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HP Jornada 565 
Pocket PC Review

by Jeff Wheeler
Posted 12/13/01

I'm often asked which Pocket PC I prefer; my answer is immediate. I have used Pocket PCs from Compaq and Casio, but my preference is the Hewlett Packard Jornada 560 series. 

HP 565I used the Jornada 545 Pocket PC for over a year, and am now using the newer 565. Why do I like this Pocket PC?

  • The screen is readable both indoors and outdoors. Some handheld computer color screens cannot be used outdoors or under bright lights.
  • It is a bit smaller than the Compaq iPaq series. The size differences are actually pretty slim, but it has a much smaller feel to it.
  • The iPaq looks like a space age device. While this would be great if I want to look like Flash Gordon, I prefer the more professional appearance of the 565.
  • It includes a Type 1 CF slot; no additional expansion sleeve is necessary.

Why a Pocket PC?

This isn't a comparative review of Pocket PC versus Palm OS handhelds, nor is it intended to be. I use both a Pocket PC (the 565 being discussed here) and a Palm m505, which Tim reviews elsewhere. My son uses a Handheld PC, and my daughter uses a Handspring Visor. (My wife doesn't use any of them!) We like both Pocket PC and Palm OS devices, and are glad to have a choice between them.

Why should you consider a Pocket PC?

  • The built-in applications provide both personal information management (PIM) and traditional computing software, such as Pocket Word. The only software I've added to my Pocket PC is my Bible software.
  • Multimedia capabilities are built-in. You can listen to MP3 files, watch videos, and even read e-books without needing to install additional programs.
  • If you use Microsoft Windows, you'll already be familiar with the interface.

Included Software

Screen ShotLike most Pocket PCs, the Jornada 565 includes an impressive suite of built-in applications.

  • Pocket Word
  • Pocket Excel
  • Pocket Internet Explorer
  • Pocket Outlook
    • Inbox
    • Calendar
    • Tasks
    • Contacts
  • Microsoft Reader
  • Microsoft Media Player
  • Microsoft Transcriber (handwriting recognition)
  • MSn Messenger
  • Note Taker
  • Terminal Services Client
  • Voice Recorder
  • OmniSolve Business Calculator
  • Jornada Image Viewer
  • Jornada Emergency Backup
  • Code Wallet Pro
  • Software Drivers:
    • CF Memory Cards
    • Socket CF LAN Cards
    • Socket Modem Cards
    • Stow-Away Keyboard

These applications are stored in ROM, so the RAM on your device is not used to store these programs.

The HP 565 also includes software for your Windows PC.

  • Microsoft ActiveSync
  • Microsoft Outlook 2002
  • MusicMatch Jukebox

Transcriber

One nice feature of the Pocket PC is Transcriber. Transcriber is included with the HP 565, but is also available for other Pocket PC models. Transcriber recognizes your handwriting, and converts it to text. 

Screen Shot Just write on the screen.
Screen Shot And Transcriber will convert it to text in your document!

There are many options that you can tweak to help Transcriber recognize your particular writing style; however, I've found that it works pretty well right out of the box!

Specifications

  • 206MHz StrongArm Processor
  • 32MB Flashable ROM
  • 32MB RAM
  • Additional 8MB Flashable ROM for backup and storage
  • 240 x 320 pixel Color Reflective TFT LCD
  • User-replaceable main battery and backup battery
  • Weighs approximately 6 ounces
  • Removable flip cover
  • Includes USB synchronization cradle and AC adaptor
  • Serial synchronization is available, but it requires a different cable or cradle

The HP Jornada 568 has similar specifications, except it includes 64MB RAM.

Desktop Compatibility

Microsoft's ActiveSync synchronization software (the software that transfers information between your Pocket PC and desktop PC) is available only for Windows. As a result, the Pocket PC is not inherently compatible with the Macintosh.

However, third-party synchronization options are available for Macintosh users. One solution (which I have not tried, since I don't use a Macintosh) is PocketMac. See www.pocketmac.net for details.

Improvements from the 545

I consder the HP 656 to be an upgrade of the 545.  What's different? The HP Jornada 565 uses the new Pocket PC 2002 operating system. This operating system is an incremental improvement of the original Pocket PC. In addition to the improvements in the operating system, the device itself includes improvements over the older 540 series.

  • A reflective color LCD screen is used, similar to the screen used in the Compaq iPaqs. This screen is readable both indoors and outdoors.
  • A joystick navigation pad is now provided. This pad isn't really important, unless you also like to play games on your Pocket PC.
  • The battery is now user-replaceable. Even though the lithium polymer battery doesn't have a "memory", it may still lose its ability to store a complete charge. Since the battery is user-replaceable, if that ever occurs, you only need to replace the battery, not the whole device.
  • The stylus is now stored in the traditional stylus silo, not in the cover.

Conclusion

The HP Jornada 565 is an impressive Pocket PC. The size is comfortable, and when combined with a portable keyboard, it provides a great mobile computer.

Price: $599 (HP currently offers a $50 rebate)

Pros:

  • Comfortable size
  • Color screen can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • Expandable with the built-in CF Slot
  • USB synchronization
  • User-replaceable battery
  • Professional appearance

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Plan on buying a CF memory card to add more memory

For additional information regarding the Jornada Pocket PCs, visit the HP Web site, www.hp.com/jornada.

For additional information regarding the Pocket PC 2002 operating system, visit the Microsoft Web site, www.pocketpc.com

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