Got a new PDA for the business this week. I’ve been testing a few PDA models recently and I’ve taken two back for exchange. This could be considered a review of some sort.
AÂ Little Background On What Brought Me To The IPAQ rx5900
It all started when IÂ bought a Magellan GPS a couple of years ago for a road trip down to Vegas, Lake Havasu City, and Palm Springs. My wife and I are both fairly inept when it comes to reading maps and navigating through big and strange cities, so we thought we should invest in a GPS for the car.
Well…..it was a life saver, especially when we were driving at night through strange cities and around unfamiliar freeway exits and such. It was a real piece of mind.
When we got back from our trip we decided to take back the Magellan road map GPS because we figured the price would drop considerably. Well it did. We paid $1200 CAD for it and it’s now worth around $650-$700 CAD. The only thing that held me back from investing in a GPS, and keeping it, was the onset of PDA technology.
I noticed that PALM handhelds and HP-Ipaq handhelds were offering the first software add-on packages for GPS road mapping. This was also an expensive option as you had to buy a good PDA ($400-600), and then buy the GPS mapping software for around $200-$250. TomTom is the leader in PDA GPS software at the time of this writing.
So there I was as usual – waiting for the beta bugs and high prices to drop off and settle down. As of January 2007 I noticed that the prices were still holding for PDAs and software, but the beta bugs had been significantly dealt with. Off I went a-shoppin’ and a-buyin’!
First Purchase and Trial – The Palm TX Handheld
I bought the Palm TX combo package that included the PALM foldable keyboard. It didn’t come with a case, but I ordered one from PALM online. I was thrilled to play with my new toy, but I found some problems. When I was working in hand printing recognition mode it was problematic, especially when I wrote the letter U (usually displayed a V instead). I also found the PALM was annoying when wanted to print the @ sign. I finally gave up on the print recognition and started using the keyboard mode. This was also problematic because the keyboard keys are VERY small. I have 43 year old vision and it was a pain to work unfettered.
When it came to incorporating the GPSÂ software I was not ready to pay another $250 USD for GPS software that may or may not work. This software is TomTom as well. After three days of testing and trying to get the most out of the PALM TX, it began crashing periodically. That was enough for me, and off to the store for an exchange deal on a different PDA.
Enter The HP iPAQ rx5915 Travel Companion
I went back to the store that I bought the PALM from and exchanged it for the Rx5900. When I opened up the box in the car I was very happy to see that it came with a tough car window mount and a carrying case that the PALM did not provide. It’s a leather case (NON-IMITATION and real leather smell). I was also very happy to see it came with a cigarette lighter power adapter, as well as the standard 110 AC adapter, that used a USB style wire. This makes for easy powering. Another great thing about the Ipaq rx5900 is that you can begin using it straight away as it comes with a charged nicad battery.
Now beyond the accessories and in-the-box highlights:
I was of course excited to know that the Rx5900 has built in GPS road mapping technology by TomTom. Right out of the box I had a GPS signal and it was dead-on accurate. The wifi application was flawless and all of the other bells and whistles were worthy of note.
The BEST part about the Ipaq Rx5900 is the screen touch controls. You can change the font size and the stylus has a smooth controlled feel to it. It understood all of my printing without a problem, and the keyboard mode was much better than the PALM in this arena. The whole working experience was MUCH better than the PALM experience.
I bought the Netfront 3.3 PDA browser so that all Java worked on the sites I use. Going forward I’ve found many more advantages to the Rx 5900 Travel Companion from HP.
The overall goal I have is to be mobile and travel lightly. Because our business is online and residual my wife and I travel quite a bit. We have always lugged around a laptop (actually two) and all we really did was check flights, email, and commissions. I simply record all of our commissions into an Excel spread sheet, and the rest of time is spent golfing, shopping, eating, swimming, and exercising. Now we can leave the laptops at home and I can use the Rx5900 for all of our normal online tasks. When we fly into a city we can rent a car and use the Rx5900 for GPS guidance from place to place.
Complaints & Reviews About The HP Ipaq Travel Companion
I’ve read a few reviews online regarding the Rx5900 and the only real complaint I’ve seen is battery life and maybe the toggle control. I found all of the complaints in reviews were ridiculous. The battery time works for me – I worked on the Rx5900 yesterday for over 7 hours and when I went to bed I still had 34% battery life left. For my normal usage the Rx5900 is lasting for three days without need of a charge. Keep in mind that I don’t use heavy resource sucking multimedia like music and video – mostly web browsing and document work like Excel and Word. I rarely use the toggle anyway but when I have it’s been just fine. Better that the PALM for sure.
One Comment About The Importance Of The Dreaded Extra Warranty
I’ve often been annoyed by stores that push their “extra super duper extended warranty” on me when I’m already over-spending as it is. In the case of PDAs, GET IT! I paid an extra 70 bucks and I’m covered for ALL parts and labour for 3 years. If my Rx5900 bites the dust when I’m traveling, I can have a new one shipped to where I am. I always check our business online and we book all of our rent-a-cars, hotels, and flights online; we do all of our banking online and we communicate with relatives and business contacts online.