I Got My Pandora


Loon

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Mr Loon said:
Note to Forum Mods : Can we have a sticky topic for 'I got my Pandora', I'll copy this over if one gets made.
(edit: Just stickied this one, mali :) Rest of original post below.)

Edit : Cheers Mali, that is quite an honour.

Got my Pandora Yesterday, didn't even have to pick it up from the local Garden Centre, UPS delivered it on time, to the right place, and in a package marked 'extremely urgent'. Didn't order a UPS delivery, not sure if everyone in the UK will have their Pandora delivered by UPS.

Anyway, here are a few general thoughts based on 3-4 hours use of the Pandora :

Overall Build Quality : Superb, far better than expected based on pics & general surmise. Well done for getting to grips with the build quality issues that seemed to affect the first few units built.

Case : Very good, almost worth the wait! The matte finish looks great to me and it does not seem to attract fingerprints.

Screen : Awesome, things look crystal clear, those extra DPI certainly make the desktop environment look ultra slick. Colour, contrast, brightness etc. all seem fine in their default setting.

Touch Screen : Not Great so far, but I'm still getting used to it, took me a while to get used to my DS touch screen so I guess this is to be expected. Seems to be difficult to calibrate so taps on the edges of the screen are interpreted correctly.

Stylus : Can't say, as I didn't get one. However a DS stylus does fit into the stylus slot in the case.
Update : Stylus arrived today, very loose in the case, as was the DS stylus, bit of tape round the end and it fits in fine. Works well, would love a metal one.

D Pad : Awesome, with an extra helping of win. This is quite simply the best D Pad I've ever used, responsive, accurate, easy to hit the diagonals. DaveC is a god amongst men. After having a little go this morning on the notoriously bad XBox 360 Controller DPad, the MS Dpad seemed even worse, which is quite an achievement.

Nubs : Unsure, nice feel but difficult to use with a good degree of accuracy, seem prone to losing calibration, very clumsy when trying to use the right nub for mouse clicks. However they are getting easier to use after a few hours practice. My guess is that things will improve as the software / firmware improves and as users get more used to them.

Gaming Buttons
: Good, a little spongey for my personal taste but as has been stated on the boards it takes a week or two of heavy use before you'll get a true picture of how the buttons will feel.

Shoulder buttons : Not bad, good but not the greatest by any means, nice click, not at all spongey, but my left shoulder appears harder to press than the right and it remains slightly depressed after clicking it, whereas the right shoulder seems to revert happily to its original position.

Keyboard : Superb, somehow it's really nice to type on, but it must be said I'm a bit of a two finger typist when presented with a normal keyboard anyway. Don't really like the layout but I'll get used to it soon enough.

OS / Firmware
: Good, needs some work to make it Noob friendly, but considering how early we are in the life of the Pandora it runs really well, more responsive than expected and with less bugs. Huge respect to the team for the speedy provision of hot fixes.

Sound : Superb, was 'scratchy' at first but applied the simple fix provided by Notaz and it is now spot on. The built in speakers are really good for their size, the output to headphones is as good as you'll find on a decent MP3 player.
Output from the headphone socket has no audible distortion or hum even at maximum volume, the tone is lovely and warm, stunning when played through a decent hifi. The Pandora will be a huge hit with musicians and audiophiles.

USB : Great, works well for me have tried a USB2 memory stick, works fine without hub, and a USB1 mouse, works fine with hub. It gives me a strange feeling that I'm being slightly naughty when plugging USB devices into something this small.

WIFI : Spot on, behaves nicely with a Belkin N+ router, range is excellent, comparable with a full size laptop. Web surfing is snappy with pages rendering quickly using chromium. Well done to the team for getting it fixed.

Bluetooth : Works well, turn it on via toggle bluetooth under system in the menu. Was easier to get the Microsoft notebook bluetooth mouse 5000 to pair with the Pandora than it was with my Windows 7 PC.

Battery : OMFG, that thing just keeps on going and going, just wish certain other tech manufacturers attached such an importance to battery life.

In summary the Pandora is fantastic, Craig & Co had better get ready for huge numbers of orders for batch 2 as I imagine that the mainstream media will be handing out some pretty positive reviews.

I'll add to these ramblings over the next day or so as I get more used to the system, right time for a quick game of Llamatron.
 
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sebt3

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I got my pandy yesterday afternoon. It was shipped 11 days ago. Why was I that cheap 1.5years ago....

QA is brilliant, there is nothing wrong on my handheld. Only 2 scratchs on the paint.... I'll do some more anyway.
This device is exactly what I expected, may be a little heavier than I though, but that's nothing to cause arm pain, so I realy don't care.

