HP iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger

HP iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger

Summary: HP's iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger is potentially a very useful device for mobile professionals, particularly those needing convenient navigation functionality. But its limited battery life and lack of Wi-Fi are serious drawbacks.

TOPICS: Smartphones, Reviews
  • Editors' rating:
  • User rating:
  • RRP:


  • Mini keyboard is a good example of its type
  • SD and miniSD expansion slots
  • quad-band GSM/GPRS phone, GPS receiver and navigation engine built in


  • Lacks Wi-Fi
  • disappointing battery life
  • GPS navigation system comes with only one free city map
  • non-standard screen size causes software compatibility issues

Combining a Windows Mobile handheld, a GSM/GPRS phone and a GPS receiver in a single device was an inevitable development, and it's no surprise that HP has been the first to achieve this. The company has often pushed the boundaries of handheld hardware design, introducing such features as fingerprint recognition and a touchpad. The £379 (ex. VAT; £445 inc. VAT) iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger is a high-end device that will suit mobile professionals who want to carry the minimum number of devices when on the move.

The iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger's dimensions of 7.1cm wide by 11.8cm deep by 2.1cm high and 165g weight are not particularly remarkable. However, there are several striking design features. For a start, the GPS receiver is completely integrated within the device. We have seen several handhelds with built-in GPS receivers, running both Windows Mobile and Palm OS, but up to now there has always been a visible external antenna.

The hw6515 has a mini-QWERTY keyboard, and above it a strip of buttons provides Call and End keys, shortcuts to the built-in Contacts and Messaging applications (with long press options to launch other applications), and, in the middle, a mini joypad.

The 3in. screen is protected by a smoky-grey plastic shield that lifts up if you need to tap at the screen rather than view it through the shield. The shield is easily removed if you’d rather use a full protective case. The screen itself is square, with a resolution of 240 by 240 pixels -- the first Windows Mobile device with such an aspect ratio.

Elsewhere there's a slot for the rather lightweight stylus on the top right edge, a camera activation button and a volume control on the top left, an infrared port on the bottom left, plus power and 2.5mm headset jacks on the bottom edge.

There are two expansion ports, both on the right-hand side. While it's not unusual for handhelds to support two Flash memory formats, the combination here is unique: an SDIO-compliant SD card slot and a miniSD slot.

The back of our review unit housed a lens for the built-in 1.3 megapixel camera, with the smallest self-portrait mirror we’ve seen and an LED flash. Another model, the iPAQ hw6510 Mobile Messenger lacks the camera and costs £355 (ex. VAT; £417 inc. VAT). A section of the back casing is removable, and underneath it sits the removable Li-ion battery and a slot for your SIM card.

Alongside ActiveSync and Microsoft Outlook 2002, the iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger comes with a stereo headset, an extremely solid belt-clip-style protective case, a docking cradle (which unfortunately has no slot for charging a spare battery), a mains power adapter, a printed quick-start guide and a slightly more in-depth user guide.

The processor behind the iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger is Intel’s PXA270 running at 312MHz -- by no means the most powerful available for a Windows Mobile handheld. Although there is a total of 128MB of memory (64MB of RAM and 64MB of Flash ROM), user-accessible storage is relatively limited. HP says that up to 56MB is free for the user, although after a hard reset our review machine offered 43MB of RAM and a further 11.5MB of Flash ROM -- a total of 54.5MB.

HP touts the iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger as a global communications device. To that end, its integrated GSM phone is quad-band with support for GPRS and -- uniquely for a connected handheld -- EDGE. Bluetooth and infrared are integrated, and of course there's the aforementioned GPS receiver.

A notable absentee is Wi-Fi. This is presumably excluded because of operator concerns about Voice over IP (VoIP) services, and perhaps device bulk, but its absence is a pity. Wi-Fi can be added via SD card, but the resulting protrusion from the right edge of the device will be irritating. Adding Wi-Fi will also put further strain on the battery, which already has plenty to cope with in such a feature-laden device.

HP has augmented the standard Windows Mobile 2003 software suite in several ways. The Today Screen is adorned with power and storage meters, while the ClearVue PDF and Presentations viewers provide useful tools for business users.

The built-in GPS receiver is accompanied by navigation software from TomTom, but unfortunately no maps. To obtain your single free city map, you need to log onto the TomTom Web site and download it. Further maps must be purchased as required.

The 1.3 megapixel camera is capable enough, with a maximum still image resolution of 1,280 by 1,024 pixels, video shooting at up to 352 by 288 resolution and a range of tweaks such as LED flash, a self timer and effects like sepia and negative. For a device aimed at mobile professionals, the user interface for the camera software has a 'consumer' look and feel and, most annoyingly of all, uses only a small segment of the screen's space to frame images.

We found the QWERTY keyboard fine for tapping out short messages such as emails or SMSs but, as is usual with such units, would not want to use it for serious data input. There is no '£' sign, and a number of other symbols are missing, so you’ll have to resort to the Windows Mobile soft keyboard or handwriting recognition on occasions. That said, shortcut keys to the Today screen and for tap-and-hold menus reduce the need to resort to the stylus.

The integrated GPS receiver proved effective. We got an adequate signal sitting by a window in our office, and it retained a connection even in built-up areas. TomTom’s navigation engine was up to its usual high standard as well.

Not surprisingly perhaps, battery life was mediocre. Our usual MP3-looping battery rundown test delivered 4 hours 33 minutes of music and a further 20 minutes of life after playback stopped.

