Author Topic: Review of my new Gemini  (Read 7840 times)

smapmap

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« on: March 06, 2018, 06:15:57 am »
Gemini Review

Packaging

There is a very high quality feel to the Gemini packaging and the accessories. Everything arrived in good order and included a nice letter from the Planet team thanking backers for their support.

First impressions
What really struck me is the build quality. The Gemini feels extremely well made. It sits nicely in the palm and  feels very small, and light. The opening mechanism is absolutely gorgeous and really helps with the stability of the device on the desk. There is no rocking when typing and closing it is very satisfying, there is a reassuring clunk.
The screen is excellent. Very clear & bright with great viewing angles. You can  change the brightness of the screen using a key combination rather than having to go into settings. The screen has a screen protector applied which is a nice touch. The thing you really notice though is the extra real estate. Not having an on screen keyboard allows you to make full use of the available space. It’s like having a laptop in your pocket - the linux community especially are going to love it!
The loudspeakers are fairly loud and sound quality is OKbut nothing spectacular. The best way to describe it is thin, or tinny sounding. I imagine there is so little space available there isn't much room for any sort of cavity for bass. To my ears the left hand speaker sounds louder than the right but it could just be my imagination.

I've had no problems connecting bluetooth or wifi devices - everything works as expected. Just remember if you have a nano sim you'll need an adapter to fit into the micro sim slot.

Battery life is excellent. I imagine you'll get a couple of days use out of it fairly easily. I had no issues charging it and it's pretty quick thanks to the fast charge technology. My Dash charger from OnePlus seemed to work OK too. I haven't tried other chargers yet, but I'm inclined to stick with the Planet one to ensure I provide the right voltage and current to the battery.

Keyboard
The keyboard is quite different in feel, to the original Psion, which had a much stiffer action. The Gemini keyboard feels more 'clacky', lighter and more modern. It's action sits somewhere between a full mechanical keyboard and a chicklet keyboard. The keys themselves seem to float a little bit. For instance if you press down in one corner of the key the other side rises a little, whereas the Psion keyboard had a lot less movement. This appears to be by design. In terms of actual use, the keyboard works beautifully and seems to get better with use! It’s very light to use and not as tiring as the Psion's and has a clicky, positive action. I don't have any issues with the spacebar having to be hit dead centre and all the keys are well aligned on my unit. I also don't have any issues with keys sticking, everything works as expected and typing is quick and pain free. There is a nice level of haptic feedback and I also like the fact the Planet team have used the old Psion beep, when you press a key. Overall I think its a better keyboard than the Psion 5, I think I'd prefer it to be a little stiffer, but it will be entirely a personal preference for most. In summary - this is the best keyboard on any mobile device. Period.

Call quality
Call quality is really good. What more can I say! My recommendation is to use the Gemini with a bluetooth headset - I use  Plantronics Voyager which is great as it tells me who is calling even when the device is closed.

The Jotter
Planet have brought back one of my favourite applications. The Jotter. This was my ‘go to’ application on the Psion 5mx and I'm pleased to say they have nailed it in this version. In fact I'm typing this review on it now. I love the fact they have put the interface elements at the bottom of the screen. It makes the screen feel like an extension of the keyboard and also keeps the device stable because you are interacting with the screen close to it's centre of gravity. It’s little touches like this which impress - integration of software and hardware to create a pleasant ergonomic user experience. There is some real thought and love going into the device. I'd quite like an integrated spell checker though

Leather sleeve

The leather sleeve is made with what appears to be a very fine, high quality leather. It's not a stiff case as I imagined it would be. It’s quite thin to touch, presumably to avoid adding any bulk to the device and keep it pocketable. The sleeve fits extremely securely and will be good at keeping the Gemini safe. Both USB slots are easily accessible. There is a stitched edging which will also provide some protection in the event of the Gemini being dropped

In use
To use the Gemini you need two free hands or have it sitting on a desk. Whilst some people might find this restrictive compared to a normal smart-phone, so far, I've found it strangely liberating. It’s a completely different experience to a normal phone. Walking the dog last night, I wasn't tempted to get the Gemini out and check Twitter - it makes for a much more mindful experience. Opening the device to check notifications is something I now choose to do, rather than something the phone demands of me.

Using it in the car will be an issue until someone creates a dash or windscreen cradle for it.

It is possible to use it in portrait mode if you click on the Planet icon on the launcher application.
I installed Nova launcher and it works perfectly.

