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REVIEW: HP Jornada 928 WDA Part 1 - The Hardware
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 15.08.02 - 20:11:00 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 12922x
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The first part of the PPCW.Net HP Jornada 928 WDA (Wireless Digital Assistant) review is about the hardware only. How does it looks and feels in the and what's up with the expansion possibilities?

The HP Jornada 928 WDA is one of only two available Pocket PC Phone Edition devices today (if I count the T-Mobile and the o2 Pocket PCs as one cause all three devices come from HTC), but it's the only one with 64 MB RAM. This might makes the WDA more interesting than the 32 MB RAM HTC device. Unfortunately the HP 928 is available right now in UK only through Vodafone but will be also offered by Orange later.

Because the HP 928 is more or less unique, I will give the design and features a closer view first while I'll review the software with a separate review later.

The WDA - compared to other Pocket PCs

As you can see above, the WDA is the hugest device but is only slightly longer than the HP 565 or FSC Loox. However, compared to the HTC (Wallaby) it's bigger. The comparison between the HP WDA and the 565 is important as it shows you that accessories like the clip-on keyboard will not work because of the size!

The WDA is as bulky as the Wallaby and the Loox. But while the Wallaby includes a SD slot only, the WDA has a CF Type I slot. An interesting design feature is the fold-away antenna which let the WDA better fit into pockets and makes it overall not longer than the Wallaby.

The WDA and its Details

Like all previous Jornadas, also the WDA has a cover. This is an active cover which mean it switch the screen on and off. This is pretty handy because you will not forget to switch off the screen. Also an excellent idea is the additional LCD screen on the top which gives you the network status incl. signal strength, GPRS coverage and the name/phone number of any inbound calls, even if you have closed the cover. While the cover also protects all buttons on the front side, the phone related buttons will stay available on top. This lets you receive calls without opening the cover.

Pretty useful is the CF card slot on the top. Like on other Jornada models, it's a CF Type I slot only but most cards will fit anyhow. So you can power up your WDA with additional storage cards but can use also I/O cards like GPS receivers or video cards like Margi Present-to-Go.
On the right picture you can see - below the external antenna - an antenna plug which let you connect the WDA with a external antenna to be used in cars. That's fine, even if HP doesn't offer a car cit for the 928 and I've never heard about anything into this direction. However it shows me that HP really tried to built a cell phone comparable device with the their wireless Jornada.

The WDA includes 2 batteries, one built-in and one removable. The removable was designed to be replaced through a extended battery. If this battery will be ever released is questionable but anyway - at least you could buy a second battery. Interesting is that the Pocket PC as well as the phone module works if you remove the battery. This means that you could switch the batteries even during phone calls.
Below the battery, HP built in the SIM card holder. Nothing fancy here, it's the one we know from many other cellular phones.

A little bit annoying is the stylus. It's more that kind of flat Jornada 545 kind stylus, not the round one as it is used for the Jornada 565. Also it's a little bit to light and to short to hold it in the hand.

The included stereo headset can be used for general Pocket PC audio as well as for Phone Edition vice calls. Unfortunately it doesn't include any volume slider nor it include a button to accept incoming voice calls, so you have to take out the WDA out of the pocket to accept a call or adjusting the volume.
Beside using the headset you can also hold the WDA like a typical cell phone to your ear (with the closed cover for sure) or use it in the loudspeaker mode without the headset.
To enable it for typical cell phone use, HP insert the speaker on the top of the device, above the LCD screen and the microphone on the bottom. That's also the reason, thy the cover has the plackets on the lower right corner.

Final Conclusion Part 1

If you like the Jornada series in general, you will love the Jornada 928 for sure. It is a typical Jornada plus the features of Microsoft's Phone Edition. I like the whole fit and such nice features like the additional LCD display. It provides you a fast overview of all wireless information and also the buttons for the phone use are useful. So the red "call end" button can also be used to switch on/off the radio. Pretty useful if you want to switch off your phone fast, for example if you enter the aircraft.
Also the active cover is more than useful and something I hoped to see before with other Jornadas. Because a Phone Edition never switch's off completely (until you switch off the radio module too) this is pretty convenient. Just by opening the cover, the screen turns on and vice versa. Also the battery concept is the right one. Adding two batteries to a device like a Wireless Pocket PC gives you the full flexibility to stay online, even if one battery is empty.

A little bit annoying are the speaker/headset capabilities. While the WDA doesn't feels as good if you hold it to your ear (doesn't feel so ergonomic) it's also not loud enough. Here the Jornada has some weaknesses and also the included headset has some. Because it doesn't has the button to accept incoming calls, you have to pull out the Jornada out of the pocket and while you have it out, you can adjust the volume because you can not change it on the headset.
I wonder if - if a Bluetooth CF card supports the headset profile anytime - that Bluetooth card could be used together with a Bluetooth headset;, this would be for sure the best way to make voice calls with the 928 WDA.

All together the design and features of the WDA are very felicitous and I still like it. However, with its weaknesses on the voice side, I see the WDA more as the data centric device than a replacement for cell phones. A real advantage are the 64 MB of RAM! This makes it at least so unique und useful. You have enough space to store documents and additional applications!

REVIEW: HP Jornada 928 WDA Part 2 - The Device

Cheers ~ Arne


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