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This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

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If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

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SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

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Thursday
May272010

My Open Pandora Handheld arrived - Was it worth the wait?



30th September 2008 was an expensive day for me. The iPhone 3G (which had been available on contract since July in the UK) was released as a  Pay As you go phone for £399 for the 16gb model. I bought this in the morning before work and then spent the rest of the day refreshing my internet connection waiting for the Open Pandora pre-orders to start. As soon as they did, I put in my order - another £207 gone.

I had been eagerly awaiting the Open Pandora console since it was announced a number of months earlier. At that time the main interest for me was a cheap web-capable mini netbook with good retro game capabilities. I also planned to use it as a video player to attach to a Pico projector for viewing films when  travelling. The anticipated ship date was November 2008 - so this was to be my Christmas 2008 gift to myself.

It was a surprisingly different computer landscape back then - notebooks were the big thing -  the 900 Asus eeepc had just come out. The iPhone app store had only just launched and although it showed early promise - no one knew what a game changer it was to become.

The Open Pandora got delayed due to countless problems with suppliers etc - and the ship date slipped and slipped. On a number of occasions I contemplated cancelling my order - but the fear of losing my place in the queue for something so unique (and due any month) made me wait it out.

As the months moved on my iPhone became more and more essential as each app made incremental improvements to its functionality. The idea of using the Pandora with a USB 3G dongle to view the internet began to seem old fashioned especially when the iPhone did it so well. Websites started to have iPhone friendly versions or apps like Wikipedia or Ebay put the online content inside a smart wrapper.

Playing my xvids became a lot easier on the iphone due to the appearance of simple video conversion programs. But I didn't need to convert downloaded TV shows to entertain myself any more as my daily train commute started to consist of watching video podcasts. These have exploded in abundance, subject matter diversity and quality over the last couple of years. In addition the iPhone made me drop my old habit of playing DS games. The iPhone games got better and better whilst simultaneously getting cheaper and the DS got put in a drawer.

So all the main reasons for me buying a Pandora got stripped away, one by one. The retro-games, the internet, the video.

So why did I hold on and wait it out, I don't really know why.  I still like the idea of a PC (of sorts) in my pocket. In a couple of days I'm visiting a family member to sort out their wifi router settings and the Pandora will be totally adequate to do this job (no need to take the laptop).  When I next go on holiday, I will use it to backup my video camera's memory cards to an external hard drive. I'm sure many more unexpected uses will crop up too - but there is one experience that has made me understand why products like this must succeed…..

When it first arrived, I turned it on and it started to boot, it seemed to be taking too long,  so I restarted it. I found out later that this was the wrong thing to do - the first few units needed to have an initial 10 minute boot to install the o/s - I'd interrupted this feature and I'd now messed up my install and it wouldn't boot up at all. I posted my problem to the openpandora forums  late in the evening- within a few minutes a couple of people suggested that I needed to reflash the firmware. Where could I get this firmware? I replied - then I got an answer from one of the creators of the Open Pandora - 'EvilDragon'- he explained how to do the flash (a simple procedure for the 'unbrickable' Pandora) and advised they were uploading the firmware. Sure enough in a few minutes 'Notaz' (another of Pandora's founding fathers) uploaded the firmware to the thread and a few minutes after that I had a fully functioning device.

So that's why the Pandora needs to be a success. The people who made it really do care about it. They may have had some setbacks along the way but there is a big community of people who wanted an open standard games machine and they have finally got their wish. It's very easy to be critical of things - but sometimes you come across people who really need and deserve your support.

Now I can't  programme code or design games (I'm very much the end-user in this relationship). However I 've tried to support this project in my own small way, firstly by waiting in the queue, rather than dropping out, and secondly by making a video to spread the word. So here is the worlds first HD youtube video of the Open Pandora (probably).  It's rather rushed - but I just wanted to get something out there asap, enjoy.

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Reader Comments (10)

Hey!

Thats a very nice and unique little pre-review and of course a good video, especially because you mention the fast solved issue with the firmware. Take that, big players, THIS is how support is meant to be.
I hope you write an in depth review after you tested your pandora for a while.
Surely your pandora will be useful for you, even if you own an Iphone - I mean: It's almost a desktop in a pocket!

bye!
whynodd

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwhynodd

I just wanted to know if it emulates Playstation, Nintendo 64, and Sega Saturn with no problems! =) Can you tell me?

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGuilherme Neto

Ah, and Xbox (the first one) too! =D

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGuilherme Neto

PSX: Emulator is not done yet but there are videos of it running fullspeed. "Upgraded" graphics with texture filters and better resolution are possible on Pandora.

N64: Emulator available but still a bit unoptimized
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVAf0XtFIuk
Also better resolution than original N64 should be possible.

SNES: Works good

Saturn: Never ever 'cause the Saturn has very complicated hardware

Xbox: Nope, Pandora too slow. Pandora is nearly as powerful as an Xbox, but for emulation you need 10times the system power.

Dreamcast: Someone is working on it. Eventually with some hefty optimizations, it maybe could be playable with some games

PSP: Someone is working on an emulator

Lets say everything till Playstation1, maybe Dreamcast can be emulated.
You will find more information here:
www.pandorawiki.org
www.open-pandora.org (in the forums)

double the gun, double the fun ;)

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwhynodd

Thank you for such an interesting review and the best video i have yet seen of this product!!.

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterparodius

Heh, looks like (one of the project founders) Craig Rothwell liked your pre-review:
http://twitter.com/Craigix

Yeah, this is certainly one of the best-written ones around right now. I look forward to reading the full review, when you eventually write one.

By the way, there's a special page just for bug reports:
http://bugs.openpandora.org/

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEsn

@Esn - Sorry your comment got stuck in moderation all day (wordpress held it because it thought it was spam as it had two links in it).
Thanks for the link, you were the first/only person to let me know. As far as a proper review goes, the thing with the Pandora is that it will never really be finished. Its a blank canvas, only as good as the sum of it's applications, so it will be hard to know when to draw a line in the sand and make a proper informed review. Its certainly too early at the moment, as most of the more advanced emus have yet to be released.

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Very nice review, and I'm glad somebody pointed out Craig's response to you. I think many of the games at this site http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=396036 are still in progress, but that gives you an idea of what the community is up to outside of the desktop and emulation scene.

May 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwardred

Hey nice review. Second time I read it. Getting my own Pandora on Tuesday. I was wondering if you could do a part 2 of your pandora review. See how its been having it for a while now. Would be very nice to read what apps games and other things you have been doing with it and also what others around you think of it.

Cheers and glad to soon hold my own.

August 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPoul

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December 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrhjra

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