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> Questions regarding actual real-world usage, Wakeup, Macros, Typing speed, Battery life etc.
post Jun 26 2019, 05:25 PM
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I've been reviewing the Gemini for some time now and have some questions regarding actual real-world usage (I have a specific use-case in mind), hoping that people here with actual device experience would be so kind as to give feedback...

(1) Instant access from sleep - Opening the clam shell with the previously live application running ... How robust and reliable is this? Is it as reliable as a Psion i.e. works 100% of the time with no lags?

(2) Does Android o/s or the included note taking app support keyboard macros? Note this is a different thing to text shortcuts which require commonly used phrases to 'auto text expand' and don't work with a variety of technical terminology that all starts with the same sequence of letters.

(3) How buggy is the average daily experience? The Psion was an extremely mature platform (bugs and crashes an extremely rare event - almost never especially if you used the in-built apps).

(4) What's real world battery usage like for just a typist / note taker? Can you get more than a days usage without recharging if you turn off the radio? (WiFi and cell and bluetooth etc.)

(5) Lastly - keyboard typing speeds - with enough time could I hope to hit my desktop keyboard speed eventually?

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post Jul 19 2019, 09:22 AM
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Another late reply!  My experience from a year using a Gemini running (only) rooted Android (after 20 years using a Psion 5mx!):

QUOTE(csaunders @ Jun 27 2019, 02:25 AM) *
(1) Instant access from sleep

100% reliable.  Takes about 1 second to wake up.  (Mine's set to show the previous app, not to go to the desktop or show an unlock screen or anything.)

QUOTE(csaunders @ Jun 27 2019, 02:25 AM) *
(2) Does Android o/s or the included note taking app support keyboard macros?

No.  At least, not that I've found.  I'd find this useful for entering accented letters and other Unicode characters. My three partial solutions so far are:
  • The on-screen keyboard (Fn+, &c).  Works in all apps but fiddly and only supports some of the more common chars.
  • A text file that I keep open in Jota+ containing just about all Unicode chars, from which I can copy and paste.  Works in all apps but very fiddly.
  • vim digraphs: in the vim text editor, you can press Ctrl+K followed by two keys, to get practically any Unicode character.  Only works in vim, but works well there (and is standardised so the same shortcuts are available when running vim on macOS or Linux).

QUOTE(csaunders @ Jun 27 2019, 02:25 AM) *
(3) How buggy is the average daily experience?

Negligibly.  Depends which apps you use, of course, but Android itself and all the apps I use are very stable indeed IME.  Can't recall seeing Android itself crash.  Think I've seen a couple of apps crash, but one was a beta version I was helping to test. Very rare otherwise.

QUOTE(csaunders @ Jun 27 2019, 02:25 AM) *
(4) What's real world battery usage like for just a typist / note taker?

My Gemini always lasts a full day, with wifi on all the time, and some 4G and Bluetooth — but it wouldn't last two days.  In silent-running, it would probably last significantly longer, but how much longer would probably depend upon the screen brightness and the CPU load, which are the other main power drains.  (Though note-taking apps aren't likely to be heavy CPU users!)

You're not going to get the sort of battery life the Psion had, but I think it's comparable to other smartphones.  (It's not a problem for me, because I charge it every night by plugging it into a standard USB charger on my bedside table.  But everyone's situation is different.)

QUOTE(csaunders @ Jun 27 2019, 02:25 AM) *
(5) Lastly - keyboard typing speeds

I got very proficient on my 5mx, and was fairly close to desktop speeds. My second-batch Gemini's keyboard isn't quite as good — a bit wobbly, and you need to hit the keys pretty centrally — but from what I hear, later Geminis were better, so the Cosmo should be too.

And to respond to later points, I'd be a bit wary of running Debian or another Linux distro on the Gemini.  I've nothing against Unix-type OSs at all — I've been using them from the command line for three decades and still do all the time (even on my Gemini, thanks to Termux!).  But a UI designed for a big screen and mouse/trackpad simply can't translate well to a device with a small touchscreen.  (And a decent UI takes a lot of time and effort to mature.)  When I got my Gemini, I expected to be running Linux, but the UIs I saw last year weren't anywhere near as usable as Android, so (despite my concerns) I've stuck with the latter (augmented by Termux).  So unless things have improved radically in the last 14 months, you might find Linux isn't as attractive an option as it sounds.

Allied to which, a general point I think most people overlook is the ease of doing things.  People are amazed at some of the things I do on my Gemini — even though they own Android phones which could do the same.  After all, an on-screen keyboard can do just about everything the Gemini's physical one can do.  The difference, though, is how much easier it is on the Gemini, with its big keys, physical feedback, and no need to show/hide an on-screen keyboard or switch layouts.  And that ease can make all the difference between something that's quick and easy, and one that's awkward and a pain — which means something that people use, and one that they don't.

I keep things like shopping lists on my Gemini, because it's very quick to open it up, switch to Jota+, and type a few words.  Another phone has exactly the same functionality — but unlocking the screen, switching to an app, showing the on-screen keyboard, and then tapping to type the same words (either slowly and painfully, or risking the vagaries of autocorrect) is so much more awkward that few people do.  And similar for the umpteen other things I use my Gemini for.  Something being possible doesn't really matter if it's not easy enough that people will actually use it!  And that applies to UIs as well as to hardware.
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