iPaq 1940 / iPaq 1945 Review by Andrew Baxter and Barry Doyle
The iPaq 1940 / iPaq 1945 PDA has been eagerly awaited almost since the release of the HP iPaq 1910 last year due to the fact the 1910 was a great device but had a few key features missing. Consumers wanted an SDIO slot and not just the limited SD slot the 1910 came with. A built in wireless communication standard was viewed as being the add-on that would make a 1910 like device an amazing PDA. The wait is over, the iPaq 1940 and iPaq 1945 are here and covered in this review.
Now you may ask what is the difference between the iPaq 1940 and iPaq 1945? The answer is there is no difference whatsoever. The iPaq 1940 and iPaq 1945 are the same device, HP just uses different model numbers when selling this PDA through different channels. The iPaq 1945 is sold through consumer channels, so any device you see in the local retail store or online at Amazon.com will be the iPaq 1945. If you’re buying the device through a business channel, such as the hpshopping.com business shop, the device will have the iPaq 1940 model number slapped on it. This is of course confusing, but such is the way with Hewlett Packard.
With that all said, let’s quickly talk about what the iPaq 1945 is and what it comes with by referring directly to the HP news release on the iPaq h1940 where they state that this Pocket PC
“…offers consumers and mobile professionals integrated expansion and wireless connectivity at a low estimated price of $299.
Building on the success of the h1910, the h1940 has a similar slim and sleek design and includes a dazzling color display, SDIO and integrated Bluetooth wireless capability. The h1940 weighs a mere 4.37 ounces and easily slips into a shirt pocket or purse.
The SDIO expansion slot allows customers to do even more with the iPaq Pocket PC by adding not only memory cards but also wireless cards, digital cameras and other features in the future.
The h1940 includes 64MB of RAM (56MB of main memory) and the Samsung S3C2410 processor (266-MHz processor). A synchronization cable is included with the device, and a variety of optional accessories are available including a USB cradle with an extra battery slot for charging, extra styli, a spare lithium-ion battery, auto adapter and a variety of cases. Street price varies by country. Estimated U.S. pricing for the h1940 is $299.”
So basically HP’s target market with the iPaq 1945 is a consumer that wants to use a PDA for both business and pleasure, wants a small form factor and to pay a relatively low price. That person might be you, but we’ll give an entire breakdown of the device in this review of the iPaq 1945 to enable you to decide that. Here are the areas we’ll cover:
In the box
Model Specifications and Specs Overview
Overall Design & Form Factor
Memory (on board and expansion)
Screen Performance and Design
Accessorizing & Cradle
Software & OS
Battery Life and Performance
Summary & Recommendation
Here’s a quick rundown of what comes in the box with a newly purchased iPaq 1945:
- HP iPaq Pocket PC h1945
- USB Synchronization cable
- AC Adapter
- Getting Started Poster
- Charger Adapter
- 2.5 mm — 3.5 mm audio adapter (to allow use of regular headphones in non-standard sized headphone jack)
- HP iPaq Pocket PC Companion CD
You’ll notice that no cradle is included in the box, you also do not get any type of case for the iPaq 1945. This is a little disappointing, I feel that at $299.99 one of the two should be included, the iPaq 2215 is only $100 more and you get a more upscale device and both a cradle and case with it.
“The thin, light, and affordable hp iPAQ Pocket PC h1940 has great features and integrated Bluetooth at an incredible value to meet your handheld computing needs. The slim and sleek design fits into almost any pocket or purse and conveniently includes SD slot for flexibility in expansion and storage. With integrated Bluetooth 1, connect wirelessly to other Bluetooth devices. Plus, wireless ready capabilities allow you to access the Internet, email, and corporate data. Stay productive with the combination of popular applications, features and storage capabilities. View photos and listen to your favorite music when you want. A broad range of features, Bluetooth, expansion capabilities, and multimedia make the hp iPAQ Pocket PC h1945 is essential for you to be productive at home, at work or on the go.”
