March 5th, 2013
Well, I promised, so time for a gadget update!
The keyboard is working out great. So great in fact I haven’t bothered switching back to the Model M since I got it, and I just took the M back down to the basement. It’s noisier than a rubber dome – especially the way I type, I bottom out a lot of the time – but still a lot quieter than the M. Zero problems to report, consider the Leopold keyboards to have the highly sought-after HA Seal of Approval.
The tablet showed up too. It turns out to be a demonstration of my reading comprehension issues, as apparently I ordered an Ainol Venus (also referred to as the ‘Flame II’), not a Flame. So it doesn’t have the SoC I was hoping for, which is a shame, but my own silly fault. It has an Atmel quad-core processor, apparently, which is about as fast as but completely different from the dual-core in the Flame II.
As an Android tablet, it seems to be fine. The stock firmware is a bit slow, but there’s an update which makes things a lot smoother. The firmware update process is somewhat hairy (and entirely Windows-dependent, unfortunately) – reminds me of upgrading the firmware on old Windows phones five years ago, nothing at all like the typical and fairly smooth process for third-party ROMs with a third-party recovery – but if you follow the instructions someone posted in the thread, it’s easy enough. I expect a CM build will show up at some point, but the updated stock firmware actually seems fine; it’s rooted out of the box, not loaded up with crapware, pretty recent (4.1) and doesn’t seem buggy. The only thing that worries me somewhat is the encryption option is missing from Settings…on a tablet from a random Chinese vendor…hmm. Well, I like living dangerously! If this blog suddenly starts hosting enthusiastic posts about road building operations in Guangzhou, you’ll know why.
The hardware’s fine, much more polished than the early generation of craplets – it could pass fine as something from HTC or Samsung or Acer or any other typical brand if you filed the logos off. The touchscreen is responsive, the display is nice (if a tad glossy), the sound works, there’s really nothing to complain about. It does the job.
Unfortunately I decided to use Angry Birds: Star Wars to ‘test the gaming capabilities’. I have been testing the gaming capabilities religiously and to the exclusion of sleep and food for about the last two days (I exaggerate…but only slightly). Now I remember why I took that solemn vow not to play addictive puzzle games; my ability to resist addiction is so low it’s comic and tragic at the same time. Must…get…three…stars…
Footnote – if anyone wondered what my take on this whole Canonical Mir kerfuffle was: