Xperia Play vs Pandora


kmob

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The N64 emulator plays Zelda OOT 30-60 FPS constantly, Starfox64 and other demanding games are smooth as silk.
This is interesting. Why is the performance of the N64 emulator so much better on the Xperia than on the Pandoara, is it using a different dynarec (because from all accounts Ari's is very good), or could it be down to faster/more-compatible graphics plug ins and better graphics hardware on the Xperia?
 

darfgarf

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The N64 emulator plays Zelda OOT 30-60 FPS constantly, Starfox64 and other demanding games are smooth as silk.
This is interesting. Why is the performance of the N64 emulator so much better on the Xperia than on the Pandoara, is it using a different dynarec (because from all accounts Ari's is very good), or could it be down to faster/more-compatible graphics plug ins and better graphics hardware on the Xperia?

and worth noting it's not running a desktop os, android runs on a stripped down version of libc, with a bunch of android specific kernel hacks, so just that alone reduces the overhead needed for the os before running anything (which is usually nullified by the jvm, but that's ebsides the point)
 

SNESFAN

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@ED- I compared the communication capabilities of the play vs the pandora, and rated them against what is currently available in other handhelds in a "best case scenario" even though it wouldn't have been possible when designing the pandora, it is still noteworthy that it doesn't have those extra capabilities. The lacking of wireless N as opposed to G was not a major deciding factor in why I rated it low in that category, main decision was lack of 3g and gps.


abiword and gnumeric are not in the android market(I checked) but there is nothing stopping anyone from porting it if it is open sourced. As I said before, if you can imagine it, you can do it. you bring up a good point for dual booting, I will modify my review and reconsider that option. I did not consider that option when I reviewed that section.


@exophase- I will make the correction on the FPSE being PCSX based


@emcee- how does it make your hands hurt looking at it, it is MORE comfortable to hold than the pandora in all respects. If the play is uncomfortable to hold, then the pandora is excruciating to hold o_O


@badtoad- the play has a onscreen keyboard, the pandora has a physical one, the physical one is better that's why it scored so much better. You can type on the play, I see no major difference in the functionality of it, just the execution. I feel the scores accurately depict that. I also will come back in a couple months of ownership of both devices and let you know which I feel get more use and how each platform has matured as I hope I can say both will see improvements.


@kmob- I think the more powerful hardware has a big hand in why the better results are seen. It is my understanding most of the emulators on both platforms are ports of the same sources, or at least very similar.


@everyone- Thanks for your praise, it took a lot of effort to put that all down and try to remove my personal opinion out of it, but at the same time accurately judge it head to head from all angles. Also you can brand the play as a phone or a mid or a smartphone or a netbook, but he fact of the matter remains, it is capable of a lot of things, how you use it determines how you can categorize it. You might see it as a phone, but if you don't use it's phone functions ever, is it still a phone? For me, it's capable of 3g and phone, but right now it's a wireless only gaming MID, exactly the same as the pandora. Is that how everyone views it? That's for you to decide, but please open your mind a little and don't discredit it by saying "it's a phone, it's worthless"
 
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EvilDragon

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Well, it's very hard to pull a personal opinion from such a review, I'd say it is impossible :)


As someone mentioned above: He'd give a rating of 0 for the XPeria keyboard, as it doesn't have a physical one... there are users that don't like touchscreen keyboards and wouldn't see that as a keyboard.


You did a great job, though I still think it's hard to compare.


You can compare it for gaming, right... though I browsed through Android a few times, and not too many games did interest me at all, so for me personally, it would be a disappointment.


A lot of other guys would find the Pandora disappointing though...
 

SNESFAN

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Well, it's very hard to pull a personal opinion from such a review, I'd say it is impossible :)


As someone mentioned above: He'd give a rating of 0 for the XPeria keyboard, as it doesn't have a physical one... there are users that don't like touchscreen keyboards and wouldn't see that as a keyboard.


You did a great job, though I still think it's hard to compare.


