The HP iPAQ Glisten is rather snappy, and performs well in many situations. Applications, task switching and the like were very fast. I never saw the dreaded mobile version of the Windows hourglass, which was nice.
That said, I sometimes found that I liked the device better when I wasn’t using the voice features, as you’ll see below.
Unfortunately, speakerphone performance wasn’t as good, with low volume being the most notable issue. Even with the speaker volume turned all the way up, it was difficult to hear a party on the other end of the line. It was a noticeable difference within each call, so it isn’t simply a matter of being in a poor coverage area when I placed a speakerphone call. I tried both ways within several test calls.
The iPAQ offers access to AT&T’s 3G network, Wi-Fi b/g wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0,
Since the Glisten is a Windows Mobile Professional 6.5 device, it comes with Microsoft Office Mobile, which allows you to view and edit Word and Excel files, and view PowerPoint presentations. A PDF viewer is also included.
Voice Commander does exactly what it says, allowing you to talk to your phone instead of using the keypad and touchscreen. When you start the application, it provides a list of available commands, which is helpful when you first start using it. I found it was highly accurate and easy to use and I was able place calls, check my call history, call voice mail and perform other simple tasks.
Mobi4Biz is a $9.99 monthly subscription service that offers live TV and clips from Bloomberg, CNBC, CNB World, Fox Business and TheStreet.com. A one-day trial subscription is included, which barely allows you to get a taste of the service before it’s over. Other preloaded applications include MSN Money, the Weather Channel, Mobile Banking and Sprite Backup.
Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player provide the entertainment. Internet Explorer works very well, although rather slowly on the Glisten compared to other devices I’ve tested. Even when using Wi-Fi instead of the AT&T network, the page loading speed was somewhat disappointing, although the overall experience was positive. Even complicated pages with a lot of ads still displayed well, and I had no problem scrolling around and selecting links with the touchscreen.
Windows Media Player works just as you would expect, though music playback was somewhat “stuttery” when I was performing other tasks while listening to music in the background. Several times when I was entering my Wi-Fi login credentials, playback would stop for a second and then resume. It was somewhat annoying and surprising considering the polish on the rest of the device.
A few games are included, like Monopoly Here & Now, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Ms. PAC-MAN, Solitaire and Bubble Breaker. Unfortunately, only Solitaire and Bubble Breaker are full games; everything else is a demo. But it was nice to see what the device is capable of when entertaining me on the go.
The 3.1 megapixel camera takes pretty good shots, and while you won’t win any photography contests, it’s a fine substitute if you don’t have a standalone digital camera with you.
HP Photosmart Mobile is included, and I enjoyed the picture viewer application. It was easy to organize my photos, send them via email and even set them up to print automatically from a memory card. A slideshow feature is also included, and it works well.
Battery life on the Glisten is rather good. Even after heavy use over the last couple of days playing game demos, making calls and taking pictures, the battery still has half a charge left.