Nubs are PERFECTs. They react as expected. Using them as mouse is cool and usefull.
The keyboard is much better than I expected. it realy feel good and not cramped as it look. I can type relatively fast with it (2 thumbs wont go faster than my 10 fingers, but that's it). This is the best handheld keyboard i've seen (I'm not into high-end phone, so your experience may varry, but I doubt it).
D-pad and games button are very good too.
The screen is gorgeous, realy.
The speakers are powerfull and their sound is better than those on a DS and by far.

I started gnome-terminal yesterday, and I was pleased to be able to type command without much trouble. She (my beloved pandora) connected to my NFS server without hasle

The only things than moderate my love is the software. But this is the early days. And what is archieved is already stunting. I'll love that ride.

The box is open and the fun is starting...
 

craigix

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I should point out that 14 units shipped without styluses. The styluses have been sent out since to those users.
 

ahahah

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hello
could you tell us your position in the queue please?
 

Eniko

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Mr Loon said:
Didn't order a UPS delivery, not sure if everyone in the UK will have their Pandora delivered by UPS.
I think everyone in Europe might be, since I'm in the Netherlands and I'm getting it through UPS too. And I'm still not happy about that.
 
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TJFBryant

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Just received my confirmation email today. Terribly psyched. After nearly 2years .......wow. Review coming soon
 

philly

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:) Sounds like OP are on top of QC now... Im still going out of my mind waiting, but I loved the review...

Llamatron!!! Sounds like you`re of the right age to review things sensibly... (Im an attack of the mutant camels man myself!)
B)
 

Mofokubik

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Philly said:
:) Sounds like OP are on top of QC now... Im still going out of my mind waiting, but I loved the review...

Llamatron!!! Sounds like you`re of the right age to review things sensibly... (Im an attack of the mutant camels man myself!)
B)
HEY! I'M POSTIN FROM MY PANDORA!

I havn't done much with it yet though. I simply turned it on and set it up. Getting used to the keyboard will take time, it's not bad it's just unlike anything i've used before. Will post more later and maybe pics if you guys arent already sick of them.

Good work OP team, THIS IS AWESOME!
 
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Exophase

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Alright, I wasn't gonna but sure you know why not yeah

Case/build: Has a good look to it. Probably weird for me to be saying this now, but I didn't quite grasp just how thick the unit is, which is kind of a turn off. It's not a big deal though.

Screen: I've seen it before - it's nice and crisp and generally bright enough. On the other hand, the ghosting is enough to be a disappointment (not nearly as bad as PSP-1000 but definitely worse than any GP2X I've used.. and this is for a device that had a lot of hype about not ghosting) and visibility in sunlight isn't too hot.

Touch screen: I haven't had any problems with this. In contrast to Mr Loon, it's my DS that's uncalibratable - I haven't had any problems with edges on my Pandora and haven't had to personally calibrate it since it arrived.

Stylus: Ever so slightly scratchy at the seam - this was mentioned on the boards but it was so slight I didn't even notice it. I might just rub it against some surface a bit to smooth, but I think my touchscreen will be fine so long as I don't drag the stylus across it much.

Nubs: I had a scare that I received a one nub unit since I got an invoice saying so (I didn't order one, but MDave did and I got MDave's original Pandora), fortunately they both work. But I've only used them as cursors so far and it's pretty dodgy, the sensitivity is all over the place - but I haven't really seriously tried to calibrate on startup so I'm not so sure. They're pretty nice overall, but I wish they did a better job auto-centering and were more resistant to being spun around.

Face buttons: A little spongy, but pretty good. I have a personal problem, that my right hand is hurting pretty badly being pressed against the side of the unit - quite honestly, I feel this way with every remotely modern era handheld, and I wish they went back to having more ergonomically designed sides like the GBA and GP32 (although I never used the latter, so I dunno). I THINK I'll get used to it in time. It's not nearly as bad as it is on Wiz, which you'd expect because there's just more room. So far it does bother me worse than it did on DS but I can't imagine why this would be the case - it could be because I've been using these more strenuously in the little bit of play time (ie, Battletoads for NES is a bigger button workout than NSMB.. then again, I dunno)

Shoulder buttons: I haven't had the opportunity to use them much yet. They don't seem TOO bad but I'm quite concerned because my right one is loose and doesn't accept input as easily. I'm dreading having to do the paper mod but I might want to before I accidentally break the damn thing. Part of me is still hoping OP will revise the shoulder buttons (and of course sell new ones), but it seems a little far fetched.

