Jornada 720 Review
In Hewlett Packard’s long line of “Jornada” PDA’s, the Jornada 720 is one of the newest to hit the market. Successor to the 690, the 720 is HP’s answer to the Pocket PC OS. The main difference between the 690 and the 720 is the 720’s new Handheld PC 2000 Operating System. Together with a stereo speaker output, the Jornada 720 falls in place as the top Handheld PC on the market today.
Editors Note: This review is from the perspective of a consumer purchasing the Jornada 720. There are many useful features that are designed for business users such as the Terminal Server Client, Smart Card Reader, and Chai VM.
*(Note: The 720’s form factor is very similar to that of the 690. Before reading this review, check out my review
of the 690)
Finally, Hewlett Packard has answered the complaints of thousands
of frustrated 690 owners and fixed the compact flash slot!
What was once a clumsy mess of latches is now a smooth and level
foundation. I liked the fact
that the backup battery is also housed in the compact flash casing.
The underside of the machine also houses the stereo speaker.
I was a bit disappointed about the placement of the speaker, since
the sound is drastically muffled when put on a desk.
Of course using headphones easily solves this problem.
The front end of the Jornada contains the classic stylus silo and
microphone controllers. One
improvement that I thought HP should have corrected is the “loose”
top. Other HPC’s have a
latch that connects to the bottom of the machine to ensure that the unit
doesn’t pop up on its own, but the Jornada is only weighted down.
I haven’t had problems with it coming up, but there must be
long-time Jornada users out there who have experienced this predicament. I
am also confused as to why the alarm light on the unit is press able.
If anyone knows the function of the button itself, please feel free
to drop me an email to explain. The
keyboard, like the 690 is a little small for some.
I had little to no mistakes when typing on the machine, I actually
enjoyed the tiny little keys. Other
than a few cosmetic changes on the underbelly of the HPC, it’s pretty
much the same as the 690.
HP gives the user a choice of whether to use USB or a Serial
connector to sync their Jornada 720 with.
Unfortunately, only a serial cable was provided by HP, so make a
trip to Fry’s and pick up a USB connector cable.
It will definitely be worth the time and money, since USB transfers
MUCH faster than serial.
The battery life seems to be about the same as the 690, give or
take an hour of usage. In the
world of PDA’s, a long battery life is essential.
Who hasn’t experienced the horror of a “battery low” sign
come up on the screen at a crucial time during the day? The average life
of the battery with standard usage is around 9 hours.
I mentioned in my review of the Jornada 690 that the battery lasted
for “8 hours and more.” They’re
both about the same, even though HP claims the life is a bit longer.
One significant change to the unit from the J690 is the speed.
The 690 contained a 133 MHz 32-bit Hitachi SH3 processor, while the
new 720 runs a 206 MHz 32-bit StrongARM SA1110 processor.
I could see a significant improvement in speed, especially when
changing applications. Waiting
is not an issue with the Jornada 720.
The 6.5 inch color LCD display screen is able to show 65,536
colors. (Let’s hope HP is for sure this time.)
As always, the screen was quite impressive, with shortcut keys to
preferences on the side of the screen.
The HP website
says that it is capable of displaying 2d graphics, but I have yet to
download and install a program which takes advantage of it.
As always, reading the screen outside in daylight is almost
The stereo output on the J720 is ASTOUNDING compared to the
terrible speaker (if you can even call it that) on the J690.
I could barely make out my voice, much less an mp3 on the 690, but
with this new unit, any type of audio is possible.
Stereo output through the headphones sound excellent, 128k/sec.
Of course I wish that the volume could go up a bit higher, but
that’s probably just me being odd.
Handheld PC 2000 OS
The new WinCe2000 OS is actually quite impressive.
It was originally designed to keep up with the Pocket PC OS, and
it’s obvious from looking at some of the applications included.
HP Viewer has changed a bit from the original on the 690, and a
Windows Media Player is also included for listening to your favorite
Mp3’s. I was hoping to have
a chance to test out a .mpeg player on it, but Pocket TV has yet to make
their software available for the new OS.
The trial version of Sierra Imaging Software also works like a
charm. HP Dialup was
reformatted for the updated OS, and it’s much easier to modify or create
a new location with the latest layout. Having problems setting up an email
account? Email me.
List priced at $999, it might be a little steep for some.
Honestly, I believe spending $900 on a Handheld PC is ridiculous,
but hey, if you need it you need it.
Overall the machine is an excellent unit, jam-packed with all sorts
of new adjustments, mainly to the OS.
Significant improvements in the stereo speaker were also big
3 Out of 5 Stars ***
Questions or comments? Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] PC FAQ