Summary
I am absolutely delighted with the Gemini.
What Planet have achieved here is outstanding. This could be  game changer for the industry. Programmers, bloggers, journalists, writers, creatives, doodlers, and mobile workers, now have a device which can replace a laptop. You really can work productively on the move. The Gemini is a beautiful, well made, desirable, robust, highly pocketable and extremely practical device. I can’t wait to see what the community does with this thing. There is nothing like it on the market.

Welcome back Psion. You’ve been missed.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:39:01 am by smapmap »

salvomic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 06:36:26 am »
thank you, nice review!
Welcome back Psion, yes

Salvo
Gemini, Psion S5 and S5mx, iPhone, iPad, Huawei MediaPad M5, some HP calculators.
Psion Fans Italia moderator

Ifanafi

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 11:32:09 am »
Excellent, hands-on review!

Comparing your Psion5 experiences to the Gemini gives me much meaningful context to weigh in when I get my Gemini.

Dare I say others feedback on the Indiegogo Comments pages about the keyboard's feel, etc. seems in-the-main biased and subjective?

Thank you.

Ifanafi
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 06:59:42 pm by speculatrix »

smapmap

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 11:35:15 am »
Quote from: salvomic
thank you, nice review!
Welcome back Psion, yes

Salvo

Thanks Salvo!

smapmap

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 11:40:06 am »
Thanks Ifanafi.

I still use my Psion 5mx to this day, so I've been testing them side by side to be able to describe the differences as accurately as possible. Both keyboards are brilliant but they are very different in character.  There is quite a bit of travel in the keys - marginally more than the 5 series I think. I'd be interested to see what you think when you get yours.

cheers
Michael
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 07:00:12 pm by speculatrix »

gidds

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
    • View Profile
    • http://
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 05:31:30 pm »
Thanks for the review — very interesting and encouraging!

BTW, Psion keyboards varied in stiffness a bit.  (I know coz I've acquired several as backups over the years…)  So comparisons with the Gemini's keyboard may depend upon the particular Psion(s) you're comparing it to.

The impression I get from most reviews is that the hardware's extremely good, but the software's very much ‘version 1’ with several rough edges and omissions.  (Of course, that's the right way around: software's much easier to update after delivery  )  Does that match your experience so far?
[blockquote]Andy/[/blockquote]
Psion 5mx –> Gemini (–> Cosmo)

smapmap

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 05:18:31 am »
Quote from: gidds
Thanks for the review — very interesting and encouraging!

BTW, Psion keyboards varied in stiffness a bit.  (I know coz I've acquired several as backups over the years…)  So comparisons with the Gemini's keyboard may depend upon the particular Psion(s) you're comparing it to.

The impression I get from most reviews is that the hardware's extremely good, but the software's very much ‘version 1’ with several rough edges and omissions.  (Of course, that's the right way around: software's much easier to update after delivery  )  Does that match your experience so far?

Hi Andy,

I'm delighted with the hardware and the Gemini overall.

I've been using it solid for the past two days without a hitch. The screen is wonderful and the more I use the keyboard the better it gets.

Update on keyboard

I don't know if it has to 'bed in' or if its just perception but I find the action is getting better - especially now I'm used to it. Regarding older Psion keyboards. I agree- I'm pretty sure my original Psion 5 had a softer action than the 5mx, which in comparison to the Gemini feels extremely stiff. I have a feeling Planet will continue to tweak the keyboard based on user feedback so hopefully later backers will get an even more refined experience.

Camera
The camera is quite poor compared to modern smartphones and there isn't a flash obviously - it  may be an issue for some if they buy the device on impulse without realising it's limitations.It's perfectly good for Skype, and general photographs

Voice assistant
The voice assistant works great - even with a Glaswegian accent    So far I've not had to open the device up to make a call.

