Blast from the Past – HP 914c review

Below is my review of the HP 914c written in October 2008.

Product Name:  HP 914c

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Supplied by:      http://www.expansys.com
Price:                 £344.99
Reviewer:        Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

In The Box-       Phone, Manuals, CD’s, USB sync/charge lead, mains adapter with UK and EC, Stereo Headset, Battery

First Impressions of hardware – Looks like a business machine, blue lettering on keys difficult to read, reasonable build quality, dreadful battery on 3g, poor phone reception, low phone volume, excellent stylus.

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Hardware Highlights- 3mp camera, landscape screen superb for text entry and web browsing, large stylus, top on/off button, gps external aerial, left side volume up/down, voice commander button, memory slot, mini usb, right side jog wheel, ok and camera button, nothing on bottom of device.

The HP 914c has been a bit of a mixed bag. Its screen resolution of 320 x 240 is superb for text entry tasks and web browsing.

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The 914c does not support screen rotation so a number of older games will not work.  I found a majority of applications all worked fine . Games that ran fine included several by Astraware (Boardgames, Casino, Solitaire, Suduko, Bejeweled 2, GTS World Racing and more), Concrete PDA Bowling, Wordpop and Invasion. Applications I installed included CoPilot 7, ClearTemp, Wisbar Lite, Homescreen Plus, Coreplayer, Easy Expenses, Ereader, isilo, Metro, sktools, sinPocketwatch, Resco File Explorer, vSnap and Newsbreak.

CoPilot 7 looked excellent on the 914c (see below) and in test the GPS locked into position within 20 seconds.  I found the GPS chip to be consistent and reliable.

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HP have also installed a number of HP bespoke applications, including HP Voice Commander , Voice Reply and Printing. The voice options on the device are impressive. You can ask the machine to read your entire emails and sms, unread ones, and then it will ask you if you want to send a voice reply. You record your voice reply and it then emails it or sends it by mms. HP Printing, Google Maps and Search are also pre-installed. In addition, within the messaging options, you can reply to any sms, mms or email with HP Voice reply.

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The rubber flap for the mini usb and micro sdhc card is an odd affair, but once I had got used to using it it actually is perfect for quick access to the memory card or mini usb slot. The stylus is worth a mention. It is nearly as long as the 914c and is superb. The keyboard and all the buttons all worked fine, as did the camera which took reasonable shots with its 3 MP lens.

However, the phone radio is below par. The 914 struggled to gain reception where other phones had reception. The in call volume was too low and the caller’s voice sounded muffled a bit. On 3g the whopping 1940 mah battery was useless. With hardly any usage (push email on, 6 emails, 2 texts, 5 newsfeed and 2 short calls) it was totally flat in 12 hours. On 2g it was able to manage a day and a half.

Specifications-
Operating system Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
• Processor Marvell PXA270 Processor 520 MHz
• Memory 128, 256 MB flash ROM
• Software – Microsoft® Office Outlook® Mobile, Microsoft® Office Mobile (Word Mobile, Excel® Mobile, PowerPoint® Mobile), Internet Explorer® Mobile, Windows Media® Player, Microsoft ActiveSync, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Voice Recorder, Notes. HP exclusive applications: HP Photosmart Mobile, iPAQ Wireless Manager, Bluetooth Manager, HP Help and Support, HP QuickStart Tour, HP Voice Reply, Voice Commander, HP Enterprise Mobility Agent
• Dimensions (w x d x h) 6.4 x 1.6 x 11.3 cm , • Weight 146 g
• Display 2.46″ transmissive TFT, 65K colours, 320 x 240 pixel touch panel display with LED backlight
• Mobile phone Integrated Quad-band GSM/SPGRS/EDGE phone and Tri band UMTS, HSDPA 3.6/7.2 Mpbs
• Integrated wireless Integrated WLAN 802.11b/g, Bluetooth® 2.0 with EDR
• Messaging Phone Dialer application, SMS support, MMS composer, Microsoft Outlook Push eMail, Pull eMail via ActiveSync, HP Voice Reply, Microsoft Live Messenger
• GPS receiver Integrated GPS navigation (Assisted GPS) Google Maps mobile 
• Expansion slots 64-bit Micro SDHC card slot – for memory expansion
• Multimedia HP Photosmart Mobile Software with Snapfish Upload, Windows Media® Player
• Camera Integrated 3.0 mega-pixel auto focus camera, 4X digital zoom, 640 x 480 VGA resolution, 1280 x 1024 SXGA resolution – for some models only
• Power Battery: removable/rechargeable 1940 mAh Lithium-Ion (user changeable), Talk time: up to 4 hours, Standby time: up to 10 days (250 hours)
• Audio Integrated microphone, receiver, speaker and one 2.5 mm stereo headphone jack
• Design features Alphanumeric keyboard, scroll wheel, 5-way navigation pad, 2 soft keys, send/end buttons, reset button, volume control, voice command
• Security HP Enterprise Mobility Agent

Conclusions-

This could have been a great device, but it is let down by poor phone quality and battery. If HP release a rom update this might resolve the 2 issues.

Build Quality-   7/10
Ease of use-      7/10
Battery-            4/10
Screen clarity-  8/10
Value for money- 6/10
Total score-       63%

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