Nostalgia products seem to be all the rage this year, with re-releases of popular gaming systems, home appliances and now the PDA or for the post 90’s child (personal digital assistant). The team at Planet Computers, want to resurrect the classic “handheld pc” as it was also known, with their modern take on the personal information manager or as they call it – The Gemini PDA.
Post smartphone era, PDA’s were all the rage with the first being released in 1984 by Psion. As popularity grew, so did the feature set, culminating with full qwerty keyboards and Wi-Fi connectivity made largely popular with Nokia’s own 9000 Communicator in the late 90’s. These early touch screen devices often featured software that typically included an appointment calendar, a to-do list, an address book for contacts, a calculator, and some sort of memo (or “note”) program and served as the early framework for most smartphone operating systems we have today. As cellular technology advanced and was adopted by more and more people around the world, sadly these went the way of the dinosaur…until now.
The Gemini PDA is a reimagining of this classic piece of technology with some welcome improvements. With both a Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi plus 4g version available, the folks at Planet Computers are looking to make productivity the focus of your day. The classic metal clamshell form factor includes a full tactile keyboard (based on the original Psion series 5) paired with a generous 5.7-inch display and stereo speakers. The generous battery, sufficient camera and 64gb of storage is powered by a 10-core processor, that can go toe to toe with most midrange smartphones on the market today. The device also runs Android Oreo and is complimented with 4gb of ram to make for a smooth user experience. Connectivity wise, the Gemini also features some of the latest protocols in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity plus Micro SD expansion capability.
After using the device this past few months, we were definitely impressed with the Gemini’s build quality, it is assuredly heavy and the metal clamshell form factor feels like it can take a licking and keep going. The keyboard, although a little cramped though for bigger hands, has good responsiveness and ‘clickiness’; the battery life can easily get you through 2 days and did for us and the OS is familiar and for the most part, pairs well with this set up.
However, there are some caveats, this feels more like a mini laptop than a smartphone with a keyboard and is meant to be used in landscape mode. We were not a fan of the angle of the hinge and wish it was more palpable and as a “phone” you will look ridiculous holding a 6-inch monolithic piece of metal with no external screen to your ear. The Gemini also loses a few points for the front selfie camera being just sufficient for video chat and pretty much nothing else and the lack of an external camera for taking photos, may be a deal breaker for some. To put it simply, you should know what you are buying, before committing.
As a productivity device, however, this is great for those that are always on the go – sending emails, editing documents, making appointments and the like, made better, only by the inclusion of Googles own voice assistant and perhaps this is the point. It is easy to get distracted by everything going on in the world when your smartphone is your workhorse. The Gemini PDA is like having your own minicomputer at your disposal anytime and does many things our smartphones are just not good at, making you in many instances more productive and allow you to use your time more efficiently.
While we can’t see it replacing your smartphone anytime soon, it may be a perfect companion on business trips; a great tool for bloggers and perfect for creative professionals hat need a full keyboard.
For more information go to https://www.planetcom.co.uk/