Specifications as stated by HP:
- Powered by Microsoft Windows Pocket PC 2003 Professional
- Samsung (2410) 266 MHz processor
- Transflective TFT liquid crystal display
- 64K color (65,536 colors) 16-bit touch-sensitive transflective thin film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD)
- Viewable Image Size: 3.5 in. diagonal (96 mm)
- 64 MB Synchronous SDRAM (56 MB main memory)
- Up to 14 MB iPAQ File Store
- (L x W x H) 4.46 x 2.75 x 0.5 in (1133 x 69.8 x 12.8 mm)
- 4.37 oz (124 g)
- Flashing green LED – tone, pop-up message
- Flashing amber LED – battery in unit is charging
- Solid amber LED – battery in unit fully charged
- Flashing blue LED – Bluetooth active
- Notification: Sound and message on the display
- Removable, rechargeable 900 mAh Lithium-Ion battery
- Estimated usage time of fully charged battery up to 8 hours
- AC Input: 100~240 Vac, 50/60 Hz; AC Input current: 0.2 Aac max
- Output Voltage: 5Vdc (typical); Output Current: 2A (typical)
- Integrated SD slot – supports SDIO and SD/MMC type standard
- Microphone, speaker, one 2.5 mm headphone jack, MP3 stereo (through audio jack)
Ergonomic Design Features
- Instant-on/off and Backlight
- Navigation button
- Touch-sensitive display for stylus
- 4 programmable application launch buttons (Calendar, Contacts, Inbox, Today)
- 2 alarm settings
- Built-in speaker
The HP iPaq 1940 form factor is tiny
The iPaq 1910 burst onto the scene last year and wowed people with its form factor and tiny size. The iPaq 1945 layout is the same design-wise, meaning there’s a lot to be happy about. The ease of carrying this device is amazing. I can put it in my pocket and forget it’s there, maybe not always a good thing if you’re about to throw your pants in the washer, but in general I like to feel unencumbered with any electronic device I carry and the 1945 absolutely provides this. I can put it my shirt pocket and be happy even. The exact specs on the 1940 device are 4.46 in x 2.75 in x .50 in (length x width x depth) and the weight comes in at 4.3 oz, just slightly heavier than the 1910 device that weighs 4.23 oz. The iPaq 1940 is about half an inch shorter and narrower than most other Pocket PC devices. In fact, the 1940 is more like a Palm device in its small and sleek form factor.
The casing on the 1940 is decent and better than some more expensive Pocket PCs I’ve used, the casing is a hard plastic but it definitely feels solid and gives a metallic look. In addition, the sleek curves on this iPaq make it look like the Porsche of the PDA industry. The speaker for the iPaq is extremely well hidden and non-obtrusive. Can you see it on the front? No? That’s because it’s a tiny but powerful speaker under the directional pad.
The buttons on the 1940 are well placed, but small. I find the jog dial a little bit hard to use because of its size, if you have a fat thumb you might get frustrated trying to hit the correct navigation directions. The standard shortcut buttons for getting to your calendar, contacts, email or Today screen are all there from left to right and easy to push.
The power button is an LED light that is located at the very top of the 1940. The breakdown on what the different indicators are on the LED light can be viewed in our specifications section of the review (above).
On the left side of the device is a button for quickly accessing the dictation software and turning on the microphone for recording. On other devices I’ll often bump this button and get huge audio files full of background noise, the 1940’s record button is slightly inset making it easy to push when needed but hard to push accidentally. The back of the device has a push up switch for releasing the battery, no complaints there either. On top of the PDA is the SecureDigital IO expansion slot, headphone jack, speaker and stylus silo. The stylus is easy to remove and nice — once again though it is definitely smaller than some might want, fat fingers need not apply.
The iPaq 1940 is on the left and iPaq 2215 is on the right
The h1940 comes with 32MB of ROM and 64MB RAM (56MB user-accessable). A welcomed improvement to this unit is the famous “iPAQ File Store” capability to protect information that will even survive a hard reset. This invaluable feature allows up to 14MB of “protected” data storage. A Secure Digital (SD) card slot with SD, SDIC & MMC support is also included in this unit and will allow for users to use an SD Wi-Fi card and other additional hardware as it becomes available.
