First Thoughts – HP iPaq rz1715

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HP iPaq rz1715.

The entire casing of the iPaq rz1715 (view pricing and specs) is made out of very cheap, very lightweight plastic–the kind that you find in $10 universal remote controls. Compared to my X30, the rz1715 seems marginally smaller, and a bit smoother around the edge. It also feels a bit lighter, but I wouldn’t trade off that amount of weight for the cheapness of the case. Buttons, stylus, and directional pad are all more or less the same cheap plastic. The buttons and d-pad actually aren’t that bad, though the stylus is pretty chintzy.

The rz1715 come preloaded with the usual run of iPaq software like a task switcher (not the same one as prior iPaqs), customized start page, settings applets, etcetera. Nothing earth-shattering.

Left, Dell Axim X30. Right, HP iPAQ rz1715.

The rz1715 is in many ways a vanilla PocketPC. It has no wireless, no VGA, no dual slots, no GPS, no significant features of any kind–not even a jog dial. It’s literally the most basic subset of required hardware for a Pocket PC. I have nothing against that–that’s how you build entry level models. But the rz1715 isn’t priced like an entry level model. It’s priced like an upper midrange model, trying to compete with the Axim X30 312 combo and other PPCs that are way out of the iPaq’s league.

Left, Dell Axim X30. Right, HP iPAQ rz1715.

At this point, I have no words to describe how unimpressed I am with the rz1715. It offers no advantages over its competitors, and has almost no advantage over its own predecessor, the h1935–a unit months older and $80 cheaper.

We’ll be following up with a complete review of the rz1715 in the coming days. Stay tuned.

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