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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 10912x
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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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Posted by farnold on 16.08.02 - 00:00:00

Arne, great part I. I agree, it's a real interesting device. Too bad it won't be available for a wide public. On the other hand, of course the 928 has it's disadvantages as well (no BT built-in, no SD...).

You wrote: 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.

My question there would be how fast a compination like this would drain the power. What's the use it, if the battery life goes down to ... minutes?

Posted by Arne Hess on 16.08.02 - 00:00:00

@farnold: You are right, for sure battery lifetime is the key factor but let me add this two thoughts:

1st: The idea of Bluetooth is to drain the battery not as much as other wireless technologies, like W-LAN, did. Maybe the results of BT are not 100 % satisfied today but I think the Bluetooth SIG is on the right way.
2nd: What I would like to see for sure is a kind of wake-up functionality (which for example the Loox includes) which mean that the BT CF card is disabled until the WDA gets an incoming call. Here I see lot of potential to save battery power and add this service anyhow.

Posted by jl on 16.08.02 - 00:00:00

Hi Arne

Thanks for the great review.  How's the screen and battery life of this 928 versus the XDA.  Thanks.

Posted by Anonymous on 17.08.02 - 00:00:00

PPC is known for fast comsumption of battery. It would be nice if you can let us know how long does the battery last?

Posted by Schwarzi on 17.08.02 - 00:00:00

Nice review indeed, however very poor picture quality. What camera are you using, Arne?

Posted by farnold on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00


Yep, I agree once again. BT is the right direction and on the way. Battery consumption is way better than WiFi or WLan. And as long as you can switch is off, while it's not in use it won't be the battery killer. Even though, I really prefer to use a built-in BT since a card will be another hungry consumer of valuable power. What I wonder about is, why manufacturer knowing this not add a battery to theit BT cards. O did I miss something here?

Posted by Arnold Schwarzeneger on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00

I've personally been using a J-928 for a week now and I am really impressed. The one thing I regret is that in the US we haven't much GSM-coverage.

Posted by Arne Hess on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00

@Schwarzi: I wouldn't say it's a poor quality, compared with other pictures on the net ;-) but you are right, it's not as good as it could be... :-(
Currently I'm using a Canon IXUS 2.1M pixel which is limited in the Macro range and also the Flash isn't good to be used for Macro pictures.
However, I would like to use the Canon EOS system for that kind of pictures.

Unfortunately I have the classic "analogue" EOS 5 "only" which is a fantastic camera but would force me to develop the film first and scanning it later for using it for my reviews on the web.

This would increase the costs of reviews for me and also the time it needs to publish a review wouldn't be acceptable; not for you nor for me as well.
My dream combination would be the following one from Canon:

Camera: EOS D30 Digital SLR Camera
Lens: EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro or the EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 I already own
Speedlite: Macro Ring Lite ML-3 or Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX which would be the killer as this Flash's are designed for Macro photography!

This would be the perfect combination for me but unfortunately the EOS D30 body itself costs around US$ 1.000 at ebay plus the Macro Ring which I'm not able to finance. Maybe you or Canon want to make a donation, I - for myself can not buy it. Not for a site which is still a hobby only and doesn't makes money beside some affiliate links!
Cheers ~ Arne

Posted by Arne Hess on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00

@farnold: Yes you are right. Nothing compared to built in Bluetooth because this would fit best since it is designed for the specific device! I think the key factor why BT card don't come with inbuilt batteries is the question of size. If you take a Socket BT card, I don't think that there is any space to add a battery without increasing the size which wouldn't be acceptable on the other hand. So I think we have to direct our hopes to an increased battery life of Pocket PCs!

Posted by Arne Hess on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00

@"Arnold": Habe die Ehre Arnold; first of all welcome to PPCW.Net. Makes me proud that someone like you is a visitor of PPCW.Net... ;-)
Yes, the Jornada 928 is an impressive device, the only thing which makes me wonder is how do you use the radio part of it in the US? You are right that the GSM coverage in the US isn't the best but the US uses 1900 MHz while the Jornada 928 supports 900/1800 MHz only which means you have no coverage in the US at all!?

Posted by Arne Hess on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00

@jl: Please see the battery comparison here and the screen comparison between the xda and the WDA here.
I feel, that the WDA screen is darker than the xda screen which seems to be brighter. Also the battery standby time isn't such good as the xda standby time!

Posted by Schwarzi on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00


Did not mean to attack you. I cannot donate a Canon to you because I work for Nikon. How about a Coolpix 5700?

Posted by Arne Hess on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00

@Schwarzi: Don't worry, I didn't felt attacked. I just wanted to explain that I'm for sure also not satisfies with the results and wanted to show you my dream combination so far.
I got my first SLR camera from my Dad when I was a young boy and it was a Canon T50. Since that days I earned a lot of experiences with photography including working at "Ilford" on my school holidays (thanks to that guys I was also able to learn how to develop b/w films and developing prints ;-).
So the Canon Ixus was just my first try and experience with the digital photography and while it is a fine camera from the size it has for sure its limitations on the quality side, specially in the macro area... :-(

The Nikon Coolpix 5700 seems to be a fine camera (according to this review: … ix5700.asp) and for sure I also know Nikon. That cameras was always my dream cameras when I was young cause all the press folks used to use Nikon in the 70s and 80s! :-)
If this is a real offer, you can contact me at for sure... ;-) I would be happy to add the Nikon logo to every picture I publish on PPCW.Net in future and add your Nikon ad to PPCW.Net too for sure! ;-)))

Posted by Schwarzi on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00


I will check whether it will be possible indeed and will come back to your on the e-mail you gave here. I am sure we can do something.

Posted by Arne Hess on 18.08.02 - 00:00:00

@Schwarzi: Wow, sounds cool! Any feedback from you is appreciated, a positive one would be better. ;-)
Thanks for your effort anyhow - however the result will looks like!

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