First Thoughts: HP iPaq 5450 Overview

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HP iPAQ h5450


We all know that saying about life and money, you get what you pay for, although usually it s used in a negative sense it can still apply to such things as the HP iPaq 5450 where you pay a lot and consequently get a lot.  The HP iPaq 5450 is inarguably the king of PDAs, its hardware and included software features are head-over-heels above any other PDA.  The cost of ownership for the iPaq 5450 is also about twice as much as many other Pocket PC devices right now.  Weighing in at $799.99 (Manufacturer s Suggested Retail Price, U.S. ) the iPaq 5450 might be more expensive than your Desktop PC.  Obviously HP is aiming at enterprise users or geeks with large wallets who just have to have the latest handheld technology.  I ve had the iPaq 5450 for a couple of days now and will give an overview of what s to like about this PDA before giving a full review within the next couple of weeks.


In the box:


When you purchase the HP iPaq 5450 you ll get the following items in the box:


  • HP iPaq Pocket PC
  • Slim removable battery
  • Protective Cover pack
  • Universal Cradle for either Universal Serial Bus (USB) or serial connection
  • Extra Stylus
  • AC Adapter
  • Charger Adapter (tethered to the AC Adapter)
  • Getting Started guide
  • HP iPaq Pocket PC Companion CD, which contains:

                                                               i.      Microsoft Outlook 2000

                                                             ii.      Microsoft ActiveSync software

                                                            iii.      Bonus software and applications

                                                           iv.      HP documentation including HP iPAQ Pocket PC Reference Guide and eBook in select languages on CD.



Hardware Features:

Below is a picture for each panel of the iPaq 5450 and the features found in each area.



  1. Speaker: Alarms, voice, music
  2. Power Indicator: ( amber flash = charging, amber solid = charged, green flash = alarm, calendar, event)
  3. Stylus:  Innovative spring action, push to eject, push to lock.
  4. Power Button:  Turns unit on and off
  5. Color Display: High contrast color screen, 320×240 resolution, .24 dot pitch, with 64K color support.
  6. Inbox Button: Access your inbox for sending and receiving email.
  7. iTask Button: Open, close, and switch between applications, run utilities, and change settings.
  8. 5-way Navigation Button:  Scroll through a list and push to select.
  9. Fingerprint Reader: Biometric enhanced security.
  10. Microphone:  Record your voice or other sounds.
  11. Calendar Button: Schedule appointments, set reminders, or view your calendar.
  12. Contacts Button: Display a list of your contacts from the category you select.
  13. Volume: Up/Down/Mute Voice and Record.
  14. Light Sensor: Automatically adjusts the backlight when selected
  15. Active Bluetooth Indicator: Flashes blue when Bluetooth is on
  16. Wireless LAN Indicator
  17. Antenna: Transmits and receives signals.


Top Panel:

  1. Antenna: Transmits and receives signals.
  2. Stylus: Push to eject, push to lock.
  3. Infrared/Universal Remote: Beams info to and from other infrared-enabled devices.
  4. Secure Digital I/O (SDIO) Expansion slot:  Supports Secure Digital (SD) Storage and expansion cards.


Bottom Panel:

  1. 3.5 mm Stereo/Microphone Headphone Jack:  Connect your headphone or headset or earpiece.
  2. Charging/ Communication Port : Connect to Universal cradle, synchronization cable, or charging adapter.
  3. Reset Button: Resets your iPaq Pocket PC.
  4. Expansion Pack Connector:  Connect to an optional Expansion Pack.
  5. Microphone: Record your voice or other sounds.


Back Panel:

  1. Slim Removable Battery: Removable/rechargeable battery.
  2. Battery Latch: Slide up to remove the battery.
  3. Product Label: Needed for service and product-related questions.