Keyboard buttons: I actually really like the look of them and aside from a few kind of spongy/scratchy buttons the feel is good too. I haven't used a lot of handheld keyboards but I actually think the layout works pretty well, except when I need to press shift on something clear on the right (but more on this later)

D-pad: Simply put, this is quite possibly the best d-pad I've ever used. Amazing. Strangely, my left hand doesn't hurt from being close to the edge either, and that's also considering I recently broke my left wrist so it's more sensitive.

Sound: Mine's scratchy right now, gotta do the notaz fix! I haven't had much to test it in, at first I thought it was just gpfce having bad audio (which it does, but that's just part of the problem ;p)

Wifi: My pings are just awful with power saving on, but with it off I get.. something weird. Like, it'll go 25, 38, 55, 75, 90, 100, 113, 25, 38, etc. It's weird. Incidentally though, I think when constantly streaming the latency isn't that bad - I'll get back more on this later. I'd also like to setup and try usb gadget internet and maybe will get a dongle and see how that goes too.

Software/firmware: I'm just going to list some bothersome quirks.
One: I thought the shift key would be sticky - why isn't it sticky? I keep fumbling on this; if this is a configurable option someone tell me how to do it.
Two: the Pandora button lags in bringing up the menu and then it's almost impossible to remove the damn thing; everyone knows how I feel about this function anyway so one more reason to punt it! Well, I say that but when you're not running some other program it's a nice option.
Three: in minimenu the names on a lot of the default installed apps are cut off and the touch screen doesn't work, this is a little shabby >_>
Four: I've gotten into some annoying bugs in the desktop, like pieces of the screen not refreshing right, and this one time it got locked in a mode where all the apps were pseudo-fullscreened and didn't show up in the task bar, and I couldn't figure out how to undo it and had to log out...
Five: Escape doesn't seem to actually escape in SDL - I wonder if it's mapped right elsewhere??
Six: That ALSA underrun print thing is annoying as hell - helpful hint, if you're developing on a console redirect stderr to /dev/null or it might end up taking your program down big time
Seven: I tried formatting my SD card and it did it as root and I couldn't get things on it or nicely unmount it.. ended up formatting it on my computer. Is there a GUI tool or something for this?
Eight: How do I get it to go into low power mode? I close the lid and it never seems to, and it always takes forever to charge like this. I did end up making the LCD switch to sleep after 15m though, and I think this helps.

All in all, it's a pretty spiffy handheld and I'll probably form a closer relationship once I do more software on it. Incidentally, SDL blitting a 2x scaled image is much faster than it is on my desktop. Bleh. I think the damn desktop is broken to hell :/
 

urjaman

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Exophase said:
How do I get it to go into low power mode?
Err... was it tapping the power switch? (Its weird trying to remember how to do something on a device you have never touched :p)

Anyways, closing the device just turns the screen off so you can use it as a music player.
 
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Prometheus

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Just confirming: Yes, it's a quick flick of the power switch to the right.

I *think* there was a bug with this if you closed the screen right away, or something (I can't fully recall what it was right this minute, however), but it might (or might not) have been sorted out in one of the Hotfixes.
 

skeezix

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Touch works to run apps or switch tabs in minimenu. IRS in peoples videos and works for me :) but not tested much either as I don't use ts much

lid close is just screen off, so you can mp3 play or stream audio etc

power hit toggles low powermode - power switch makes sense :)

Jeffphonesleepingbaby

glad you're in the fight exo :)
 

jonlad1

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I'm so glad more dev heavyweights are getting their hands dirty :)

My Pandy is at the UPS depo and cant get at it till Monday! Grrrr.....

I intend to make some dev donations when I get mine, the system would be useless without all you people.
 

WizardStan

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Prometheus said:
I *think* there was a bug with this if you closed the screen right away, or something (I can't fully recall what it was right this minute, however), but it might (or might not) have been sorted out in one of the Hotfixes.
Are you referring to the bug where opening the lid turns the screen back on but doesn't actually bring it out of low power mode, so the CPU is still ultra slow?
 
