Planet Computers Gemini review thread

Discussion in 'Everything else' started by mrpalmtop, May 2, 2018.

  1. mrpalmtop

    mrpalmtop Member

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    Well, I got my Planet Computers Gemini in the mail today. I am US-based. It shipped directly from Hong Kong.

    The keys are really quite good. No sticking issues as had been observed on the first units that were sent out although I would have wished for a slightly less pressure to make the keys go down.

    Software-wise, it's fairly speedy. I have not had time to get Linux going or to test out the phone yet. Still busy getting my apps and then de-Googling the device.

    I'm happy to take some pics or answer questions when I get back from some errands. Any other Gemini backers get their units yet?
     
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  2. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Did you purchase any of the accessories? Did it arrive with them? How does the headjack audio sound?

    Yeah, OK, mine should be arriving in the next few days and I'll be able to answer my own questions.

    Very exciting though - congrats on the new arrival!
     
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  3. ArchiMark

    ArchiMark Silicon Valley Digerati & Pretty Nice Guy

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    Sounds good....mine should arrive tomorrow, here in the US, if all goes smoothly....

    Will be interested to hear more of your experiences and opinions as you use it more.

    I plan on installing linux as soon as I can on it. Not really interested much in Android...
     
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  4. mrpalmtop

    mrpalmtop Member

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    Thanks. I did not purchase accesories. Perhaps that's why I got mine so soon.

    There is some pre-amp noise but not if you keep the plug from going in all the way. My theory is that the mic transmitter is faulty. I will try to dig up some headphones that don't have a mic ring to test.
     
  5. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    I must resist. I am waiting for the Pyra. Do not need this.


    So, pics are always welcome, but I am interested in how it fits in to everyday life. I am interested in both the Android and Linux experience, so all of you feel free to tell me the good and bad of what you are doing with it. Typing is an interest or concern, so how do you guys do with it on a desk and when thumb typing? I know it isn't a smartphone, but if used as one, with a keyboard, how does it do? What about typing in the dark? Run some of your favorite software and tell us how it performs.

    Maybe someone can throw Star Trek Timelines on it for me and run a couple away missions and space battles and let me know if you have any problems.


    Do not need, must resist. Think of the Pyra.
     
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  6. klapse

    klapse Central Scrutinizer

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    I'm in the same boat. I actually dug out my old psion 5mx to remind myself how much i dislike actual touch typing on a keyboard that cramped.

    There's just no pocketable touch-typing solution for me, besides foldable bluetooth kbd. Better to go with Droid 4 phone and Pyra for 'computer'.
     
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  7. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    In my thread to pick a new device, this would fill all needs, except a bit large. With the Pyra coming I don't need another expensive toy like this.
     
  8. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    I have never touch-typed and my technique is basically an advanced hunt-and-peck approach even in a full-size keyboard, although these days I use 2/3 fingers mostly and the pinky/thumb for the modifiers sometimes. On my S5s I fall back to a 1/2 finger approach and it works well for my when it's on a desk, although I did mostly use mine when out and about and used the Pandora style two thumbs typing approach mainly.

    But comparing this in place of a pyra, you would lose
    - Upgradeability. While this has an expansion port, I'm not expecting anything other than the camera to ever use it. Maybe I'll be positively surprised though. Meanwhile the Pyra is openable with a crosshead screwdriver, and its CPU and RAM can be upgraded down the line.
    - Barometer; everyone needs a pocket electronic barometer!
    - Keyboard layout for hackers. While the Psion layout was a good fit for Psion's EPOC OS, it's a little lacking in punctuation for a full linux computer.
    - Smaller battery
    - Community. Hopefully things will pick up here with devices in the wild, yet with the Gemini being in the hands of probably a thousand people or so by now, it's seemingly not made much of a splash in terms of software.
    + Metal shell, scratch resistant screen
    + Current availability
    = I haven't compared the WCDMA and LTE frequencies, but their one configuration seems to support more frequencies than each of the Pyra's configs. Maybe that one configuration will work in more places, or maybe the Pyra's more tuned configurations will work better in their home place.
     
  9. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    I'm on board for both devices. My perspective on @levi points above.

    -Hardware Upgradeability. True - the SoC/boards hardware is what it is. That said, the hardware is fairly robust with a 10 core CPU, 64GB eMMC, 4GB RAM, USB C, high resolution display, etc... I suspect that the unit will be physically worn out by the time I'm done with the electronics. However, as some of those parts 'wear out', they are replaceable. Keymats have been user replaced. Battery is supposed to be user replaceable, though nobody has figured that out yet - there appears to be glue involved.
    ++Software Upgradeability. Gemini is shipping with Android 7. Android 8 has been announced for it. Linux is in development for it. Sailfish OS is slated to release for it this fall. My 4 year old Android phone's hardware is fine - but I can't get a software upgrade for it. My hope is this will be different. With this many avenues and an open bootloader will give this device with it's current hardware a good future. With 3 distinct OS paths - should be good.
    +/- Keyboard layout for hackers. I touch type. I have no idea yet if I'll be able to touch type on the Gemini. But - being able to touch type out the rest of a directory structure could over weigh not being able to find the ~ key easily. We'll see how that goes.
    +/-Smaller Battery. Fewer WH true. Yes, 2/3 the capacity of the Pyra battery. Weighs less and yields a device 1/2 as thick. Valid trade off.
    --Community. I'm giving the Gemini community a double minus -- score on this one so far. If they're actively discussing OS or other software development somewhere, I haven't found it. And I have looked.
    ++Metal shell. Screw phones with glass backs - dumbest device idea yet.
    +++++Current availability. I hope to have one in-hand inside of the next 48 hours. I pre-paid for a Gemini on September 13th 2017. 7.5 month wait. I pre-paid for a Pyra prototype in October of 2015. I laugh at the complaints about the Gemiini being delayed.
    +/- Frequencies. I'll be testing it on AT&T's network. Wish me luck.
    ++Pocketability. I've seen/held the Pyra's keyboard test mule case. The Pyra is going to require baggy pants. The Gemini isn't svelte compared to a normal phablet, but it's outright skinny compared to the Pyra.

