HP iPAQ rx5900 Travel Companion
(by Tim Hillebrand)
There is a lot to like about The Travel Companion. It's both a
powerful Pocket PC and a wayfinder. It comes with award-winning Tom
Tom navigation software pre-installed for the entire United States
It caught my attention right away with its horizontal orientation
and the snazzy copper-colored band around half the ferruled
perimeter. It cuddles up in your hand just fine like a puppy
crawling over the rest of the litter to come home with you.
For connectivity, this Windows Mobile 5 device features built-in
WLAN (802.11.b/g), and Bluetooth 2.0, both of which I applaud for
fast connectivity. It sports a Samsung SC32442 400 MHz processor
with 64 MB SDRAM in the main memory with up to 2 GB flash ROM, and
an SD expansion card slot. Measuring 4.74x3.0x6.5 inches, it
weights 5.99 ounces with the 1700 mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable
It has no camera, which surprises me, and no InfraRed port. Does
anyone really use IR? I like the concept, but I don't think it has
really caught on yet among the masses.On the other hand, those 1.3
MPX cameras included with most devices are practically worthless
anyway. You are far better off with a real camera with some hunk.
The 3.5 inch transmissive QVGA color screen with LED power
saving-mode has protective antiglare coating, which is a real plus
in the GPS mode.
Buttons on the front include a nine-way navigation switch, Start
Menu, and an OK function. The nine-way button has different
functions in Windows and navigation modes.
Moving up to the top, we find a recessed reset button, a record
button, and the SD card slot. On the left side reside the mini-USB
charging/synchronization port for which I am always grateful so
that I don't have to pack even more cables and chargers on a trip.
In my opinion, every portable device should have a mini-USB
connector and no excuses. Above that is a MMCX GPS antenna
connector, but note that there is already a built-in antenna
onboard that works fine for most purposes. Below the USB port is a
3.5 mm audio jack, which I also appreciate as opposed to those
pesky 2.5 mm jacks that nothing fits and you already end up having
to use an adapter. To the far right, you can see the top of the
stylus nestled in its silo waiting for a red button launch.
On the right side, there is an useful collection of controls.
Starting at the bottom is the power switch. Above that are four
horizontal chrome bars. The first changes the orientation of the
screen. The next invokes Window Media Player. The third puts you
into navigation mode. The fourth takes you to a handy launcher
screen for the following functions: Today screen, Travel Assistant,
Entertainment, Internet, and Navigation. A more useful launcher
would also have Programs and Settings.
The backside contains the battery door and speaker. There are no
controls on the rolled bottom side of the unit.
In the box, we find the battery, an AC adapter, Mini-USB sync
cable, car charger, car holder and windwhiled mount, a nice,
padded, black leather slip case, printed manual, and CD with
startup programs with as ActiveSync.
The suction cup window mount is industrial strength with handy
adjusting knobs. I lament, however that the box does not contain a
cradle for use on your desk.
Installed software includes: Word, Excel, Outlook, Calculator, File
Explorer, Internet Explorer, Notes, PhotoSmart Mobile, Pocket MSN,
PowerPoint Mobile, QuickLaunch, Tasks, WorldMate.
For a travel-oriented machine, WorldMate makes a nice companion
because it is as if you had a travel agent in the palm of your
hand. It's a world time keeper, map, appointment reconciler,
weather bureau, packing list, currency and everything else
converter. It will even give you flight schedules and flight delays
in the advanced edition, which includes a subscription to the OAG.
The version that comes with the Travel Companion appears to be a
light version that doe