You can compare it for gaming, right... though I browsed through Android a few times, and not too many games did interest me at all, so for me personally, it would be a disappointment.


A lot of other guys would find the Pandora disappointing though...
I can respect that people wouldn't want to use the onscreen keyboard, but as you recognize yourself it does technically exist. But I did give it a 5 out of 10 which is the lowest score I gave anything, in any catagory.


If you don't mind me asking which games are you looking for? I can give some recommendations if you have a genre you're after, I have heard you mention stuff about rpg's I'm a big rpg fan as well check out some of my personal favorites;


illusia -platformer rpg


zenonia -zelda like rpg


legends arcana -diablo like rpg


gailardia -8 bit rpg


cyberlords -turn based meets action rpg


crusade of destiny -3d gothic like rpg


caligo chaser -arcade style beatum up rpg


pocket legends -WoW like mmorpg


search google market for others


http://www.appbrain.com/
 
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Exophase

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I'm curious, do most Android games support physical controls where appropriate? A lot of other Android phones had keyboards so it'd be weird not to, but some porting over from iPhone might only have touch overlay controls.
 

fahrstuhl

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I might have missed it, but the Xperia Play seems to lack USB host functionality, which is IMO one of THE killer features of the Pandora ( I have 3G, IEEE 802.11n, USB thumb- and harddrives, the receiver for my TI Ez430 Chronos watch, big keyboard and mouse... I still have to try out my Arduino, graphics tablet and audio interface just for the heck of it :D )
 

SNESFAN

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I'm curious, do most Android games support physical controls where appropriate? A lot of other Android phones had keyboards so it'd be weird not to, but some porting over from iPhone might only have touch overlay controls.
A Lot do, but not all, you sometimes have to bug a developer to support it, and depending on how they're feeling that day they may or may not support it.


If it supports a keyboard it will support most of the play's ability. There's some talk over in XDA about setting up a custom IME to allow you to map any button to any hardware key press if the app supports physical keyboards but does not allow custom mappings within the app. This also includes assigning analog -> digital button mappings for the optical analog controls. I think that, plus the ability to map to touchscreen inputs like they are doing for the icontrolpad will be ideal.


EDIT: this can be done with root access/custom rom as you can write how the hardware talks to the os via the kernel at that point. The talk is about a userland/non root alternative.
 
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Caine

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Wow a thorough and extensive comparison. It was an interesting read, though I strongly disagree about the software aspects (which is mostly personal preference anyway). I loathe touch based interfaces.


Thank you for the details about the Xperia Play, now I can freely ignore it's existence without having to feel guilty about it.


Btw. when you discuss mini menu, I think that you are confusing X with XFCE (which are not the same).


Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that minimenu was running directly on top of X.
 

SNESFAN

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@caine- will fix the thing about mini-menu and x-desktop


@fahrstuhl- added usb-otg to additional features and gave the pandora 2 points for it, because it is pretty cool additional feature.
 

emcee

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@emcee- how does it make your hands hurt looking at it, it is MORE comfortable to hold than the pandora in all respects. If the play is uncomfortable to hold, then the pandora is excruciating to hold o_O

I have big hands, with disproportionately long fingers. Something that small and thin just wouldn't work, especially with the part with the actual gaming controls being even thinner.
 

Asiyura

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If the "gaming pad" part of the Xperia is as thick as the DSi one, then it's uncomfortable for me too.


I dont have big hands, just normal, but they rapidly get dolorous when playing on DSi.
 
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Linux-SWAT

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Android sucks.


It's unstable and unsecure.


But np, it can runs games and apps.
 

craigix

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I don't think this phone is a threat to the Pandora as the Pandora is a mini computer, but it is a huge kick to the Dingoo, Cannoo etc. I think the days of those machines are very very limited now.


And I'm all with you on a standard interface on emulators but alas it seems several devs will resist that until the death which is a sad situation.
 

SNESFAN

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If the "gaming pad" part of the Xperia is as thick as the DSi one, then it's uncomfortable for me too.


