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  • Greetings and welcome to an LGR thing! And today's thing is the Hewlett-Packard

  • iPAQ RX1950 PDA, released in September of 2005 for an asking price of $299.

  • More specifically though this is a brand new in box, still sealed example of the rather

  • special model known as the RX1955! Well okay, calling it "special" is a bit of an

  • exaggeration here. What I mean is that it holds special meaning to *ME* being that

  • it was my first PDA, or personal digital assistant. The only real difference

  • between the RX1950 and 1955 is that the former was sold on a corporate market

  • and the latter was sold at retail. And speaking of retail, PDAs were at the

  • height of their popularity in the mid 2000s and I'd had my mind set on getting

  • one for years by 2005. This one stood out to me for several reasons back then but

  • let's get to some context first. I was 19 years old in 2005, just starting

  • college, and found myself working odd jobs all over town. The main things I

  • wanted to do were take notes, listen to MP3s, browse the web through Wi-Fi, and of

  • course I wanted to play some games while not smiling. Nowadays it's easy enough to

  • just grab a tablet or a smartphone and be done with it but back then, nah man.

  • Tablets were way too expensive and cumbersome and my cell phone was one of

  • these beauties: an LG VX6100. Not exactly a productivity powerhouse with its

  • resolution of 96 x 64. But hey it had a VGA camera, that was neat! So with my

  • needs in mind and the technology available, my two real options in 2005 were

  • a laptop or a PDA. And while a laptop fit most of my needs I didn't really have

  • the money to get the ones I wanted and the idea of hauling something that large

  • to class in my already stuffed backpack was not appealing. So that led me to the

  • iPAQ RX1955, which at the time was one of HP's entry-level PDAs. They had a

  • whole range of iPAQ devices back then and to be honest, I found most of them

  • pretty ugly. But not the RX1955. Right on the front of the box you can see why I

  • chose this model: not only did it look sleek and stylish but it had

  • built-in Wi-Fi, ran Windows Mobile 5, and featured SDIO card expandability.

  • These were three things I had almost no experience with at that point and I was

  • highly intrigued by the possibilities of being able to put my files and MP3s on

  • an SD card and mess around with all that kind of stuff. But also with Windows

  • Mobile and the whole Pocket PC ecosystem, and using Windows with a touchscreen was

  • super appealing to me at the time. And hey check out that Samsung logo on the

  • box, what's that about? Well the RX1950 series made use of a

  • 300 megahertz Samsung SC32442, which was a 32-bit multi stacked package,

  • based on the ARM920T core, that integrated a wide array of CPU, memory,

  • and I/O functions into a single chip 14 millimeters across. The result was that

  • it may not have been the fastest chip of its day but it was relatively cheap and

  • drew little power. Enough technical details for the moment, it's time to

  • break that seal after it's languished in some overstocked warehouse for 13 years!

  • [satisfying yet soft box-cutting noises]

  • Oh yeah, this is exciting! I sold off my original rRX1955 forever ago so I

  • haven't seen this stuff in ages! Atop the first layer of packaging is the

  • documentation, shrink-wrapped for your protection, as well as this informative

  • quick start guide on the underside of the box lid, and an equally informative

  • but less necessary section on the front advertising several of the optional

  • accessories you could buy from HP. And on the second layer down you get a neat

  • little tray holding the iPAQ itself and, man. Just holding this again

  • immediately brings back memories. Although it seems a bit smaller than I remember

  • somehow, but actually that's probably just because I'm used to using

  • gargantuan 7-inch smartphones these days. Next you get the USB sync and charging

  • cable, the power adapter, the battery, and a simple fabric carrying case. Let's go

  • ahead and open up that documentation bundle before going further though,

  • starting with the manual that looks more substantial than it really is. There are

  • only about 45 pages of it per language and most of what it contains can be

  • learned just by using the device and its built-in tutorials. You also receive a

  • "Getting Started CD," which contains the software to sync it with a Windows PC

  • and all that kind of stuff. You also get another ad for more HP products and

  • accessories, including some lovely-looking leather cases that I still kind of want.

  • As well as some information on warranties and end-user license

  • agreements that I, of course, absolutely read cover to cover. And hey look, another

  • ad, this one for audible.com. Nyeh-heh, yeah not sponsored. Man they just have not let

  • off the gas have they? And yes that free month still applies

  • but only because they've never stopped giving away free months to anything that

  • moves. And hey look, yet another ad, this time for Smartphone and Pocket PC

  • Magazine. Yeah they must have just rebranded it when they printed this,

  • I remember when it was just called Pocket PC Magazine for a while. Well enough of that,

  • time for some plastic peeling perfection!

  • [crinkly, sticky, plastic-removal sounds]

  • Ah that feels right. And because I can't wait to play with this again let's just

  • plug in the battery and see if it works.

  • [battery insertion noises commence, suspense rising in anticipation of its first power-on]

  • It does! Although it'll certainly need some charging still, though the battery

  • held enough juice all this time to get through the initial setup. Stuff like

  • calibrating the touch screen and setting the time of day. Sweet. So to get this

  • thing charged up using the wall adapter we'll need both that and the Active Sync

  • cable because there's nowhere to plug this in directly from the wall to the

  • iPAQ. That goes in the bottom there and then this whole thing plugs into the

  • PDA. You *can* also charge it directly through USB with a newer third-party

  • cable, but from the factory you did need both cables combined to get power.

