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> A year with the Gemini
zevv
post Apr 14 2019, 09:23 AM
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So, has it been a year already? The day I put the Gemini in my pocket, I felt as if it had always been there - we made for a perfect match from the start. I have been carrying and using the Gemini for 365 days now - a good reason to make a little writeup of my experiences.

Software

Not much to tell here. On arrival I installed Termux, Firefox and K9, which make up about 90% of my interactive use with the Gemini. I never enabled any google accounts or services, and not having access to Play store nicely keeps me from installing too much cruft. I was bothered to hell though, by the keyboard ghosting and speakers being out of phase - luckily I know how to build a kernel, so I made some hacks and workarounds to fix that, and I never updated the kernel since.

Hardware

This is the interesting part, in my humble opinion. My first impression of the build quality was "fair" to "ok", but I was not convinced the device was up to the task to travel in my trouser's pocket day after day. It has now stood the test of time pretty well.

The year was not without accidents, including - but not limited to:
  • Me bumping into a table or door handle, the Gemini taking the hit. Repeatedly.
  • A straight 1.25m drop from my hands onto concrete. Once.
  • Sitting on the Gemini (closed). Daily.
  • Sitting on the Gemini (opened!), in a soft couch. Once.
  • Elliptical curve from my pocket onto the pavement when getting out of my car. Three times. This is mainly due to my favorite pants having crappy pockets.
  • Sand. Aaargh! Sand. Sand is bad for the gemini. Very bad. The keyboard is not. at. all. able to handle any sand. If a single grain of sand gets stuck in the sliding part of a key, it is game over for the day, and canceling evening plans to spend a few hours on the kitchen table: popping the keys, cleaning with canned air, and putting it all back together. This happened twice. I wonder why I even considered taking it with me to the beach the second time.
Here are some honest and uncensored pictures of the current state of my device.

The dust is always there, it just collects in my pockets and gets into the Gemini. It doesn't seem to care, though:



Some bumps and scratches do build character, and these are scars to be proud of:



And one day I noticed this: the hinges seem to be cracked on both sides. I'm not sure when this happened, but my guess is there might be correlation with me sitting on the Gemini when it is open. Everything still works as before though, so no problem at all:



So, it has been a good first year, and I truly do hope the Gemini will keep up for a few more years. I'm not sure if I'll even consider Planet's next product - the backlight would be nice, but it the keyboard quality is not significantly better, I'll stick to my Good Ole Gemini.

Thank you Planet, a job well done!
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abliss
post Jun 16 2019, 04:30 PM
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I just want to say that I've been using my Gemini non-stop for about 10 months now, and I agree that the hardware has held up admirably well. zevv, without your anti-ghosting kernel patch, I never would have made it this long without throwing the thing at the wall, so thanks again!

My right-hand interior hinge is broken exactly like in your picture (and I don't think I ever sat on it with the screen open).

Additionally, the little piece of plastic left of the Q key, which covers the caps-lock LED, fell off. But it doesn't bother me.

I have a hunch that the lid-close switch is less reliable than it used to be. Some days, like wyrm mentioned above, I find that it's running way hotter than usual and the battery is very low. I think that it maybe is keeping itself awake by pressing its own keys in my pocket sometimes. Also, if I close the screen after sending a chat message, I often open it to find that I've sent another phantom message which is usually like '\s0', or other keys from the rightmost side of the keyboard.
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