The HP iPaq hx2790 picks up where the hx2750 left off and doesn't add any new design features. Built around a sturdy frame and case, it's been designed to take road abuse with rounded corners and protective rubber inserts that offer some extra grip. At 3 by 4.7 by 0.6 inches and 6.4 ounces, the gray and silver device feels good in the hand but is a tad longer and heavier than the similar Dell Axim X51 series. We really like the iPaq's included smoked-plastic screen cover, but it adds half an ounce to the package and doesn't flip all the way over. Alternatively, it makes a cool easel for holding the unit upright if you put it on backward.
Speaking of the screen, the HP iPaq hx2790's 3.5-inch display shows 65,536 colors, but its QVGA (240x320) resolution can't compete with the generation of VGA (480x640) models, such as Dell's Axim X51v, which pump out four times as many pixels. Still, it's bright and rich enough to satisfy most, with easy-to-read text. For those in a hurry, the PDA has four instant-start application buttons just below the screen and a fingerprint reader to help protect data and access to the system. In a month of use, the latter function never yielded to the wrong finger but sometimes balked at opening up for the right one.
For those who like to have their flash memory and use it, this PDA comes equipped with both Secure Digital and CompactFlash expansion slots (located on the top of the device), which accept even the slightly thicker CompactFlash hard drives, such as the IBM or the Hitachi Microdrive modules. A standard headphone jack is next to the card slots, making this PDA a music machine for listening to tunes on the go. Finally, there's a lone voice-record button on the left side. Aside from the aforementioned flip cover, HP packages the hx2790 with an AC adapter and a desktop cradle. More accessories are available for purchase from HP, such as a Bluetooth GPS kit for $329.99 and a snap-on thumb keyboard for $49.99.
Powering the HP iPaq hx2790 is a top-speed 624MHz Intel XScale processor along with 256MB of memory, of which there's 192MB of ROM and 64MB of SDRAM. The device has 144MB available in the fail-safe iPaq File Store. Again, this isn't anything groundbreaking or new in comparison with the HP iPaq hx2750, but that's not to say it's a bad thing, since these components are adequate in getting the job done.