PinePhone with keyboard


ClockworkCoder

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IMG_20220111_135318.jpg
 

ClockworkCoder

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Conratulations!

What does it remind to? Psion-series? HTC WinMob ? Or :- ?)
It's not quite as good (not quite the same quality, and the space button can be slightly sloppy, depending on the angle you press it from), but the general feel is similar to my old ThinkPad (x220). I definitely like it.
 
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Git1

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I'm a little confused, will this charge the battery in a non-Pro?
 

ClockworkCoder

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I'm a little confused, will this charge the battery in a non-Pro?
Yes, it does, although depending on what distro you have installed it may not be so obvious (I wish there was an indicator led on the keyboard part).

You also need to make sure that it's firmly seated in place. It's quite easy for the pogo pins to not make good contact.
 

Git1

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Yes, it does
Awesome, thanks.
Looks like l'll be getting one. :)

Not sure why they wrote it like this:
USB-C for charging, capable of powering the case and PinePhone (Pro)

So will it also extend the battery life of the phone when not connected to an external charger? That would be awesome.
 

ClockworkCoder

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Awesome, thanks.
Looks like l'll be getting one. :)

Not sure why they wrote it like this:


So will it also extend the battery life of the phone when not connected to an external charger? That would be awesome.
It triples the effective battery life.

Just also be aware that you should "never" plug your phone's usb in for charging while the keyboard case is installed. I did, briefly, without realising, and it doesn't seem to done any harm (I did plug it into my laptop), but something to be conscious of.
 

SAS

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Well, after couple of weeks with the hardware keyboard attachment to the PinePhone (PPkbd) – here are some impressions and musings.


First – briefly – about my usage scenario. The main reasons I want a hw kbd for my ‘always on, always connected’ device are:
* instant messaging communication Mainly with family members through my XMPP server, but sometimes through other services like Discord, or Google-messaging-client-whatever-named-this-quarter via browser (no notifications needed);

* e-mail correspondence;

* notes – mainly markdown notes synced via NextCloud. Or maybe occasional draft in a WordPress site.


Currently, I am using BlackBerry Priv. Despite of not having root – it works quite OK as a messaging device. Plus, I can utilize it for common tasks like music playing / RSS reader / browsing / remote control / sporadic phone call / etc, that are OK without hw kbd.

So, on this basis, how does PPkbd compare?

* PPkbd is bulky. Not just thick. It is large in all dimensions. Here are pictures comparing PPkbd with Priv, with Priv and GPD MicroPC (mPC) and Treo 680 (my daily driver as a PDA), and PPkbd with Priv and Nokia N900 (my ideal for ‘pocket computer’). PPkbd is comparable with the GPD mPC and is much larger than any of the other (not-so-thin) gadgets. I still consider it a handheld device – but definitely not ‘pocket’-able.

01-PP&Priv-thickness.jpg


02-PP&GPD_mPC&Priv&T680-thickness.jpg


03-PP&Priv&N900-thickness.jpg

* no notifications / notification light in ‘carry-me-around’ position. My main problem with PPkbd is that there is no easy way to know if there are new notifications, something that requires attention. Do I have new XMPP messages? Or new e-mail? No way to know without opening the clamshell.

04-PP&Priv-notifications.jpg


* lack of ‘home screen’ / ‘desktop’. My next major issue – it feels more like ‘Linux-on-mobile’ thing – is that (at least with Mobian) there is no way to use information on the home screen. On the Priv I have a widgets for selected text notes, for e-mails, for list of calendar events, shortcuts for IM with favorite contacts, etc. With Mobian – only a list of applications (yes, I remember which mobile OS had the same approach for years ;) Still – this reduces the usability of PPkbd for me.

05-Priv_home_screen.jpg


06-PP_home_screen.jpg

* shallow keyboard The keyboard has quite nice tactile feeling – definitely better IMHO compared to the GPD mPC – but is somewhat ‘shallow’ / not as firm as T680 or N900.

07-PP&GPD_mPC&Priv&T680-kbds.jpg


08-PP&N900_kbds.jpg

Other issues I have:

* hardware keyboard did not work with Mobian ‘official’ /bullseye/ and required update to ‘bookworm’, that seems to be work-in-progress. The update broke couple of things – for example wi-fi connections :D - but gradually it is back-to-normal.

* my kbd attachment has some problems with the top row keys. Specifically, the key ‘5’ has different sensitivity and requires much more pressure than the rest of the keys. So having ‘5’ in a password for example is great test for my luck / patience :)


In summary – the keyboard is quite nice, the price-performance ratio is excellent and for text-intensive tasks on-the-go it can be quite suitable. But with practically no notifications – I am still with the Priv and PPkbd feels more like alternative to GPD mPC for me. So – while waiting for the Pyra – I start thinking for AstroSlide 5G / F(x)tec Pro1X .....
 