    The Pyra is the more interesting of the two devices. The nubs, storage capabilities, community - all great pluses for it. The wait though ... I needed a phone sooner rather than later. I detest the glass backed pre-designed-to-be-bricks-by-OS-abandonment 'smart'phones on the market. The philosophy of not needing to be able to replace the battery being fine because the device will be software abandoned first and we've locked out everyone from being able to upgrade their own - that simply doesn't work for me.
     
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  10. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Can we get real world battery life results?
    --- Double Post Merged, May 3, 2018, Original Post Date: May 3, 2018 ---
    Oh, and Grench, you aren't helping me hold on to my money, btw.
     
  11. NetBLOKS

    NetBLOKS Finally on-board

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    As far as I remember, the Gemini is mostly EU 4G compatible.
    There have been reported difficulties with T-Mobile and Sprint in the US.
    No problem for me, as I live in Germany but most likely for a lot of US owners.
    It has a wider frequency range than the Pyra but nothing that could be called world-wide.
    @Grench: AT&T is inside the range if I remember correctly. I wish you best of luck!
     
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  12. mrpalmtop

    mrpalmtop Member

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    I use T-Mobile. Thus far, it seems like I have to use UMTS instead of LTE but to be honest, LTE isn't substantially faster so it doesn't bother me that much.

    Here are some pics of my Gemini with various other pocket computers.

    DSC_0039.JPG

    DSC_0042.JPG

    That last pic is the Gemini with some of my handheld PCs. From left: HP 200LX, Psion Series 5MX, Viliv N5, Gemini.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  13. CommanderB

    CommanderB Member

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    Off-Topic: Do we already have a "present your obscure handheld collection" thread somewhere?

    Gesendet von meinem SM-N9005 mit Tapatalk
     
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  14. Swordfish II

    Swordfish II Very Active Member

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    Interesting I also have a viliv n5. Similar size
     
  15. mrpalmtop

    mrpalmtop Member

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    I had some more time to mess with stuff. I forgot to mention that I had to enable roaming in order to get data working.

    I am not much of a gamer but it played the SNES ROMs I have very well. Let me know if you want any particular game or app tested.

    Here is Street Fighter II: The New Challengers running via SNES9x EX+

    Screenshot_20180503-221635.png

    I am not really a fan of 64-bit games and above but I did try a few N64 games using MegaN64. They were pretty fast but the default video config made a lot of flickering. I messed around a bit and was able to eliminate it quite a bit while losing some detail.

    I couldn't get DK 64 to run at all, however.

    Here is Zelda: The Ocarina of Time:
    Screenshot_20180503-225013.png
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  16. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Mine arrived. DHL delivery.

    It had 8% charge, so... charging.

    First thoughts...
    Packaging is retail ready. Accessories ready to hang on wall displays.
    Everything appears quality but the leather sleeve. That sleeve bit is a bad joke. It is just 2 sheets of silly thin leather sewn together at the very edge. Pretty pointless.
    Keys are all on straight.

    I'll try to update from it later.
     
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  17. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    I would like to know how it is in the pocket all day. Is it comfortable? Can it deal with that sort of banging around? When you get a message is it obvious, or do you need to check it constantly?
     
  18. mrpalmtop

    mrpalmtop Member

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    In my pocket, it's quite convenient. The size is really not that bad. Weight-wise, it reminds me a bit of one of those early Nokia 880/9xx series smartphones. I carry my regular phones in wallet cases so the extra thickness makes no difference whatsoever to me.

    You do have to be careful with it being a metal case, though. I
    don't think the metal is anodized. It appears to have some sort of paint on the exterior. Mine is already starting to wear off.

    When I was driving, I did find it kind of annoying to have to keep opening it up so I just left it open on the seat next to me even when I wasn't using it.

    The speakers could be louder but I have a Samsung Tizen watch so I get all the notifications and can even reply to texts or emails without opening my Gemini up. I highly recommend doing this if you are going to make the Gemini your primary device.


    Battery life is pretty good. I used it today pretty much nonstop for about 10 hours of web surfing, email, calling, light gaming, and app installing. All that took the battery to 11%.

    The Sailfish 2.0 port is in the works as well. I plan on installing the private alpha over the weekend.
     
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  19. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Took a while. but I have my Andoid apps mostly installed. I'm semi touch typing on it already. Most annoying key placement so far is the up arrow where the . should be. Sitting comfortable to a table and touch typing, my fingers block the view for the bottom 1/4 of the screen. It is going to take some getting used to.

    I have my AT&T 4g sim in it and it gets better coverage in my house than my Note 3.

    I'm typing this on it It isn't bad. but typing the ' requires looking at the keys to find it. I would be happier if the keyboard were 1" wider so that it could have a full set of small keys instead of the fn layered search.

    More to come as I get used to it.
     
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  20. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    @Grench, how does it compare to the keymat for the Pyra you tested? I know this isn't a fair comparison since they are totally different types of keyboards (thumb vs desktop and also the design), and the Pyra wasnt the full device, so we aren't sure with that.
     

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