Saturday, May 26, 2018

Gemini - third look

OK, let's start off with the technical specifications. When I first unboxed the Gemini, I was struck by how solid and well-built it is. The case opens nicely, and closes with a nice click. It's a little heavier than I expected - at 320gm it clocks in heavier than my Zaurii (SL-C1000 at 278gm and SL-C3200 at 298gm).

Fortunately, I have not had any of the problems reported by backers who received the initial batch/lot that was shipped (e.g. keyboard problems; the "wrong" processor - a MediaTek X25 instead of an X27, etc., etc.)

The screen is beautiful, the keyboard is OK (more about that later). I normally keep the screen brightness close to the minimum (with Adaptive Brightness turned off), which is fine indoors. However, outdoors I need to crank it up a little for visibility (easily done by Fn + N)...

I used the unlock tool to open the case and put in the SIM card; it takes a microSIM (or a Nano SIM with an adapter) and a 256GB SD card. Initially I used an ATT SIM, but no matter how I tweaked the APN settings, etc. I could only get 3G even though It seemed that I should be able to get 4G (ATT does have local 4G coverage and the Gemini has the appropriate bands/frequencies).


Then I switched to my T-Mobile SIM and lo and behold, 4G. Issue (?) solved!


As I said earlier, I am trying the Gemini out to see if I can transition from my current setup (HTC U11 phone plus  Zaurus) to just using a Gemini. I've tried several different handhelds over the years (see first look for some of them) and have always gone back to the Zaurus which has the best blend of features - instant on, size and pocketability, screen, keyboard, some must-have software (IQNotes - see here and here), etc. I haven't yet tried to set up any Linux distributions, I am waiting for Planet Computers and others to do the heavy lifting until there is a set of software and easy instructions to follow/use.

So, how's it going thus far? Well, only carrying the Gemini (in a belt pouch) has freed up a pocket! However, I'm not thrilled by the keyboard. I have to say it does what the makers claimed they would achieve - if you put it down on a flat surface you can type rather well for such a compact keyboard. Unfortunately, that is not how I use it! I've been 'thumb typing' on my Zaurus for over fifteen years, while walking, standing, in meetings, etc. I hold it in my hands while doing entry. This is tougher to do on the Gemini - the keyboard is actually slightly too big for comfortable thumb typing (for me at least, see pictures below). This is exacerbated by the fact that on the Gemini I don't have "sticky" Shift, Fn, or Cntrl keys, like I do on the Zaurus... pressing the Shift or Fn key and then the next key is so much easier while thumb typing than trying to press two keys simultaneously! All this on top of getting used to the different layout of some of the keys.

Oh well, I will persevere for a while to see if I can break through this 'barrier'! So far, the signs aren't particularly auspicious, my entry rate has dropped in half and the number of typos I make has trebled or quadrupled. Ugh!


Some accessories:

So far, I have purchased a few accessories. Beside the belt case (scroll down towards the end of this) I have also bought:


Earlier looks:
Gemini - first look  (May 4th, 2018)
Gemini - second look (May 14th, 2018)

Resource links:

Online reviews:

YouTube reviews: