Pros:Large memory, large battery, bluetooth _and_ wireless, old expansion packs fit, bright screen
Cons:A few design flaws and glitches
The Bottom Line: I recommend it more for business applications than the average gadgeteer...see review for details
First a rundown of the major specs for this unit:
400mhz XScale Processor
128mb of RAM and 48mb of ROM
3.8 Color TFT screen
Wi-Fi 802.11b and Bluetooth
5.2" x 3.3" x 0.6"
IR port (not CIR)
The only difference between this unit and the HP5550 is in promotional coding. Otherwise, the units are identical (hardware and software), though you MAY be able to get a better price on the HP5555 unit if there are any promotions in effect at the particular time.
The HP comes standard with Pocket versions of Excel and Word. I think it's time Microsoft starts working graphing capabilities into Pocket Excel, but that is not at all a fault of HP.
Windows Media 9 for the Pocket PC is included, though as I mention in the Cons area below, certain design flaws in the HP5555 make it impossible to realize the full potential of what can be done and how the unit can be used in a home setting.
On the accompanying CD, there are several programs that you can install ready to go, or for limited time that you have to purchase to use the full functionality of.
For free usage is a nice world clock which shows times in various cities, along with showing which part of the earth is illuminated in sunlight.
There are also viewers that allow you to look at Microsoft documents in their Desktop format (Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc)
Included, too, are some wireless communication programs for communicating with other units (messaging)
Next I wish to put these features into perspective by concentrating on the pros and cons of the unit itself and the good and bad of the particular features listed above.
Fast processor and Windows Mobile 2003. Large memory (128mb) area and a larger File Store than my earlier iPAQ. The screen is one of the best I've seen, very bright, even in daylight. Integrated Bluetooth and Wireless. Nice! Setting up Bluetooth and the Wireless isn't always as easy as Microsoft claims it is with WM2003, but it still is relatively simple and I didn't have too many hassles. In a short amount of time I was able to connect via Bluetooth to my laptop and to my iPAQ 3870 (and a few other HP5550s that I'm testing before deployment)
Wireless automatically detects potential access points around you, though the one it connects to still seems hit and miss which should go in the Cons area since you might not have permission to access all the spots.
Removeable Lithium Polymer battery is great, I wish my 3870 had a replaceable battery.
All of my old expansion packs that I got for my 3870 work with the HP5550.
It would be nice if HP would start putting SD _AND_ CF slots in all it's units. SD isn't quite there (if it ever gets there at all) and I find it irritating to have to buy expansion packs to use such a standard form factor as CompactFlash. I mean, they can put both on the 2210. Unlike others, I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit of size for functionality, and a slightly larger unit with a single expansion pack to accomodate my second CF card would still be smaller than my unit is in a Nexipak Dual CF pack.
Removing the Consumer Infrared and Nevo remote control software was a big negative. Enough said...what was HP thinking? CIR is on the HP5450 which is no less a workhorse (albeit with less RAM) and designed more for business use.
The other very serious negative (worse to me than the CIR) is the audio input/output jack. Again, what was HP thinking? The placement of the jack precludes it's use in the charging holder! With my 3870, I'd cradle the unit and run a patch cord to my stereo to play MP3s through my stereo speakers. Can't do that anymore :( And if I use the 5550 outside the cradle and use the converter to power the unit without the cradle, well, HP did it again and recessed the area around the receptacle so that most jacks will not fit in, only the ones for smaller headphones which don't do the job for me. Very bad design and the unit gets dinged for it. Major design flaw in my opinion.
I suppose HP thinks that most of the people spending $550-$650 for these units are deploying them in a business environment. Hey, since we carry these units with us most of the time, it might be nice to be able to use them for other functions more commonly thought of in the consumer realm.
With HP's MicroKeyboard or the Nexipak attached, the unit doesn't always connect flush in the cradle for some reason. This may be the Nexipak, but my 3870 cradles perfectly with the same Nexipak attached so I wonder.
The included carrying case that HP is now shipping isn't too good. I liked the holder with the built in screen protector that they used to provide. The current one is of a type so that the unit is carried horizontally on the wearer's belt. The unit is held in place by a magnetic(!) flap. Magnetic? Uh, has HP not learned anything about the fragility of data near magnetic fields? Some of us even still have regular floppies around that can be affected by this.
There seems to be something strange with the Wireless on these units. Every so often, when you activate the wireless, the light does not turn on and the wireless does not activate (even though the wireless toggle goes to active. I have found that, to fix this, the user should:
Make sure your files are backed up. This process doesn't do a hard reset, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Perform a soft reset (soft reset is simply pressing the stylus into the reset button at the base of the unit on the right side)
Turn the unit off
Remove the battery (in back)
Perform 5 or 6 soft resets
Replace the battery
Do a soft reset
Now turn on the wireless and the light should turn on.
While it looks like I have a lot of Cons mentioned, that is because most people concentrate on the negative and I'm no exception. The unit is very fast.
It has a good look to it and the front panel buttons are well placed. The jog shuttle in the center could be a bit larger but this is not a major inconvenience.
I've not had much of an issue with the power consumption and I use the unit quite heavily. The wireless tends to draw the battery down, but if you're in an area where you can use wireless, chances are that a power receptacle may be close by for charging.
Would I recommend this to a friend? Like a lot of things, it all depends on the use he has for it. The unit is quite expensive, and many people might be better off with a lesser unit for half as much or a little more. If you're looking for integrated wireless and bluetooth and a lot of memory and have a few extra dollars to throw into the works, this might be the unit for you. If you can do without the wireless and the standard 64mb is good enough for you (and you don't have any old expansion packs that you want to reuse), you might consider an HP2210
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Amount Paid (US$): 549
Recommended for: Business Executives - Powerful and Professional