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Prometheus

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I'm not entirely sure, actually. :lol: I don't use the low-power mode myself, at the moment.
 

atomicthumbs

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Some thoughts (stealing Expophase's format):

  • Case: Nice and smooth. One or two almost-unnoticeable bumps/blemishes, but they don't bother me. The matte surface is a fingerprint/grease magnet, though. The hinge thing (gap on one side when closed) does bother my sense of symmetry, but that doesn't really matter. Small gap where two case halves come together between the two SD slots; may have been caused by my brother.
  • Screen: Really nice and bright. Visible in sunlight, and through sunglasses. I didn't notice any ghosting except in certain cases playing Super Mario 64, and since it only happened sometimes and only with Mario, it may have been an emulator artifact. Touchscreen is nice (a bit rough, even after filling down the stylus tip a bit, but that doesn't bother me).
  • Stylus: Nice shape, easy to hold, easy to lose. Would love a metal one. Might paint this one a bright color so I don't lose it like I do every other damn stylus.
  • Nubs: Perfect when they calibrate correctly, irritating when they don't. I don't like it when it's harder to move my mouse left than right.
  • Buttons: Work well. Not tiring. Remind me of the GP2X buttons. A and Y are a little gritty, but I expect that'll go away with use.
  • Shoulder buttons: Suprised that they're clicky, instead of squishy high-travel things like the GP2X. I'd prefer that design more, but these are all right (haven't used them much, though).
  • Keyboard: Relatively easy to type on; you get used to the spacebar. Only thing that bothers me is the arbitrary-seeming placement of the fn-symbols, and the placement of the period and comma.
  • D-pad: This is the first time I've ever played anything other than a very limited selection of older video games I own with a D-pad. I love it. It is great. It does not give my thumb a callus, as my GP2X did once I lost the stick cap.
  • Sound: Sounds great with headphones; good with speakers. I find it easier to use MPlayer to play my music than Exaile because it's so slow/crashy. I hope someone ports MPD so I don't have to figure out how. :p
  • Wifi: Works well. Haven't tried VNC or Samba yet. Had some trouble connecting to a couple of low-signal networks. Slow with Borders bookstore free wifi (although that could have been their wifi or my use of Firefox 3 at fault there). 
  • Bluetooth: Paired it with my computer; couldn't figure out how to use the remote control that the Pandora announced itself as.
  • CPU: Mine clocks stable at at least 750mhz. Haven't tried more yet.


And now, software:

  • Chromium: Works well, except for a complete lack of SSL support (can't use the stuff I really need to, like email and iGoogle). Faster than Firefox, less weird than Fennec, and less crashy then Arora and Midori.
  • Firefox: Slow. Works great otherwise.
  • Fennec: Weird. Couldn't figure out how to use it right. Prefer Chromium.
  • Arora/Midori: Midori crashy, Arora more so. Slow and unpleasant.
  • Exaile: Slow and crashy. Works well most of the time. Disappears without warning, leaving me music-less.
  • MPlayer: Plays both music and video very well. Noticed some minor tearing at certain points in a video I was watching.
  • XFCE: Prefer this over Minimenu. Would like it if there wasn't an odd click/delay before opening menus; doesn't work well with the touchscreen that way. Needs a CPU clock widget to put in the panel.

Emulators:

  • SNES9X4D4P: Mouthful. Works well. Chugs a little on Kirby's Dreamland 3 and Kirby Super Star; Star Fox works almost perfectly (lasers appear at the bottom of the screen); Stunt Race FX gets 0.1 FPS. Gradius III frustratingly difficult. Star Ocean works well; the translation translated everything, but the characters still yell Japanese stuff in battle.
  • Mupen64Plus: Super Mario 64 works fairly well (slow, stars on doors missing; ghosting issue with Mario). Ocarina of Time had weird visual issues and was very slow (but I enabled fog in the config file to see what it would do before trying it; may be related to that). Superman 64 was as godawful as it had been made out to be.


Games:

  • PandoraPanic!: Fun and fast. Brother wants to try it but I WON'T LET HIM
  • Ur-Quan Masters: Mass Effect if it was made in 1993. Very fun.


eof
 

Exophase

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skeezix said:
Touch works to run apps or switch tabs in minimenu. IRS in peoples videos and works for me :) but not tested much either as I don't use ts much

lid close is just screen off, so you can mp3 play or stream audio etc

power hit toggles low powermode - power switch makes sense :)

Jeffphonesleepingbaby

glad you're in the fight exo :)

Thanks, I was wrong about touch in minimenu (not sure why I had problems before). Got the low powermode switch now, unfortunately going low power seems to kill wlan0 for me. As in, device is gone forever and I have to reboot.

I've gotten the "everything runs w/o borders and not in task bar" bug again, this time it was persistent even between reboots. Only zapped it by going back between minimenu and xfce, hope it's gone for good now.

Found the sticky keys option in accessibility, surprised no one told me about this yet. Bug: accessibility window goes beyond screen area and can't be scrolled ;)
 
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