iPaq a solid, easy-to-use tool

Why buy an ocean liner if all you need is a rowboat? That's the philosophy behind the iPaq.

Compaq's new iPaq is a simple, inexpensive box dedicated to working on the Internet. It's an easy-to-manage product that avoids most of the compatibility issues of desktop systems.

The iPaq is available in standard and legacy-free systems. The standard unit offers ports for parallel, serial and PS/2 connections. The legacy-free system relies solely upon the faster and more versatile Universal Serial Bus ports.

With either unit, you have a choice of Intel Corp.'s 500 MHz Pentium III processor or 500 MHz Celeron processor. Although those aren't the fastest processors on the market, they are inexpensive while offering plenty of power for running office applications such as Microsoft Corp.'s Word and Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes. (The iPaq scored an 86 on the Business Applications Performance Co. SYSmark 2000 benchmark, which is not bad for a 500 MHz Celeron system.)

We reviewed the iPaq standard, which shipped with the 500 MHz Celeron processor, 128M of memory, an 8.4G hard drive, integrated 3-D graphics, integrated AC97 audio, a CD-ROM drive, a PS/2 scroll mouse, an EasyAccess PS/2 keyboard, a 17-inch CRT monitor and Windows 2000.

Administrators will like the quick setup of those systems, requiring only a few minutes. End users will appreciate the EasyAccess keyboard, which features programmable buttons to access favorite World Wide Web sites.

And information technology managers will appreciate the iPaq's manageability. Setting up the iPaq for network use was a breeze. It's also easy for administrators to remove and replace hard drives, but a case key lock on the back of the system prevents end users from accessing add-in cards and other internal components.

Compaq is offering three new tools to help administrators transfer users' customized desktop, network and application settings from any PC to a Compaq PC, including the iPaq. The new intelligent manageability tools are from Altiris Software Inc.: Altiris Express, Altiris PC Transplant Pro and Altiris PC Transplant. The tools were designed to work with existing tools for deploying and managing software. The Altiris Express and PC Transplant Pro are available for a free 30-day trial on each new Compaq business PC. Altiris PC Transplant is available for free.

Overall, the iPaq is a good basic system. Agencies that are looking to keep costs down while gaining simplicity in systems management should consider the iPaq as a viable alternative to the typical desktop PC.


ipaq standard

Score: B+

Compaq Computer Corp.

(800) 727-5472


Price and availability: Available on the open market for $919 without amonitor.

Remarks: The iPaq is an easy-to-manage PC with a great look and feel.

BY Lisa L. McNair
July 26, 2000

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