Author Topic: Cosmo as a daily driver - experiences/review  (Read 3183 times)

Hount

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Re: Cosmo as a daily driver - experiences/review
« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2020, 12:12:57 pm »
Cosmo have been my daily driver for a week now. Here are my first impressions.

Hardware:
I'm constantly trying to type two-handed with thumb typing a'la Motorola Droid4. That's not going to work on Cosmo as the amount of buttons you're able to reach without changing the phone's position is not enough for efficient usage. But even though my fingers and hands are not that small I'm still able to type this with 10 fingers in a laptop type typing. Just not as convinient as thumb typing when on-the-go.
Two of the buttons stuck in midway. They seemed to work just fine when typing but when the "lid" was closed and all buttons were pressed to roughly middle of their travel two buttons (l and f) were stuck in the midway. I popped them out and carefully checked their double u shaped parts under magnifying glass and found out some anomalies. I was able to scrape them to almost identical shape as rest of the working buttons with an x-acto knife and now all buttons feel and look identical.

Screen is ok and speaker quality seems better than what I'm used with phones so far. Hinges do squeak but I dont mind that. I'm not yet confident with my knowledge of what accessories  to plug  in to which port. That may be something I'll take a look in the future.

Software (not codi. that's last section):
Most of the software that had Planet in the beginning of the name were completely useless for me. I don't want to become dependent of software that may not be available or could not work on another hardware, so I ended up disabling them apart from sync addon (Not clear if that may broke something) and Codi updater.
Some of the functonality of the buttons have changed. First the silver button acted like an power button, but now it's acting as a back button in Chrome Browser (also alt+esc seems to act as a back button... weird)
On some apps alt+tab lights up caps lock light on first attempt and initalizes task switch on second attempt. Telegram is one of those apps.
I ended up changing the keylayout with FinnQWERTY -app (swapping ä and ö) as the default layout was weird and anything but optimal for Finnish language, that app may have something to do with the weird behaviour of buttons?
Typing english (this text for example. written with Cosmo) relies lot of ':s and that's (again) not intuitive in finnish layout keyboard. Maybe with more training I'll be able to type better without looking at button prints.

Codi:
Had to be disabled as phone kept crashing/rebooting 5-10 times a day. Sometimes 3 times in a row within 10 minutes. Now codi disabled perfect uptime or 3 days and battery life seems to be almost doubled compared to the time with codi on.
Also phone kept locking itself in middle of typing etc. when codi was active. Now that codi is disabled - no more random lockscreen interruptions.

Summary:
This is the only phone with native finnish keylayout, so what are my options? :D I like it but I don't yet know how to use it efficiently. Without codi it' definitely not a phone as I can't even check the clock one handed. Not to think of doing anything else one handed. no more quick bus timetable check or anything unless you're prepared to stop and use both hands.
I hope codi would be fixed in an upcoming firmware release. And I hope Planet Computers would open their bugtracker to the public.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 02:57:51 pm by Hount »

gymbo

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Re: Cosmo as a daily driver - experiences/review
« Reply #46 on: August 16, 2020, 09:07:20 pm »
Cosmo have been my daily driver for a week now. Here are my first impressions.
Codi:
Had to be disabled as phone kept crashing/rebooting 5-10 times a day. Sometimes 3 times in a row within 10 minutes. Now codi disabled perfect uptime or 3 days and battery life seems to be almost doubled compared to the time with codi on.
Also phone kept locking itself in middle of typing etc. when codi was active. Now that codi is disabled - no more random lockscreen interruptions.

Summary:
This is the only phone with native finnish keylayout, so what are my options? :D I like it but I don't yet know how to use it efficiently. Without codi it' definitely not a phone as I can't even check the clock one handed. Not to think of doing anything else one handed. no more quick bus timetable check or anything unless you're prepared to stop and use both hands.
I hope codi would be fixed in an upcoming firmware release. And I hope Planet Computers would open their bugtracker to the public.
I agree that there is not much else if you want something with native keyboard for "strange" languages, but there might be some options if you only need English, or maybe French or German (I've got a Norwegian one myself). But I tried to get by with a Blacberry Passport for a while, and I ended up only using it to have Profimail for my 20 something mail-accounts, and used an old Nokia E52 for a phone (my Nokia E7 had "broken down" and I didn't really have time to get my back-up E7 set up properly) although it was a pain to write SMS'es on it. So I doubt if I could really "get by" with anything but a phone with a physical keyboard, and I NEED my Norwegian layout too... Hence, Planet Computers is my only choice. (I've had the Gemini, uses the Cosmo, and have contributed for the Astro...)

Regarding the codi, I think it is useful only for notifications and phone-calls (especially receiving), but I still need to open it for unknown numbers, if I need to know who/what it is. (My "caller-ID app" gives a notification too, but I can't access it on codi until after the call is "finished".)

But for me the Cosmo functions much more like a "phone" without opening it than the Gemini, but I DID get by with that too. (Not the last months, before beginning to use the Cosmo though, but that was mainly because ALL the cover-plates fell of when opening/closing it; the hinge-cover, and the front- and back-cover... I AM beginning to see some "slack" in the hinge cover on the Cosmo as well, hopefully it wont become as bad as the Gemini. This should probably not be a problem with the Astro, but hope the hinge will work reliably, and that there wont be any problem with the cables either (as the Psions had; they where kind of infamous for that).

bluetooth

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Re: Cosmo as a daily driver - experiences/review
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2020, 08:25:29 am »
Hi all,

I've had my Cosmo since beginning of July. It's now time to share with you my experiences and thoughts of it.

