HP iPAQ hw6515 Mobile Messenger

  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good
  • $599.00


  • 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.

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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.


Technology GSM
Application Software Align Screen, Bluetooth Manager, Calculator, Calendar, Clock, ClearType Tuner, Contacts, File Explorer, HP Image Transfer, HP Image Zone for Pocket PC, HP Photosmart camera, HP Profiles, IPAQ Audio, Inbox, Infrared Beaming, Jawbreaker, MMS Composer, Memory, Microsoft Pocket Excel, Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer, Microsoft Pocket Outlook, Microsoft Pocket Word, Notes, Pictures, Power Status, Pocket Excel, Self Test, Solitaire, Pocket Internet Explorer, Tasks, Pocket Word, Terminal Services Client, VPN Client, Voice Recorder, Volume Control, Westtek ClearVue Suite, Windows Media Player 10, iPAQ Backup, iPAQ File Store, iPAQ Wireless
Phone Navigation Buttons joystick
Type smartphone
Band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband)
Phone Form Factor full keyboard
Form Factor Details touch screen
Service Provider not specified, AT&T
Operating System Family Windows Mobile
Operating System Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Pocket PC Phone Edition
Input Device Touch screen, keyboard
Phone Features
Phone Functions Vibrating alert
Messaging & Internet
Cellular Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Clock Speed 312 MHz
Type Intel XScale PXA270, Intel XScale PXA272
Manufacturer Intel
Data Transmission EDGE, GPRS
Wireless Interface Bluetooth, Infrared (IrDA)
Technology TFT transflective
Display Indicators Bluetooth indicator, battery meter
Display Resolution 240 x 240 pixels
Color Depth 16-bit (65000 colors)
Diagonal Size 3 in
Diagonal Size (metric) 7.6 cm
Smartphone Diagonal Size 3 in
Diagonal Size 3.0 in
Native Resolution 240 x 240
Manufacturer Warranty
Service & Support Limited warranty - parts and labor - 1 year
Type Speaker(s)
Still Image Resolutions 1280 x 1024
Media Player
Supported Digital Audio Standards MP3
Digital Audio Formats MP3
Supported Flash Memory Cards miniSD, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card
User Memory 55 MB
Environmental Parameters
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
Input Device
Type Keyboard, Stylus, Touch-screen
Technology Lithium ion
Technology Lithium ion
Digital Camera
Still Image Formats JPEG
Digital Video Formats 3gp
Still Image Resolutions 1280 x 1024
Brand HP
Product Line HP iPAQ
Model hw6510, hw6515a, hw6515
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
CE Input Device
Type keyboard, touch sensitive screen
Phone Functions vibrating alert
Digital Player (Recorder)
Supported Digital Audio Standards MP3
Power Adapter
Type power adapter
Installed Size 64 MB
Technology SDRAM
Flash Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, miniSD
User Memory 55 MB
Optical Sensor
Sensor Resolution 1.3 megapixels
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Full Contract Period 1 year
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty