The rush of Windows Mobile 6.0 devices has begun and the HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger looks set to be one of the most popular.

HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger combines a sensible-sized 2in screen - on which it's possible to view information without having to squint - with an operating system that's more straightforward and intuitive than ever.

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The sixth iteration of the Windows Mobile operating system dispenses with the distinction between a smartphone-specific iteration and a full-bore version for more traditional PDA users.

See also: HTC S710 Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone and then read our iPhone preview here.

In essence, this means that smartphone users now get to fiddle about with Excel spreadsheets and Word documents too, although the Standard version of Windows Mobile 6.0 doesn't support touchscreens. With phone screens tending to dominate the front of handsets these days, viewing documents isn't such a daft idea. The HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger's 2in screen, for instance, crams in 176x220 pixels, which is around half that of a ‘traditional' PDA.

HP has kept the iPaq moniker of its PDA (and GPS) line-up (see HP iPaq rx5700 Travel Companion review) and presented the HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger - its first Windows Mobile 6.0 device - in a handset reminiscent of Nokia's Symbian S60 phones. The HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger is not as shiny as handsets such as the N95 and isn't a slider phone, while its slate grey casing marks it out as business tool.

The HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger is known as a Voice Messenger and to this end offers and both VoiP (Internet Calling, as the onscreen status calls it) and voice-activated dialling and navigation. We weren't too impressed with the Voice Commander. Even with the volume right up, no audible distractions and enunciating slowly, it failed to find any of our phonebook contacts or to recognise the numbers we asked it to dial, although it did work out that we were trying to voice-dial a call and hazard a guess at a couple of digits.

Wi-Fi was rather more impressive. The HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger found networks with ease and using its wireless capability was straightforward. Internet Explorer quickly served up web pages over GPRS (general packet radio service) with little hanging about for text to load.

We were pleased, too, with how quickly we could use the HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger to connect to an Outlook email account and pull down mail. You're told the exact file size of any attachments and can opt to download each on a case-by-case basis or set maximum file size limits. When replying, there are nine cursory responses you can send under the My Text shortcut, saving you laboriously typing out an acknowledgement. There's an HP Voice Reply option too – another useful way of keeping yourself in the communication loop without getting caught up in the constantly-being-on-email trap that tramples productivity.

HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger: Specs

  • Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone
  • 200MHz CPU
  • quad-band
  • GPRS/Edge
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • 1.3Mp camera
  • voice memo
  • voice-dialling
  • MP3 player
  • 64MB RAM
  • 128MB ROM
  • microSD card slot
  • 2.5mm headphone jack
  • USB 1.1
  • 49x16x107mm
  • 102g
  • Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone
  • 200MHz CPU
  • quad-band
  • GPRS/Edge
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • 1.3Mp camera
  • voice memo
  • voice-dialling
  • MP3 player
  • 64MB RAM
  • 128MB ROM
  • microSD card slot
  • 2.5mm headphone jack
  • USB 1.1
  • 49x16x107mm
  • 102g

OUR VERDICT

We found the HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger a functional and likable device. Its raised keypad and navipad are large and comfortable, although you have to squeeze the button on the phone's bottom right to launch the vVoice recorder. The HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger's 1.3Mp camera (with 3x zoom) ensures it will appeal only to the business user, but there's a microSD card slot should you want some audible respite on your commute. You'll need to use HP's own tinny earphones (or an adaptor for the 2.5mm jack). The volume adjusting this is the largest button on this unpretentious but admirably straightforward handset. News: HTC launches Windows Mobile iPhone challenger

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