Planet Software
- I haven't found a way of associating LEDison notifications to events yet - not sure if this has to be enabled in the next software revision
- The Agenda application isn't available yet. I'm using Wonderlist and Google Calendar in the meantime
- The Notes application is just like Jotter- but better. I'd like an integrated spell checker and be able to put fonts into bold etc rather than just plain text

Android
- There's no way to bypass the lock screen when you open the device. It's slightly annoying to have to dismiss it every time but I think this is default Android behaviour
- There is no way (I've found) to close down all applications in one go - you have to do this one by one.
- I've had no issues with any software so far in landscape mode. Some software (K9 for instance) looks better in landscape  as you can get a reading pane on the right hand side, next to your list of mails
- Woudl be good if Planet could get rid of the Home, back and application softkeys on the right hand side of the screen

Bugs
- Depending on how many applications you've put into your app bar, the day/date gets truncated

Hardware integration
- If the screen brightness is set to 'automatic' then Fn B and Fn N don't do anything (screen brightness). Would be useful to get some visual on screen feedback though, as it may leave some users thinking there is an issue - when there isn't
- the is a microphone mute combo - Fn T but no way to silence sound. Would be good to see Fn X assigned to allow you to quickly kill the sound.
- I haven't been able to get HDMI out working yet. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong or if it needs a software update. I'll play more with it later today. I have a feeling I may have to boot with the HDMI cable in place.

Hints
- I've installed clipsync on my Gemini and PC to share clipboards - like PsiWin used to. Works a treat. So handy to have!

Overall I am absolutely loving it. The Gemini is superb and everything I hoped it would be, and will only get better over time.

kind regards
Michael
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 06:28:08 am by smapmap »

andyf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 11:13:47 am »
Quote from: smapmap
Gemini Review

....

Call quality
Call quality is really good. What more can I say! My recommendation is to use the Gemini with a bluetooth headset - I use  Plantronics Voyager which is great as it tells me who is calling even when the device is closed.

....

Hi

There seems to be a number of Plantronics Voyager variants - would you mind sharing with us the exact model you use please

smapmap

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2018, 11:23:52 am »
Quote from: andyf
Quote from: smapmap
Gemini Review

....

Call quality
Call quality is really good. What more can I say! My recommendation is to use the Gemini with a bluetooth headset - I use  Plantronics Voyager which is great as it tells me who is calling even when the device is closed.

....

Hi

There seems to be a number of Plantronics Voyager variants - would you mind sharing with us the exact model you use please

Hi Andy,

this one here

https://www.plantronics.com/gb/en/product/voyager-legend

kind regards

smapmap

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2018, 04:49:24 am »
HDMI output

I managed to HDMI out working last night. I plugged in the HDMI adapter to the right hand USB C socket and rebooted. The TV picked up the output automatically

Varti

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1188
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2018, 10:33:12 am »
Thanks for this review, great to hear that the Gemini is overall a great device!

Quote from: smapmap
- I haven't found a way of associating LEDison notifications to events yet - not sure if this has to be enabled in the next software revision
Apparently the app is still under development and the notification association support still has to be added:

The alert LEDs app isn't finished yet either, so you can't currently map LEDs to contacts and apps, again it's coming soon

https://www.oesf.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=34768

I have also added a couple of your findings in the above link.

Varti
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 10:36:42 am by Varti »
Planet Gemini PDA WiFi/LTE with Mediatek x27
SL-C1000 running Arch Linux ARM May2017, K30225 Wi-Fi CF Card, 64GB SDXC card
and many other Zauruses!

speculatrix

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3703
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2018, 07:02:27 pm »
thanks for the review... it just makes me more anxious waiting for mine!
Gemini 4G/Wi-Fi owner, formerly zaurus C3100 and 860 owner; also owner of an HTC Doubleshot, a Zaurus-like phone.

Pdajah

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 65
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2018, 02:01:54 am »
Previous PDAs - Psion 5, Psion 5mx, Ericsson MC218, Psion Revo, Psion 7
Now: Gemini PDA and Cosmo

smapmap

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2018, 05:06:39 am »
Quote from: Varti
Thanks for this review, great to hear that the Gemini is overall a great device!

Quote from: smapmap
- I haven't found a way of associating LEDison notifications to events yet - not sure if this has to be enabled in the next software revision
Apparently the app is still under development and the notification association support still has to be added:

The alert LEDs app isn't finished yet either, so you can't currently map LEDs to contacts and apps, again it's coming soon

https://www.oesf.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=34768

I have also added a couple of your findings in the above link.

Varti

Thanks Varti

tuk0z

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Review of my new Gemini
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2018, 06:28:01 am »
Thank you v much smapsmap (sorry I have to write --you'll miss my strong Norman[dishe] accent ,-)
Would you mind to update us if possible with your Gemini's real life battery life (in-use, stand-bye and/or charging time) please?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 06:28:45 am by tuk0z »