Modern gadgetry is all very well – and we do love our phones, PDAs, GPS devices, MP3 players and digicams – but it's no good having all that gear if you need Batman's utility belt just to take them with you.

HP's high-end iPaq hw6915 offers all of these functions in an iPod-sized shell with a BlackBerry-style layout. The square screen leaves space for a qwerty keyboard underneath, with an integrated numeric keypad. There's a joystick, make/end call buttons and two 'soft keys'.

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Integration with the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS (operating system) is excellent, helped by specific ok and Start Menu buttons. Things you may want to do while walking – such as making phone calls and changing tracks in Windows Media Player – are easy without having to pull out the stylus.

The hw6915 features some nifty tools to help you keep track of its many functions. For example, the main Today screen includes a bar for quickly switching Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and the phone on and off, and letting you know if you're running a battery-leeching GPS application. The bar provides quick access to the wireless configuration panel.

Call quality was perfectly clear. The software bundle is good, including mobile versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word – which are much easier to use with the full qwerty keyboard than with other iPaqs.

Only a few issues hamper the HP. Its camera – a feature that the BlackBerry 7130, which we review here, does not have – is rather slow, and the images are grainy. The hw6915 becomes very sluggish if you're running too many programs at once. And the TomTom GPS-mapping software isn't totally successful. It saps battery power, it has trouble finding a signal in built-up areas and the coverage is rather limited unless you pay extra for a bigger map.

HP iPaq hw6915 Mobile Messenger: Specs

  • Quad-band GPRS phone
  • Intel PXA270 416MHz processor
  • 802.11b
  • Bluetooth 1.2
  • assisted GPS
  • IrDA
  • Windows Mobile 5.0
  • push email
  • 3in 320x320 touchscreen
  • qwerty keyboard
  • 1.3Mp camera
  • Mini SD card slot
  • TomTom GPS Navigation
  • Excel/PowerPoint/Word Mobile
  • HP Profiles
  • 71x18x118mm
  • 175g
  • Quad-band GPRS phone
  • Intel PXA270 416MHz processor
  • 802.11b
  • Bluetooth 1.2
  • assisted GPS
  • IrDA
  • Windows Mobile 5.0
  • push email
  • 3in 320x320 touchscreen
  • qwerty keyboard
  • 1.3Mp camera
  • Mini SD card slot
  • TomTom GPS Navigation
  • Excel/PowerPoint/Word Mobile
  • HP Profiles
  • 71x18x118mm
  • 175g

OUR VERDICT

The iPaq hw6915 is pretty expensive, but it's the best attempt at an all-in-one portable device we've seen. If you need this functionality, the HP is an excellent offering. And using it makes you feel like 24's Jack Bauer, which doesn't hurt.

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