Review : HP Jornada 545

As this is the first Editorial for the site I thought I would give a quick note to anybody who used to read the old site and are wondering what the hell is going on, Basically we are going to dedicate a section of the site to reviewing things that we get our grubby little hands on. It will be a general review of what the item is and does, sometimes we might go the full stretch and do some snazzy benchmark style tests on things if it would do the review some good (ED: or if we are lacking space filling content =P). On with the first Editorial?

Hewlett Packard Jornada 545

--- Pocket PC ---


Introduction:-
Put your good women in front of the TV for their favourate soap as while they are occupied by that nonsence the boys can play with the toys! And what is better than Toys for Boys? Expensive Toys for Boys! And they dont come more expensive then this handsized (subject to hand size) bundle of joy... The HP Jornada 545! Small, powerful, big colour screen, noisy, black, snazzy, comes with lots of free stuff and has a shiny logo on the front. This small unit gives you, the owner, immense bragging rights and gives you the abilty to attract the attention of every living person in the room, they just cant get enough of what this has to offer.

What this has to offer:-
It plays games, looks after your bank account, connects to the internet (with a modem sold seperatly ofcourse), plays mp3s, plays video clips, feeds the dog and plays games. The latter point being the most important if you are a sucker for expensive toys. Picture this, you are in the waiting room at the doctors waiting for them to tell you that the reason you are getting so many headaches is that you stare at small screens for long periods of time everyday. You are bored, all you have are your thoughts of the doctor will do to you this time. Well no longer will you have to sit twidling the girl next to you's thumbs as now you have the power to sit and play DOPEWARS or Solitaire to take your mind off of things, you can put your headphones (supplied with the Jornada) plug them in and listen to CD quality stero MP3s of your favourate bands and multitask a whole host of games and pr0n websites. Does that not sound great!

Specifications:-
Processor -Hitachi SH3 133MHz

Cpu Cache -1k Data, 4k Code

Rom -16MB

Ram -16MB

Screen (Touch Screen) -LCD Colour Screen (aprox 95mm)

Resolution -240x320

Colours -4096

Expansion Slot -1 x Type I Compact Flash

Connections

Serial Port -115,2 Kbps

IrDA infrared -V1.0

USB -Standard USB connector

Built in Speaker -Mono

Built in Microphone -Mono

Headphone Socket -Stereo
Battery -Li-Ion

Estimated Life -8 Hours (full charge)
USB Docking Cradle -Included

Serial Cable -Included

Power Cable -Included

Stereo Headphones -Included Software:-
Windows CE for PocketPC -Version 3.0.9348 (build 9357)

Pocket Outlook 2000

Pocket Internet Explorer

Pocket Money

Pocket Word

Pocket EXCEL

Pocket Reader

Pocket Streets -(only US maps included)

Pocket Media Player -Version 4.1.0.0127

Active Sync -Version 3.1 (buld 9587)

LandWare OmniSolve

HP Software - Task switcher and Backup

and the usual Windows accessories like calculator and so on...

Connectivity:-

The HP Jornada 545 comes with a USB flavoured cradle which allows great intergration with your USB friendly operating system. Bundled with the Microsoft Active Sync software you can plop your Jornada onto its cradle and behold your Jornada and software will make a nice funny noise at you letting you know that they are ready for you to do your stuff. Like wise if you don't have any of that USB nonsense or you just cant let go of that NT4 install then you can use the Serial provided in the box (Yes it still makes the noise when you plug it in). Once your Jornada and you PC has gotten friendly with each other you can begin enjoying the fun. From here you can Explore the Jornada's inards as if it were a harddrive on your system, it puts itself in the 'My Computer' window for quick access. You can also Add/Remove software in the same mannor as you would on your PC.


The Good:-

As you can see by the stats this is a monster of a Pocket PC, its crisp bright screen is perfectly readable in any light, including pitch black in the cubbord under the stairs and the responsiveness of the touch panel is truely a great example of the superb build quality of the device. Writing on the screen with the pen is great fun as is the not so perfect reconise function that tries really hard to change your scribbly handwriting into a nice typed font of your choice (It may just be my Handwriting that is causing the reconise fuction to change Hello into h31lo, which could be considered Smack talking). This is a very capable system. The battery life of the Jornada 545 is superb, the Specs state around 8 hours life but I think that is only if the unit is on full load as I have had the unit on for longer then that with out charge and the battery level stays above 50%. Now the part you have been waiting for... THE GAMES! they are fantasic, we have great graphics and sound and a very inventive way of playing them, while you cant quite whip out a Keyboard and mouse (although you can buy rather sexy little fold away 102key keyboard) you can set up the buttons on the front and sides to what ever makes you happy, with the HP Game Buttons program included you can have upto a total of 8 buttons. so while you look cool you cant really turn up to a LAN party expecting to whoop ass. If you are going to be writing a lot on one of these then don?t worry about having to have good hand writing as you can click on the little keyboard image on the bottom right of the screen for a keyboard that allows you to just click on the letters you want to use, neat eh?

The Bad:-

I have talked alot about the Good Sides of the Jornada but I think I need to say something about the downsides. First up is the Cost, the Jornada 545 is in no way cheap, be prepared to spend around ?350 for the unit with nothing more than what is listed above, there are a few freebies like the usual Internet software (Instant messenger) but nothing really worth mentioning, in saying that the software that comes with it (mostly the Microsoft stuff) is great and does everything it says on the box. The other major downside of the 545 can luckly be sorted out unluckly though more pain to your wallet. The 16MB memory may seem like enough to start with but as soon as you start hitting the websites for software to download it starts filling up rather quickly and if you are hopeing to get more then one good quality MP3 on there then you will have to sacrifice pretty much all other software. The storage issue can be resolved by the perchase of a small Compact Flash Card which fits snuggly into the TYPE I slot in the top of Jornada.

The Other:-

I have had it to play with for a whole week and I can honestly say it was money well spent as I can jot down notes of things to do and make sure that I am informed of important dates minutes/hours/days/weeks/months in advance, I would say it has changed my life but aside from being sooo cliche it is far to soon to start spouting that drivel. Spooky has had his one one for a good couple of months and would have written this review if it had not been for the fact that he blew his one up (LOL), in saying that though it does bring up a very good point, the after sales service, as anybody who has delt with HP before knows that their customer support is top notch and the day after Spookys phone call to them they had someone collecting the poor broken Jornada the very next morning Free of charge, So no worries there then.


In closing I would just like to say aside from the rather high prive tag and the initial lack of storage space this is one of the greatest toys I have had to play with for quite some time, if you have the spare £350 lying around waiting to be spent then nip out and grab one now.

Im off to play Dopewars for a few hours....

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