  • This was pretty normal for PDAs like this. On the top from left to right you get a

  • three-and-a-half millimeter headphone jack, a spot to plug in SD or MMC cards,

  • and a spot to store your stylus, which is pretty necessary. This doesn't have a

  • capacitive touchscreen, you will be pressing down to get things to work.

  • And I always kind of liked how it has this fake SD card, I guess to keep the slot

  • from getting dirt and crap in there. And instead of putting a little protector on

  • top they were just like, "here's a blank piece of plastic to put in there."

  • So turning it on is as simple as pressing the 'on' button. And you get these two LEDs up at

  • the top: the left one is the Wi-Fi indicator and the right one shows if

  • it's charging or needs charging. And on the bottom you get some physical buttons.

  • Mostly they're for shortcuts to applications, but by

  • default holding down this one actually changes the screen orientation from

  • portrait to landscape mode, a handy little thing indeed since this doesn't

  • have any accelerometers or anything to do that automatically. Along the right

  • hand side here you'll see this little silver switch which is for opening the

  • battery bay. That's really all that does. On the left-hand side you'll see this

  • little cassette tape symbol beside this button here, and pressing that

  • immediately opens up the voice recording mode. And yes this does have a microphone built-in.

  • [low quality recoding plays back] "This is a direct recording from the iPAQ. Not the greatest microphone

  • I've ever heard, but not the worst either." Along the bottom is where you plug in

  • your Active Sync cable and you also get this little port here for IrDA. This is

  • the infrared interface so if you had any software that, say, acted as a virtual

  • remote control you can actually control your TV, your A/V receiver, anything with

  • infrared that can be programmed. And you could use your PDA as a smart remote

  • which was pretty awesome in 2005. Okay so let's dive into the interface, and really

  • the Windows Mobile Pocket PC experience for a bit, because this is not only

  • something that intrigued me a whole lot nearly 2000s but it really kind of still

  • does. I enjoy seeing Windows crammed into a smaller environment like this and

  • comparing it to the desktop experience. I mean, you still get a Start Menu, you

  • still have a control panel full of all the settings that you would expect.

  • In fact, some things that you might *not* expect,

  • depending on your expectations. Like the ability to remap every single one of the

  • buttons on this thing, except for the power button of course. So if you want to

  • swap anything to pretty much anything else, yeah, you can do that. You can make a

  • dedicated Solitaire button if you want to, doesn't matter, it lets you do it. This is

  • also where you can apply all sorts of battery-saving options, brightness

  • settings, things like that. Although due to the hardware that this uses, like I

  • mentioned earlier, the battery life is really good. At least on a fresh battery

  • back in the day, you could get over 9 even up to 10 hours of battery life

  • depending on what you're doing. In my experience, this older battery, it only

  • holds about three or four hours but still not terrible considering this is a

  • 1,100 mAH battery from 2005. Something that is not so cool though

  • about the RX1955 is the memory situation.

  • It came with a 64 megabyte ROM as well as 32 megs of SDRAM. But yeah it

  • doesn't leave you with a whole lot, so having a half-decent SD card in there is

  • absolutely a requirement as far as I'm concerned. And again if you're familiar

  • with the Windows environment and navigating all that kind of stuff then

  • the File Explorer acts very much like Windows Explorer. And you have plenty of

  • familiar folders like My Documents, Program Files, Temp, and Windows. And any

  • SD or MMC cards that you insert will show up as a folder in here. As for

  • all the applications that came on the 1955 it's pretty much your generic PDA

  • type stuff. You get a calendar for doing calendar-scheduling things, you get a

  • contacts list for adding contacts to your list, mostly for email because this

  • is not a smartphone -- you can't call anyone or text anyone. But if you wanted

  • to communicate in some way, either directly to another iPAQ or over the

  • Internet, you can do that. You also get a calculator for doing very specific

  • calculations, and then you have Pocket MSN. And I actually did use this back in

  • the day for a little bit because I had Hotmail at one point. You also get a

  • Notes app where you can handwrite in your own notes here. And yes it does have

  • handwriting recognition which actually it was pretty accurate, I was always

  • impressed with how well that it handled my sloppy handwriting. This version of

  • Windows Mobile 5 also came with some pretty basic Microsoft Office suite

  • programs, such as PowerPoint Mobile which doesn't actually let you create

  • powerpoints, but if you had any that you put on your SD card then you could view

  • them. And you also got Word Mobile, which is an incredibly simple word processor.

  • And that was fine although typing on this little tiny screen is

  • just not something you wanted to do, especially in my case. I was at school,

  • I wanted to use this thing for taking notes in class, and I did. But usually I

  • would just write it in the Notes app. Or what I did is actually got one of those

  • fold-out keyboards. I don't have that anymore but it would plug in the Active

  • Sync thing and kind of created a little cradle situation. But yeah, don't expect

  • a whole lot in terms of customization or formatting of your documents, you get a

  • grand total of two fonts: Tahoma or Courier New. That's it, no Word Art

  • here. But hey, no Clippy either so you take your wins where you can get them.

  • Even more limited though is Excel Mobile. I can't imagine

  • anyone ever did any kind of serious work with spreadsheets on this little screen.

  • I would hate to actually make a substantial spreadsheet on this. It's

  • okay for doing edits to existing ones I suppose. Now let's get to some of the

  • more enjoyable, fun applications like Windows Media Player, which of course

  • lets you play media like MP3s and WMA files.