HP iPAQ rx5720 Travel Companion review

Price when reviewed

We’ve seen plenty of GPS PDAs in the Labs, but few are as well designed as the rx5720. Most are a standard PDA with a GPS receiver shoehorned in, but HP has made the rx5720 a satnav first and a PDA second.

HP iPAQ rx5720 Travel Companion review

For a start, the system runs in landscape on the 3.5in 320 x 240 screen rather than in portrait mode. Plus, there are dedicated buttons on the side to quick-launch the navigation software, the media player and to return to the HP quick-launch screen. On the front is a five-way direction pad, plus start menu and cancel buttons.

And rather than simply being a name, the Travel Companion is exactly what it says. HP preloads Travel Assistant, which combines your contacts, calendar and a highly useful WorldMate application. WorldMate has five tabs: world time, weather forecasts, a world map showing daylight hours, a list of worldwide area dialling codes, a currency converter, plus conversion charts for clothing and distances.

Of course, the main ingredient is TomTom Navigator 6. And unlike the older iPAQ hw6515, the rx5720 isn’t limited to a single region – it comes with maps of the UK and Ireland loaded into the 1GB of ROM. There’s also an SDIO slot on top for extra storage.

TomTom remains the best navigation software here, but it’s a shame HP doesn’t include safety camera locations – you’ll have to add them by signing up for a trial of the PLUS service. Navigator’s advanced planning mode is still an incredibly useful feature, which other devices like the Navman lack.

In the box, you’ll find a sturdy windscreen mount and both mains and car chargers – each uses a standard mini-USB cable, which you’ll need when connecting the rx5720 to a PC for synchronising. HP even includes a decent slip case.

Thanks to a 400MHz processor, the rx5720 is responsive both as a PDA or a satnav. We found the GPS receiver wasn’t always quick to get a fix in built-up areas, though, and unlike the Mio there’s no Wi-Fi radio. The Mio comes with full maps of Western Europe, too.

The rx5720 is still a great choice if you don’t need Wi-Fi or European maps, but it can’t quite match the Mio for value.

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