches the phone to vibrate and cuts off keypad, phone sound and notifications. Strange only in that I have not come across one of these before and at the top of the unit and so long as you remember to use it and not the on screen icons it’s a nice idea. You also have to remember that this is NOT the power button!!

    HP iPAQ 614 top

    HP iPAQ 614 top

    At the bottom of the device there is the normal Mini USB and reset button; as well to the left is the lanyard hole.

    HP iPAQ 614 bottom

    HP iPAQ 614 bottom

    The back is home to the 3.0 mega pixel camera as this is the 614c unit, the 614 does not come with a camera. Also there a small mirror of self-portrait photos and a flash and finally a speaker grille. At the base of the back is the battery release button and the telescopic stylus housing, which for me is on the wrong side as I am right handed it seems somehow awkward, but I am getting used to it.


  • It’s quick!
  • Feels solid and reliable
  • Screensaver is fun
  • Some good added extras
  • Lowlights

  • It is on the large side
  • Issues with the network connections

    You can forgive quite a lot of the minor issues already mentioned because the device does zip along quite happily with most if not all the programs it uses. There is no navigation software to give a comparison at this time, and the GPS did not work initially it was showing as present but disabled, with no apparent method of switching it on. This was resolved with a quick phone call to HP and the advice is to take the Phone out for a drive for about an hour and that should sort it. Oddly it did, and Google maps worked absolutely fine and again fast and responsive.

    The 614 has assisted GPS which seems to be quite misunderstood at the moment. So let me just clear up how this seems to work on the 614. You do not need to be continuously connected to the network in order for the GPS to work, in fact most of the time when I was testing the GPS I didn’t even have a SIM card installed. What the 614 will do though is connect to the internet and download updated Ephemris data once every few days. This ‘assists’ the GPS chipset establish a quick fix. In practice this seems to work quite well and a fix is established quite rapidly.

    The other issue I had was with the network connections; I think that the problem is that there are so many ways to connect, via 3G, GRPS, EDGE and WiFi that sometimes the phone struggles to decide which is the best method. You can see the connection flicking between, 3G and GPRS or Edge. On my unit on 3G it drops the phone signal, and then when it loses the 3G it has to connect back to the network again and it will only do this via a soft reset. When browsing the web with the 3G symbol on, the phone would not work until I had logged off and reset the phone. Following day the same thing, connected to 3G and this cut off the phone connection altogether, then 3G signal dropped and there was still no phone, drove for 2 hours without realising that the phone was off. I would be interested if anyone else has encountered this problem, and what the fix is.

    Telephone functionality was fine past the connection issues call had no issues with clarity and handsfree /Bluetooth where equally functional and there is HP audio to allow you to adjust the Bass and treble on the device, as well as switching on and off the AGC, automatic gain control on the mic. There was a question regarding VOIP, this would apparently need to be done via a third party, there is no obvious software installed.

    As mentioned the screensaver is a nice addition that I have not seen before, this shuts the iPAQ down when left alone for a set period and then scrolls through your Pictures on a never ending rotation, so if you have any of ‘those’ photos don’t store them in the ‘My Pictures’ file.

    For me this is the first time I have come across the xt9 SIP which works well but is rather small for the likes of me and my fingers. The ‘it doesn’t really matter where you touch’ system works well bringing up loads of suggested words based on the touches you have made, the scroll wheel works really well here. Texting with one hand is definitely possible although due to the size I found myself holding the Ipaq with 1 hand and texting with the other.

    Also to be noted is that the casing of the iPAQ around the screen is slightly deep which means when trying to scroll or tap right into the corners you are slightly hampered and occasionally need the dreaded stylus. But on the whole I have found that it is rarely used due to the keypad, wheel, jog etc. which is nice.

    Camera is adequate, and the autofocus works well, Controls are hidden in the key pad itself the 4x digital zoom being operated by number 6 for in and 4 for out, also there is number’s 2 and 8 to control brightness. Also included is the HP photosmart photo, this allows you to upload your photos once taken directly on to your Snapfish online account via email.

    HP iPAQ 614c sample photo

    HP iPAQ 614c sample photo

    A 1590 mAh Battery – Could be better in my experience a full day would just about do it, a few calls (6 maybe 7, of no real length, 20 minutes tops), wifi off and Bluetooth on that would be your lot, recharge needed at 8.30pm. Day 2 no real use at all Wifi and Bluetooth off, no phone calls, very little application use and the battery was good for just under 38 hours standby . I have seen reports of 2 days plus on standby, so it could be this battery.


    As mentioned we are using Window Mobile 6 Professional, which in itself is relatively unremarkable, albeit snappy, the 520MHz processor and the 128M doing SDRAM are their job competently, and without any of the lag that I have heard talk of.

    Extras included are the aforementioned HP shortcuts, HP iPAQ Tips, Clear vue PDF which I found a pain to use and even with the faster processor spent most of the time reloading the page, remote desktop access, setup assistant which again is useful but is loaded from the start up CD on a desktop, windows live is included also. It is also preloaded with Google Maps, which worked superbly and again very fast and clear. Included in the settings section there is also HP Asset Viewer that keeps all your device info in one place, such as personal user information, memory details, ROM details, and all the other relevant parts of the phone system info, camera info and connection details. Noted in here is the GPS which is the Qualcomm 6280. Finally in the Connections section is the HP DataConnect which automatically configures the device data settings to your chosen network.

    Within the menus itself, there is the usual WM6 programmes, plus keyboard settings allowing you to lengthen the time the backlight stays on the keypad, and also the ability to turn off the scroll wheel and keyboard functions.

    Voice commander was fun and one of the better ones that I have used before, although due to my cold not that accurate all the time, asking it machine to carry out all kinds of tasks and even dictating, audio emails, dialling speed dial, read email, find contacts, check appointments, create memos and so on, all with the spoken word, without have the tedious task of assigning a voice tag to all of your contacts in the first place.

    HP Enterprise Mobility Agent – available to configure and manage the iPaq OTA (Over The Air) allowing the user to configure, download and install applications on the iPaq, although this has to be activated and set up via your works IT manager. Yet more applications is the HP Broadband Connect allowing you to connect your computer to the internet through the iPaq allowing high speed data transfer, again the getting started CD is a must here to load the application on to your computer in the first place.

    Another piece of software that I have not come across before is a TTY setting that can be found in the Phone settings, designed for the deaf or hard of hearing, a good explanation can be found here


    Was it worth the wait and will I be buying one? Personally I am disappointed with the size, which, don’t get me wrong is not massive by any means, but is still too big for me. It has a lot of nice features as mentioned above, and I think with more regular use and additions of Third Party software add-ons to suit each individual would make this unit very capable and an asset to use for an all-rounder. It has my preference of the keypad instead of the QWERTY and/or Touchscreen alone and is very responsive which ever you choose to use for input.

    For me I want to get a look at the Asus P750, before I spend my hard earned. At around £350 and with the current £50 cash back apparently available, maybe the niggles with each device may swing it the iPAQ‘s way after all. Although from what I can gather the Asus price has not be set for definite. I’m not saying I will be buying and if it was this against the Orbit 2/ HTC Polaris there would be no contest for me, 614c every time purely for the keypad, one day perhaps we will have the perfect phone?

    Review by: Steve

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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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