ClockworkCoder

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* my kbd attachment has some problems with the top row keys. Specifically, the key ‘5’ has different sensitivity and requires much more pressure than the rest of the keys. So having ‘5’ in a password for example is great test for my luck / patience
 
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SAS

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And some gloomy news regarding the situation in PINE64 ecosystem by Martijn Braam

......
Like many others, I have become burnt out on this ecosystem. So I quit. I am no longer getting random requests to make Manjaro's factory software work. No longer am I enduring the stress and frustration of these meaningless discussions behind the scenes, and after not being in the PINE64 for some weeks I can definitely say I'm way less stressed out.
............
 

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It's news to me re Manjaro - I've vaguely heard about dodgy internal politics before, but don't really pay enough attention - but it sucks that an "open" hardware project can stagnate because of something so essentially trivially stupid (changing thr boot priority in the Pro).
 

SAS

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Well, my PP beta edition was with Manjaro preinstalled out-of-the-box. Two days constant effort trying to check for system updates / update built-in repositories. On the third day installed Mobian that still has /quite some/ issues - but was fundamentally 'working' ....
 

SAS

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Thanks!

Better to have both sides of a story ....

Though my PPkbd is in the drawer for months now - I still respect a lot Pine64 for what they are doing and their attitude.So re-reading Martin's post - there are at least two concerns that do not seem to be addressed:

Regardless, Manjaro is now the sole project endorsed and financially supported by PINE64, at least for the Linux capable devices. As a consequence it has a disproportionate level of influence in how PINE64 develops its products and manages the ecosystem.

and

Many of PINE64's new devices, such as the PinePhone Pro, PineNote, and others, have few to no developers working on the software — a potential death blow for PINE64's model of relying on the community to build the software.
 

ClockworkCoder

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And some more comments from Drew DeVault's blog and TuxPhone about The Pine Formula .

OT - Drew also mentions Pyra in one of his last posts .....
Interesting, thanks... I should subscribe to his blog. At least he adds a footnote re vaporware and the Pyra.

The EOMA68 was also one that I was hoping for...

Re the Pine, somehow it reminds me of the (somewhat melodramatic) expression "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"...
 

oskda

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what is that control pad? i didn't see details on the video. (besides the phone, which i imagine is a pine phone.)

I suppose It's late but: I think control pad is GameSir X2 (it says when video begins but I don't understand its spoken English completely). It has USB-C connection for mobile. There is other version of GameSir X2 running by Bluetooth but it would add some input lag because of BT.

Today there is even GameSir X3, but even with X2 version prices are crazy: ¿From 70€ to more than 100€ for a USB gamming controller? Even USB-connected version should be cheaper as they saves bluetooth parts and battery plus battery charging circuit.

Update: Some of the more expensive models add fan+etc to cool phone.
 
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oskda

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* no notifications / notification light in ‘carry-me-around’ position. My main problem with PPkbd is that there is no easy way to know if there are new notifications, something that requires attention. Do I have new XMPP messages? Or new e-mail? No way to know without opening the clamshell.
.....
In summary – the keyboard is quite nice, the price-performance ratio is excellent and for text-intensive tasks on-the-go it can be quite suitable. But with practically no notifications – I am still with the Priv and PPkbd feels more like alternative to GPD mPC for me. So – while waiting for the Pyra – I start thinking for AstroSlide 5G / F(x)tec Pro1X .....

Part of problem with notifications and PinePhone Keyboard is it was designes as a phone, keyboard was a much later add-on. If it would have been designed as a pocket computer, even with detachable keyboard, it could be different.

On other side: it even lacks backlight in keyboard, so in some lighting conditions you can't see keys symbols. It was OK in early times, for example for HP-200LX (even display was no backlighted because of power constrains), but today it is an error. It would need notification LED plus backlight for keys.

About AstroSlide 5G and F(x)tec Pro1X, I think bigest problem with them is that they are not "Linux devices" but Android devices which can run a "limited" Linux with Android drivers and that implies limitations on Linux versions you can run. Even it could be their SOCs don't have Linux support.

* lack of ‘home screen’ / ‘desktop’. My next major issue – it feels more like ‘Linux-on-mobile’ thing – is that (at least with Mobian) there is no way to use information on the home screen. On the Priv I have a widgets for selected text notes, for e-mails, for list of calendar events, shortcuts for IM with favorite contacts, etc. With Mobian – only a list of applications (yes, I remember which mobile OS had the same approach for years ;) Still – this reduces the usability of PPkbd for me.

About home screen/widgets/etc: I suppose it depends on each distribution for PinePhone and on other side it is a work on progress on some of them (others look for a more "desktop-like" experience).

Finally, and although I hate smartwatches, Pine has one of them: PineTime
1674517494562.png

I suppose it could do notifications. At least it has vibration. I don't like "Quick glance via lift-to-wake", but it could be programmed to turn-on display on notifications (or flash it each x seconds).

PD: I must repeat: I hate smartwatches. Some times I wear watches but with auto-generating system: automatic, solar or Kinetic mechanism, so I don't have to change batteries every few years nor plug them to charger every few days.
 
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