The iPaq 5400 series has now shed all reference to the old Compaq labeling, the decision was made long ago to continue to evolve the iPaq line of PDAs and finish the old HP Jornada PDA line.  And the keyword here is evolve, the HP iPAQ 5400 is not a revamp of the previous 3900 series but rather an evolution of it.  The evolution of today s current iPaq 5400 line started with the successful 3600 series and has improved with each new line released.  Each new iPaq release has seen added hardware and software features and tweaks.  This formula of improving upon the last release has made the iPaq the most reliable and successful Pocket PC.  The iPaq 5450 continues this evolution via the addition of Wi-Fi (802.11b) and Bluetooth built-in connectivity (a first for any PDA), built in biometric security using fingerprint recognition, a removable battery, new wireless connection software, vibrating alarms and built in infrared with Nevo software that allows you to control various consumer devices (such as TVs, stereos, DVD players).  If there s anything missing from that list of device features, then here s just a sampling of the accessory expansions available for the iPaq 5400:


  • Wireless pack for GSM/GPRS networks to convert your iPaq into a cellphone.
  • CompactFlash card expansion pack.
  • PC Card expansion pack.
  • Extended life battery (coming soon)


Processor & Memory:


The HP iPaq 5450 runs on the Intel PXA250 400MHz Processor, the same as that available for the Dell Axim.  This is top of the range speed and you won t have any problems dealing with slow applications due to the processor.  The memory provided with the iPaq is a standard 64 MB of SDRAM and 48 MB of ROM, it would have been nice to see HP push the envelope with the amount of memory provided at a $699 price tag, but nobody seems willing to up the bar in regards to built-in memory.


Form Factor:


The iPaq has not changed it s look too much since the original 3600 series.  That s not a bad thing though, the iPaq is sleekly designed with a solid feel.  With the 5400 series we now gain the addition of an antenna on top of the device and extra light indicators for the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.  Below the navigation button we also have a fingerprint reader now, but it is well integrated into the iPaq and unless you know it s there then it s hard to even tell of it s addition.  The dimensions for the iPaq 5450 are: 5.23 in x 3.30 in x .63 in (length x width x depth).  It weighs in at 7.26 ounces, or relatively close to that of the Dell Axim, but much more weighty than the tiny iPaq 1910.  The feel of the iPaq 5450 is more solid than that of the Axim, the casing is more rigid and sturdy and includes a more metallic look and feel.  It should be noted that the Dell Axim comes equipped with built in CompactFlash expansion, but to get this with the iPaq 5450 you must add the CompactFlash expansion jacket this adds to the weight and bulk of the iPaq.  Included with the iPaq is a protective cover pack, this does bulk up the iPaq but it s completely worth fitting onto the iPaq as it will keep the device looking new, so use it!




The iPaq series is known for it s screen and of course there is no deviation with the iPaq 5450.  Transflective Color TFT and 240 x 320 pixels combined with 64K color support is rather standard in Pocket PCs, but the color contrast and screen brightness is what makes the iPaq stand out.  The 5450 offers a better screen than recently released devices such as the ViewSonic V35 and Dell Axim, but I would actually say that the iPaq 1910 has a slight edge in brightness over the more expensive and larger 5450.  The difference is minimal though.




The speaker for the iPaq 5450 rests at the top of the PDA, there s no change in the quality of speaker from older iPaq devices, and it is much the same as the Dell Axim in quality.  Once again though, the iPaq 1910 beats out the iPaq 5450 in the sound quality of the speaker at medium volume levels.  The microphone for the iPaq resides at the bottom of the PDA for dictation purposes.  A handy volume control button on the side of the iPaq gives us the ability to move volume up/down/mute and jump to the dictation recording program.  The headphone jack rests on the bottom of the iPaq for better sound quality through your headphones.






The wireless capabilities of the iPaq present the latest and greatest addition.  We saw Bluetooth built into the 3900 series, but no Wi-Fi.  We now have both built into the 5450.  The built in software for handling wireless connections is superb.  I have a Sony-Ericsson t68i and setting up a partnership between it and the iPaq was a breeze.  I simply stepped through a wizard in the iPaq Bluetooth connectivity software and paired with my t68i without a problem.  The Wi-Fi software makes it easy to switch between wireless LAN s and also gives a very details view of how strong your connection is.  The range on the Wi-Fi is excellent, connectivity from 200 300 ft from your access point is not a problem.  If you don t want to use the wireless capabilities it is easy to turn these settings on and off via the WLAN software (in the Settings > System folder).  The Bluetooth management software is located in this same folder.




I’ll Be Back:

There’s much more in the way of pictures and info to come on the iPaq 5450, so stay tuned to the site over the next couple of weeks as we bring you more and both.  And as always, keep updated on the price by visiting our specs and pricing area for the iPaq 5450.



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