A Samsung processor? But is that as fast as XSCALE? Well the iPAQ 1940 is powered by the Samsung 2410 processor rated at 266 MHz. The Samsung 2410 is an ARM9-based processor. Microsoft worked with Samsung closely in the development of this chip just as it did with Intel for the XSCALE (also ARM-based). The bottom line is that this processor should be 100% compatible with any software designed for the XSCALE, since both processors are designed and optimized to run identical code (Including the Windows Mobile Operating System). My personal observation is that this chip is not only fast, but very power efficient as well. A major complaint of h1910 users was the battery life rated at 4 hours. This unit is rated at double that (8 hours), and the difference is certainly noticeable even when using Bluetooth and multimedia-based applications.
Just like the previous iPAQ models such as the h1910 and h5455 which beared the hp logo, the h1940 also incorporates a brilliant transreflective screen. The resolution is the current Pocket PC standard at 240 x 320 pixels. On this model, the screen size is 3.5″ and although it is not as large as the 3.8″ sreen found on the h5000 series iPAQS, it is a generous proportion of screen real estate considering the h1940’s incredibly compact form factor. As with all the latest models of the iPAQ line, most users will agree this is generally the most impressive standard feature of iPAQ PPC’s and the screen on the h1940 is no exception. And like the other iPAQ’s, aside from physical size, this screen amazingly rivals the very best laptop screens in brightness, clarity and color saturation. However, one issue that should be noted which affects the color saturation on the h1940 is that white colors on this model’s display almost appear to have a “yellowish” hue. It has been common in many past Pocket PC models with both reflective and transreflective screens that a bluish or yellowish hue is present, due to the cast of the frontlight (reflective screens) or backlighting (transreflective screens) source. Unfortunately, every Pocket PC model seems to have some compromise on its’ screen one way or the other. Weather it be brightness, color saturation, (especially the appearance of whites and blacks) and sharpness, there usually is not a 100% perfect balance. If this yellowish hue (on whites) bothers you on this screen, the iPAQ h1940 may not be the right choice for you.
iPaq 2215 on the left, iPaq 1940 on the right, the iPaq 1940 with yellow hue screen
Similar to other iPAQ Pocket PC’s, the h1940 has exceptional sound quality. The loud and clear audio projects from the integrated speaker which is cleverly integrated into the navigation pad on the unit. Another point worth mentioning; there were a lot of users who were concerned about the headphone jack not being the standard size on the h1910. HP included an adapter with the 1940 to enable use of standard headphones. This is a helpful accessory that is found in the box.
One thing to be aware of with the 1900 series of devices is that due to the slimmer design HP altered the serial input so that it’s specific to this series, meaning accessories such as keyboards for the 3000, 5000 and new 2000 series of iPaq devices don’t work with the 1900 series. This is unfortunate, but the thing to keep in mind is that the 1900 series is geared towards being a compact type of device that you don’t build out with a whole bunch of accessories. Having said that, the new 1940 device allows for SDIO accessory expansion so you have more options than were available with the 1910 device, that’s a big bonus. Some SDIO type accessories that are out or will be eventually include such things as scanners, cameras, wi-fi cards and radio tuners.
iPaq 1940 in separately purchased cradle
Some accessory options you’ll have right now for the iPaq 1940 include USB Cradle/Charger, Spare battery, 3 pack replacement stylus kit, AC Adapter, SD memory cards, Auto adapter and Charger adapter. The cradle used for the 1910 device is the same as the 1940, the cradle has an additional slot for charging spare batteries at the same time the unit is being charged. The cost on the cradle is $49.99.
