HP can be credited with bringing keyboards to the PocketPC: many (if not most) of their smartphone devices either had integrated keyboards or could be expanded with clip-on ones. The Data Messenger marks HP’s entry into slide-out keyboard devices…but can it stack up?
The device’s front is dominated by the large touchscreen and a variety of buttons: while the calling buttons are physical, all others are “capacitive” and don’t handle particularly well. The five-way is optical except for the center button…and isn’t too responsive either:
Typing on the Data Messenger is extremely uncomfortable. Keys can not be distinguished haptically, have poor pressure points, are flat and way to close to one another. I found myself frequently hitting wrong buttons even after a nice bit of practice…even though the XPERIA X1’s keyboard is far from perfect, it is significantly better:
I haven’t seen a good stylus for quite some time – the Data Messenger’s double-telescopic one is not too good either (next to the toothpick found on the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1):
Camera button, MicroUSB port and 2.5” headphone jack are on the right side of the device. Don’t ask me what HP’s designers were drinking when thez decided to put the headphone jack under a flap lid though:
HP has shown an annoying tendency to play around with the keyboards of their handsets – while many of their concepts turn out to be revolutionary, HP’s incarnation usually suffers from usability problems. This time, however, HPs decision is nothing short of bone-headed…the Data Messenger’s keyboard is among the worst on the market. As such a box gets bought for data input, the horrible keyboard eliminates the device’s reason-d-etre…
Tune in soon for a look at the device’s display, camera and software package!