HP iPAQ Data Messenger Review

I recently got my hands on a retail version of HP’s iPAQ Data Messenger phone (European version).

It’s a nice, simple and stylish looking Pocket PC phone which is a tad smaller than the iPAQ 600 I have. To summarize in one sentence what the HP Data Messenger is all about, it’s actually a slightly smaller iPAQ 600 with a QWERTY keyboard and more fashion sense.

The main features of the HP iPAQ Data Messenger is a 2.8 inch QVGA (320 X 240) touchscreen, a slide-out backlit QWERTY keyboard from the side, with an optical navigation pad and touch sensitive controls on the front, 3 megapixel camera and it runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro. There’s also a 2.5 mm headphone jack for making calls/listening to music and micro USB port for charging and connectivity to your computer.

Sure, I do not doubt what people think about the iPAQ Data Messenger – even at the time of its debut, which was around October 2008, it’s specifications already looked dull, dusty and outdated compared to its competitors with similar form factors (that is, devices running WM 6.1 Pro with slide-out QWERTY keyboards). Both the Sony Xperia X1 and HTC Touch Pro offer either larger/higher resolution screens than the HP Data Messenger and come with their own Today Interface, which attempts to cover, what people brand as hideous and clunky, the Windows Mobile UI.

So what’s the point of the HP iPAQ Data Messenger, you ask? Well, it’s mainly targeted at business people who want a straight forward business Pocket PC phone (And we all know Windows and Windows Mobile mean business). It’s not meant to be a flashy or show-off phone with tons of bells and whistles. I find the Sony Xperia X1 a bit on the pricey side (which Sony product isn’t?) while the HTC Touch Pro is the true competitor of the HP Data Messenger and will probably steal quite a few sales thanks to its superior specifications.

However, what’s going for the Data Messenger, versus the Touch Pro 1, is that it has a 2.5 mm headphone jack (I can easily plug in an adapter for 3.5 mm standard headphones) and the fact that I can start out with a fresh phone and install whichever 3rd party Windows Mobile Today Interface that I want. Compared to the new Touch Pro 2 and other new phones released over the past week this month and it’s a different story; those other phones are much more appealing, sadly.

The only way HP can probably fight for now is by lowering the price of the Data Messenger so more people will go for it… and get off their butts NOW to the design room, then hopefully down the road somewhere, release more appealing and competitive iPAQs which are actually able to stand toe-to-toe against the competition!

I love HP (especially their notebooks) but I seriously think they should actually put in some effort into their Pocket PC/smart phone department!

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