Although we are unhappy about the lack of Wi-Fi and disappointed by its battery life, the hw6515's innovative square screen could prove to be the biggest drawback. Bundled Windows Mobile applications all render well, but we had mixed experiences with third-party software, some of which did not cope with the unusual screen size. No doubt software developers will modify their products in due course, but incompatibilities could prove annoying in the short term.


Dimensions (W x H x D) 71x21x118 mm
Weight 165 g
OS & software
Desktop software Outlook
Operating system Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC, Second Edition, Phone Edition
Software included Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Voice Recorder, Notes, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player 10, Inbox, Microsoft Reader, File Explorer, VPN Client, Infrared Beaming, Volume control; Transcriber, Letter Recognizer, Block Recognizer; iPAQ Wireless, GSM/GPRS Settings Manager, GPS Navigation from TomTom products, HP Profiles, MMS Composer, Bluetooth Manager, iPAQ File Store, iPAQ Backup, HP Photosmart Camera, HP Image Zone for Pocket PC
Synchronisation software ActiveSync
Processor & memory
Processor model Intel XScale PXA270
Clock speed 312 MHz
Internal 64 MB
Display technology transflective TFT
Display size 3 in
Native resolution 240x240 pixels
Docking cradle Yes
Ports USB
Slots MiniSD, SD/MMC (+SDIO)
2G GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Short range infrared, Bluetooth 1.2
GPS technology
GPS receiver yes
Input devices
Keyboard Yes
Navigation button/wheel Yes
Stylus Yes
Touchscreen Yes
Battery type Li-ion
Removable battery yes
Number of batteries 1


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Topics: Smartphones, Reviews

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  • 6.5

    Why go for the HP hw6515 when you have the Garmin iQue M5. Not to say that the HP is bad, but the iQue combines all features found in the HP hw6515, except the keyboard, and is lighter on the pocket. Its navigation system and maps are extremely reliable. The iQue has bluetooth, SD slot, a faster 416MHz proccessor and the battery gives you enough juice throughout your daily life.

    Go Garmin .... GOGOGOGO.
  • 10.0

    I am a user of this one and have GOOD push email installed via the business. Its FANTASTIC! BlackBerry is in trouble.
  • 8.5

    This is very good product. If you don't need wireless. Only problem is that 65xx have 240x240 screen and lot of programs doesn't support this resolution.
  • 10.0

    I've tried the Treo 650, Blackberry 7100g, Audiovox SMT5600 and a few others, and absolutely nothing compares to the HP hw6515. It's the best combo out there today!
  • 6.0

    I purchased one of these devices two months ago, after using Blackberries for years. I find the software OK and full featured, but it has appalling battery life. The GPS system on my device failed after a month and I have returned it to HP, so far they have had the device for a month and have retuned it once in a worse state than when I sent it in for repair. Given that support is a crucial feature for these devices when choosing to roll them out corporately, I cannot recommend this. I am still waiting for the device to be returned! When I had problems with the Blackberry the turnaround was one to three days. It is when products fail that you learn the most and I have not been impressed.
  • 9.0

    It is best in the market.
  • 9.5

    Problems with ActivSync but easy sorted by replacement cradle (Arrived in 2 days)

    This is not a phone hence battery life should not be an issue.
  • 10.0

    I've been stuck with the 6315, then i finally found this amazing phone...i love everything about it..and i recomend it for any gadget lovers!
  • 5.0

    totally unreliable. Have used 3660 and 3950 before, have now given up to use 6515. You never know if it will start again or if the GPS has started and let you down. A hard reset is a must and beware if you have not backed up after every use! I have always used it when travelling but never again - a writepad is better (or my old 3950). The camera is a joke, details in picture depends on focus and pixels. With bad focus the pixels don't matter!
  • 5.5

    To be honest, I loved the HP iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger and all its features (GSP, GSM, Mobile Windows, 2 SD Slots ... etc) but I was blown away! After using it for just 6 months that I have to pay AUD $606.00 to repair what HP claims was a “user error” and that the WATER DETECTOR seal was broken!!! The device costs about $899+$99 (2 years warranty thinking that I was covering all aspects!) And I have to pay $606 to get if fix! EVEN if I refuse the quote I have to pay AUD $66.00!!

    My initial problem was the HP iPAQ mobile restarting (soft boot) itself unexpectedly to many times. I called the HP technical support complaining about the issue. The support personnel tried to have me upgrade the ROM from the www.hp.com.au site. The upgrade procedure failed and I had to send the device to the service centre designated by HP. After 2 weeks I get a quote of $606.00 stating something about WATER DETECTOR SEAL was set off and the “keyboard” + “main board” are damaged!!

    When I spoke to one of the personnel at HP requesting more information and explanation of why I was being quoted that huge about, she stated the "You will be amazed how little water can set the seal off". I explained I do not understand … I called for different problem and NOW you are telling me that I damaged the device … even worst … WATER DAMAGE. When talking to the last lady complaining she was as cold as a WALL. No reaction or a word of solution. It is either you pay $606 or $66 … they are getting the money both ways wether my problem is fixed or NOT.

    Now I am stuck (NO logic of paying $606 … I can just go and buy I new one) I bought accessories and software that cost about AUD $400. I LOST MY TRUST IN SUCH DEVICE to own another similar. Talking to HP technical support is like talking to idiots who are taught to fix a car puncture with a saw.

    Just be aware of how to handle this device...