My Pandora Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by gibberish, Jun 6, 2010.

Jun 6, 2010

My Pandora Review by gibberish at 6:47 PM (2,132 Views / 0 Likes) 12 replies

  1. gibberish
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    Member gibberish GBAtemp Regular

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    Yesterday I was lucky enough to receive my Pandora handheld in the post. It came as somewhat of a surprise since I had no official shipping confirmation, just a message from Jacquelyn in passing that mine would ship soon. It was estimated by the OP admin that I was between 315 and 365 in the queue.

    I've had a short while to play with it and I'll post my initial findings here. Please note that I havent fully explored every side of the machine and so I might end up missing important info that I find out as time goes on.

    The Hardware

    I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of manufacture, after reading some bad reviews on the Gp32x forums I was a little worried - but these worries were mostly unfounded.

    A problem which is probably unique to my machine is that a little bit of adhesive tape which secures the bezel to the LCD was poking out the bottom right hand side of the screen. I managed to remove most of it and poked the remaining bit back under the plastic. It's not really noticeable anymore. Aside from this I can't really find any problems unique to my machine. As far as the controls go, here's a rundown:

    Keyboard:
    This was my biggest concern before receiving my machine, but actually it's probably the best part. Though the buttons are soft plastic, they still have something of a "click" when depressed, which is nice and leaves no doubt that the key will have registered. I can type pretty quickly either with my thumbs while holding the machine, or with my fingers when it is sat on the table. All the keys register first time with little effort. Good stuff.

    Gaming Controls:
    The D Pad is awesome, couldn't wish for an easier to use or more tactile one at all. The ABXY buttons, great - they click and feel solid. Analog nubs are also nice, both of mine are silky smooth and feel good. My niggles with the nubs are that they dont spring back exactly in to the middle when let go of, and that they spin around with pushed from the edge. They're OK to use in the OS, may take a bit of getting used to and require calibrating on every boot. Calibrating just entails pushing each nub in every direction once, takes 5 seconds. The worst part of the gaming controls is the shoulder buttons. They depress only a millimetre or so and click when pushed like the dingoo shoulders. Unfortunately using them requires a conscious effort to click and while not bad, they could have been better. No problems with any buttons not registering or anything like that.

    Touchscreen:
    Really nice, crisp and clear. Could be brighter perhaps but no complaints from me. Viewing angles are awesome from every angle, and ghosting is minimal. Very receptive to the stylus with only a light tap needed to register. The stylus tip could do with some smoothing out, it feels a little scratchy.

    Hinge:
    Meh, I don't like the hinge much. It is not very rigid unless it is locked, but it only locks when opened 180 degrees. the 5-10 degrees before it locks are not very secure, the hinge tries to pull the screen into the locked position. I'll get used to it, but it's annoying. Wish they'd used a hinge like the DS with 2 locking positions.

    Other bits:
    The volume control is an analogue wheel and I love it. It is recessed just enough so that it won't turn when the Pandora is in your pocket, but it's easy to reach when you want to change the volume. The volume doesnt go as loud as a DS but it's OK. The speakers are clear and crisp sounding, but lack any proper bass for obvious reasons. SD slots are easy to use and the cards click nicely when inserted. They sit almost completely flush to the front of the case. Power switch works fine too, no complaints.

    The Software

    Booting time is around 40 seconds or so, but it is said that this will decrease to ~15-20 seconds with some optimisation. The OS looks smart and for someone who has never used Linux before it feels very familiar and is easy to use. It is not very finger friendly, so the stylus or nubs are needed to navigate around. Unfortunately the OS is very rough around the edges at the moment and I have succeeded in making it crash numerous times. I have no doubt that everything will be ironed out in good time. A hotfix has already been released to fix some bugs, and a second is in the works as I type. I havent actually used the minimal menu yet (I completely forgot about it until I started typing this) so I can't comment on it.

    Conclusion:

    Although somewhat underwhelmed due to the lack of and some unstable software at the moment, (waiting for Mupen64Plus and PSX4All in particular) I am very happy with my Pandora. There are things I would have done differently (namely the hinge and the shoulder buttons) but considering this is their first foray into the world of manufacture then the result is incredible. The unit feels solid and looks the part and I cannot wait to see what software is in store for us as time goes by.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

     
  2. clegion

    Member clegion GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    whoa nice, anyone knows when would be the next order?
     
  3. gibberish
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    Member gibberish GBAtemp Regular

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    craigix said they'll be opening batch 2 pre-orders in a month or 2, for august/september delivery.
    and a third batch in december. i would be more inclined to assume that batch 2 will ship november/december time though tbh.
     
  4. clegion

    Member clegion GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    do you think the build quality would be better? or just the same
    i know software would probably get better
     
  5. gibberish
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    Member gibberish GBAtemp Regular

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    the build quality is great already.
    but yes, the software is being improved all the time, so the longer you wait the better it'll be. it's perfectly usable at the moment, but you can make it crash by using certain apps in certain ways.
     
  6. Sonicslasher

    Member Sonicslasher In Law we trust.

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    It looks a bit smaller than I thought it'd be (in a good way). I might have to order one of those when my birthday comes around ^-^
     
  7. Overlord Nadrian

    Banned Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    If anyone's interested in sponsoring poor little me so I can buy one of these beasts, feel free to do so! [​IMG]

    Nice review mate, very detailed! [​IMG]
     
  8. ProtoKun7

    Global Moderator ProtoKun7 GBAtemp Time Lord Regenerations: 3

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    Yeah, who wants to Gift me one? [​IMG]

    When I first saw it I thought it could be quite a neat thing, but it is a bit expensive. I could easily afford it, but I tend to hesistate when it comes to big purchases like that.

    If they were on ShopTemp...[​IMG]
     
  9. clegion

    Member clegion GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    i would buy one NOW, seriously supporting GBAtemp plus pandora?
     
  10. Sop

    Banned Sop groovy dude lmao

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  11. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

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  12. Sop

    Banned Sop groovy dude lmao

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    Oh.. Sorry.
     
  13. Sop

    Banned Sop groovy dude lmao

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    Gotta get me one of these. They look sick.
     

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