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Reviewed : HP rx5900 PDA
Posté le 05 octobre 2006 à 00:11:29 par gpspassion.

1.HP rx5900 GPS PDA - Fast and Autonomous

February 9th, 2007
HP have made a GPS firmware upgrade available - see >> PAGE 2 << for more details.

First SiRFIII GPS PDA for HP - Fast and Autonomous

The rx5900 offers a good grip, seen above is the quick launch menu

Seen under all angles - many hardware buttons on hand
and external GPS antenna in the the standard MCX format

A powerful 1700mAh is on board and provides the record battery life of 6h20' on a GPS PDA

On the road - it comes with a custom car holder

Compared to other GPS enabled devices :
Mio A701, Mio H610, Garmin nüvi, TomTom ONE v2

HP rx5900, Mio A701 and nüvi 300

The HP rx5900 is HP's first GPS PDA and unlike the hw6500 and hw6900 GPS PDAPhones that relied on a Globallocate A-GPS enabled chipset, it uses a standard SiRFstarIII platform without Assisted GPS but with more correlation power. The rx5915 adds WiFi to the rx5900 that is already Bluetooth. This review is based on a late prototype so it is possible that performance will be tweaked by the time it is released, something we will revisit if need be. As always, feel free to use the forums if you have questions or comments.

  1. No surprise on the PDA side : a full Windows Mobile 5.0 with an additional simplified welcome menu (quicklaunch) for quick access to the main features, inclusion of the worldmate software for travellers, speedy operation thanks to the Samsung CPU clocked at 400Mhz as on the Eten G500, 3.5" screen with a 320x240 resolution, 2Gb flash memory, Bluetooth, SD memory port, multiple programmable buttons (including one for portrait/landscape rotation), the slightly concave side has a pleasant "rubbery" feel for a good grip and as seen in the pictures above it is very thin.

  2. Record Battery Life : a good surprise under the back cover with the largest Li-Ion battery I have seen to date on a PDA with a rating of 1700mAh, compared to 1250mAh on the HTC Artemis, 1320mAh on the Mio A701 or 1200mAh on the HP hw6915. In my standard testing procedure (full backlight, active GPS, static position), battery life came out at a record 380 minutes versus 300 on the Mio A701, 270 on the Eten G500 or 293 on the Asus A636. This is a big bonus as you generally don't feel comfortable being away from a power outlet for too long with most GPS PDAs.

  3. SiRFstarIII - Firmware and Settings : the rx5900 is the first GPS PDA to use the latest v3.2 SiRFstarIII firmware something we will come back to below. Settings are quite standard with SBAS off by default, but I was disappointed to find "Static Navigation" (SN) to be activated, which will make using the rx5900 problematic, as SN freezes the position and direction at low speed to avoid jumps that are annoying when you're waiting and stopped at a red light in an urban environment. All the more so since TomTom Navigator 6 has an enhanced pedestrian mode that works very well when SN is not active. There are tools to disable SN (see this guide) but it's unlikely the casual user will come across them.

  4. GPS Performance : once the fix had been acquired, I found the rx5900's tracking to be very accurate, significantly better than the hw6915's tracking as seen below and on par with that of the reference Globalsat BT-338 and BT-359 Bluetooth GPS receivers in spite of the lower signal level (see below), something we can likely thank the latest v3.2 firmware for.

    The rx5900 offers accurate tracking

    Unfortunately, I found the cold fix (acquiring the position after being turned off for about 4 hours - more details here) to be longer than on the other systems being tested and looking at the signal analysis below gives the answer, it is due to the lower satellite signal level available for the chipset to work with. It is significantly lower than on the BT-338 and BT-359, therefore making the downloading of the ephemeris data (required every 4 hours) more difficult and slower. This is the logical consequence of shrinking the antennas to integrate them inside the PDA. This has been especially problematic on the HTC Galaxy/i-Mate PDA-N, Qtek G100, a bit less on the Loox N5x0, while the Mio A701 and P350/P550's have been less affected. Connected PDAs can rely on A-GPS (downloading ephemeris data over the internet) and the others have the option to add an external patch antenna, which is obviously not very good news for a mobile device. Still, depending on your usage pattern, typically in dense urban environments, it will be an option to consider though to get a quick fix.

  5. GPS Software Compatibility : the rx5900 comes preloaded with TomTom Navigator v6.1 that felt even faster than usual, be it the menus, map scrolling or trip calculations (14 seconds to calculate a 600 mile Paris->Menton trip, versus 21 seconds on the Mio A701), likely the powerful Samsung CPU at work. GPS utilities like VisualGPS CE ran fine too.

  6. Compatibilité with other PDA software : no particular problem, my favorite applications were up and running in a snap, RescoExplorer, xBar, SPB Plus, ScreenshotCE, nPop, etc...

    FINAL WORDS : HP's first GPS PDA comes out a winner both on the hardware side with a compact and light design, a record battery life, convenient buttons and on the software side with a quicklaunch menu and a speedy implementation of the easy to use TomTom Navigator 6. On the negative side, the lower GPS sensitivity due to the form factor constraints will make for slower fixes in difficult environments, but an external antenna can be used if need be, unless HP add an offline A-GPS implementation (via ActiveSync) like on the TomTom GOx10's.

    Looking back at 2001 with the first iPaq 3660 that opened the way for GPS assisted navigation on mobile platforms...with an external jacket for memory, an mouse GPS,'s hard to believe how far we've come! Availability and pricing to be announced.

    If you have questions or comments, you can use this thread of the forums

  2. GPS v3.2.2 Firmware Upgrade - Analyzed >>

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