One of the differences between the 1910 and the new 1940 device is the fact the 1940 comes loaded with the new Windows Mobile 2003 Operating System while the 1910 has Pocket PC 2002. There’s not a huge difference between the OS’s, but for those who have to have the latest and greatest you might want to consider this. View this article for a breakdown on what the new Windows Mobile 2003 OS provides: bargainPDA’s Fast Guide to Windows Mobile 2003
The software included with the 1940 is pretty standard and not as generous as the higher end offerings from HP, loaded on the device you’ll get:
iPAQ Backup: utility for Backup/Restore to Main Memory or Memory Card
Utilities: Self Test
iPAQ Image Viewer: view images and create slide shows
On the companion software CD with the 1940 you get full versions of the following software:
Adobe PDF Viewer
Resco File Explorer (available on h1945)
hp Web Registration
Outlook 2002 Desktop
Real Player Mobile
hp Mobile Print Center
Media Player Desktop
iPaq 1940 Battery exposed
The battery included with the 1940 is a Removable/Rechargeable 900 mAh Lithium-lon user swappable battery. According to HP, the estimated usage time of a fully charged battery is up to 8 hours. Of course, they footnote this claim with “Battery life varies based on the usage pattern of an individual user and the configuration of the handheld. Use of some attachments may significantly decrease battery life.” Although you won’t, or at least rarely will, get the 8 hours of battery life claimed the battery length is respectable, considering the unit’s small 900mAh battery. When playing MP3 files with backlight turned on the 1940 gave me about lasted 3h 45 mins of play. That falls short of the Toshiba e330, Dell Axim and iPaq 2210 but I don’t consider it bad.
It’s all about Bluetooth when it comes to the latest round of iPaq devices released by HP, and the 1940 of course carries this trait. HP is pushing the use of Bluetooth in the iPaq 1940 for such things as being able to print to Bluetooth enabled printers — made by HP of course! I like using the Bluetooth for such things as partnering my Bluetooth enabled Sony Ericsson t68i cell phone with the iPaq 1940. That allows me to dial in with my cell phone to the data provider account I have setup with T-Mobile and in effect use my cell phone as a modem for the iPaq 1940. The management of Bluetooth devices is now improved with Windows Mobile 2003 so creating Bluetooth partnerships is a breeze. The following profiles are supported by the iPaq 1940:
General Access Profile
Serial Port Profile
Generic Object Exchange Profile
File Transfer Profile
Dial-Up Networking Profile
LAN Access Profile
Object Push Profile
Basic Printing Profile
Personal Area Networking Profile
Unfortunately one of the cost saving implementations for the 1900 series is not having consumer level IR, so you can’t load software such as Nevo Universal Remote, included on many iPaq devices, to control your TV. Bummer.
Andrew: I like the iPaq 1940, I really do, but I feel that the issue with the yellow screen is a real letdown by HP. I just don’t know how they took a device with the best screen out there (the 1910) and then blew it on the subsequent upgrade device. The 1945 screen is bright and good when looked at straight-on, but tilt it and the horrible yellow-effect just can’t be overlooked. Whether this is a manufacturing flaw or bad design I don’t know, but HP needs to address it. This flaw is a shame of course because everything else about the device is good. The Samsung 266 Mhz processor is snappy and efficient. The form factor is the best of any Pocket PC. The sound is very good. The Bluetooth and SDIO improvements over the 1910 device are fantastic. The $299 price tag is good. But the one nagging issue with the screen is big enough that you might consider paying $100 more for the iPaq 2215 that has all the options of the 1940 and more and a screen that is very good with no issues. So overall I say that if you love small form factor then go with the 1940, but if you can spare $100 for a better device that has better value for the money then use the problems and lack of options with the iPaq 1940 as an excuse to buy the 2215.
Barry: If you loved the iPAQ h1910, you are in for a real honeymoon with the h1940! This unit still retains the super compact form-factor of the h1910, but is packed with additional features and power. This unit feels solid and sits comfortably in your hand or pocket. The looks along with the bright screen are sure to grab attention from onlookers and at about $300 bucks and all these features, this Pocket PC is sure to be a top-seller for HP and a grand addition to the legendary iPAQ line!