I dont have big hands, just normal, but they rapidly get dolorous when playing on DSi.
My son has my DSi at the moment, but I have have a N810 and a DSi XL right near by and it's thicker than the N810 but thinner than the DSi XL, the pandora's gaming half is about the same difference size wise between the play and the DSi XL


there's that extended battery that's being worked on that should bring the thickness to about the pandora's gaming half size wise. As long as they maintain the rounded corners and curved back plate I think it will be absolutely ideal in my opinion.


@linux-swat all platforms have vulnerabilities, they patch security holes in every major os on a almost weekly and sometimes daily basis. From my own personal experience android appears much more stable than the current build of angstrom the pandora is running.


@craig- I would agree with you about the dingoo and caanoo, because it beats the performance and capabilites of either of those, hands down, but it's still a very expensive platform. I paid $750 unsubsidized for mine, and for under a hundred bucks i can get a "good enough" dingoo. I am willing to throw money down ($200 USD wish I could provide more but this kinda drained my account for a while) for a bounty for an android port for those that want it. Some support either financially or recruiting wise might be helpful for those that want a more polished OS or just want a "limited capability" android platform to play games on. It has the unified UI and controlset. Plus it will just add to the laundry list of features of the pandora.
 
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EvilDragon

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Wow a thorough and extensive comparison. It was an interesting read, though I strongly disagree about the software aspects (which is mostly personal preference anyway). I loathe touch based interfaces.

Well, it's kinda interesting. I usually dislike touch based interfacre as well, that's why I love the Pandora and browsers like Chromium, etc.


However, I just got a Nokia N900 two weeks ago, and there are aspects of the touch based interface that I actually like.


Menu navigation, running programs quick and easy on the go with one hand is a nice thing. As long as you don'T do much more than browsing and reading.


Even as file manager, I prefer using Midnight Commander on my terminal on the N900.


Touchbased interfaces are nice on mobile phones to browse through your stuff, select contacts, etc.


For proper work, I prefer a non-touch interface.


Aditionally, I never loved touch-based interfaces for gaming, unless it's something like a puzzle game, strategy game, point-and-click adventure or stuff like Numpty Physics.


Of course, that's not an issue with the XPeria Play, but normally with touch interfaces :)


Basically, my N900 phone can do the same things as the Pandora (same CPU, Linux, etc.), though I only use it for browsing the net (not writing posts though) and phoning :)
 

Caine

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ED, for some reason that post of yours really reminded me of the Macbook Wheel report from the Union News Network a couple of years ago.


I kinda regard touch interfaces as they did in that video. They are fine for dicking around, if you actually want to get something done, not so much.
 

bradleyb01

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Very good and interesting review.


I tend to use my DroidX for phone calls, web surfing and social network feed reading and that's about it.


I use the Pandora to play on since I really hate getting a call in the middle of a game and have to stop to answer it... plus I REALLY hate virtual keyboards - or tiny keyboards like my original Droid had!


Thanks!


-just my 2 cents.
 

Asiyura

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My son has my DSi at the moment, but I have have a N810 and a DSi XL right near by and it's thicker than the N810 but thinner than the DSi XL, the pandora's gaming half is about the same difference size wise between the play and the DSi XL


there's that extended battery that's being worked on that should bring the thickness to about the pandora's gaming half size wise. As long as they maintain the rounded corners and curved back plate I think it will be absolutely ideal in my opinion.


[…]
Ok, good to know, added thickness and battery life would help some to take into consideration the Xperia Play when they'll have to choose their next phone.


I think electronic device makers should stop making their product thinner, soon you'll be able to cut sushi with your cellphone
wink.gif



Just kidding, but it remembers me the race for the smallest cellular phone they had something like 10 years ago. Then they understood that a phone you can loose in your own jeans pocket may not be that great
laugh.gif



(I still remember the clamshell phone of a friend, it was so small that he was barely able to use the keyboard with his fingers.)
 
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