Unfortunately I never owned a Psion (though I dreamt of I as a student). However, I was a very keen Nokia Communicator owner for years (until they were discontinued). Back in Symbian days, I hoped that the Communicator would evolve into a device that would have all the best features of a phone and a computer. The most invaluable apps to me were the web browser, calendar, messaging and office apps, though I have to admit that the quality of the latter was not that good. Unfortunately Nokia developed the Communicator in a wrong direction by adopting S60 middleware and UI.

Android seems to do a much better job at that. It is a feature-rich platform, there are thousands of third-party apps to choose from and the device HW is capable of performing the tasks (which was not always the case with Symbian FW and HW used in the 2000's). Sure, there are certain privacy concerns but I still think Android with Google stuff is the best fit for me. I was a bit concerned about how apps behave in landscape but it seems that for most apps it is not a real issue. Key shortcuts could be better supported but all in all it works well.

You can find virtually any app for any specific use case from Google Play. My recommendations are Business Calendar (though it is not optimized for keyboard use), HiperCalcPro, OfficeSuite & File Commander (Mobisystems). I store my files in OneDrive and I do have occasional issues in syncing edited office files back to cloud from OfficeSuite. For web and email I currently use Kiwi browser and Email - Lightning fast and secure mail from Edison but I am not completely satisfied with their UI. For launcher, Nova Launcher was an easy choice based on several recommendations in this forum. I especially like the possibility to add file shortcuts to the home screen and to modify the app/file icons and captions. WhatsApp use is cumbersome as the actual app is configured in my primary phone and I need to use a third party app to mirror messages. Planet apps? A brief glance at them was enough to tell me that I'd better install more professionally crafted 3rd party apps instead.

As for customization, I set the dpi to 600 and then set the font a bit larger in settings and also in some apps. I removed the command buttons for more real estate. I use the split screen feature a lot. It is pretty easy to use. I have not found any third party app switcher to replace the horrible factory one - is there any available?

Keyboard is by far the best mobile keyboard I have ever used. The Commies did not come even close. I swapped scandic letters Ä and Ö of my Fin/Swe keyboard with FinQwerty. The keyboard background light should be integrated with the screen brightness and ambient sensor. Now it is tedious to switch it on/off. If I only could create an easier key shortcut for it. Actually the easiest way could be to couple it with the of Esc / Fn-Esc (screen on/off) in dark conditions (user configurable setting). The keyboard light brightness should actually be adjusted less bright when it gets darker but maybe it is too much to require for that sophisticated a feature. As regards the inner screen, it is a bit hard to read outdoors.

I have noticed I tend to do many more things now with Cosmo for the pure fun, though I would have a Windows laptop available, too (and often it would be easier to do a task with the laptop). I acquired the Connectivity Kit and I tested that all the outputs work, including LAN. I have used HDMI output a lot with an external display or TV. I can't stop thinking if it would be possible to genuinely replace one's PC with a device like Cosmo? At the office you would simply connect it with the display and peripherals. The HDMI output quality could be a bit better, though. Bluetooth mouse works seamlessly. I have also remote-controlled my Galaxy from Cosmo over Bluetooth to write messages. Printing via USB is possible, you just need a driver for the printer (I recommend PrinterShare).

I charge the battery approximately once a day; battery time could be 1,5-2 days with a bit more moderate use. I do not have a SIM card on Cosmo; neither do I use CODI as it is not really needed in PDA use. However, I watch (too much) youtube or TV programs which obviously are big drainers.

Cosmo has worked for me reliably. I think I only had one reboot since July (of course I have rebooted it myself a few times). In my use, the performance is sufficient (better than in my work PC). Codi update was a PITA but as with so many of you, it then finally succeeded easily. You just first needed to bang your head over a dozen times and return to the task the following day.

My biggest worries concern the long-term maintenance. Does Cosmo HW stay intact (I also hope not to drop or wet it). Another, bigger worry is the future FW updates: how many years can I use Cosmo before it gets a real security risk or the 3rd party apps won't get supported anymore. As a product itself it could be a long relationship as it is rather unique. It is pretty unlikely that any major OEM would introduce such a form factor now that the dual or fold displays are in fashion.

To sum it up, Cosmo has in many aspects fulfilled or even exceeded my expectations. In the current use as an ultra portable computer it has not let me down.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 08:41:21 am by bluetooth »

Zarhan

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Re: Cosmo as a daily driver - experiences/review
« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2020, 09:44:42 am »
Another, bigger worry is the future FW updates: how many years can I use Cosmo before it gets a real security risk or the 3rd party apps won't get supported anymore.

The current security level of the Android is still relatively recent and as far as I know, there hasn't really been critical vulnerabilities since the big Bluetooth hole in February. But I have to say that this is my biggest worry too. It's been complete silence from Planet since V23. It really cannot be that hard to just streamline new updates from Google into the image, even if you don't do any Planet-specific addtions and changes.