Disappointing stuff about the Pepper Pad 3

Pp3_final

You knew this was coming. From the moment I unboxed my Pepper Pad 3 (PP3) six weeks ago, I’ve been promising a review that was chock full of negativity. It may not be a great way to start off the year, but it was inevitable.

So to complete my alliterative review series, which began with the delightful and continued with the decent, this final PP3 write-up details all of the disappointing (though not disastrous) determinants of the device.

General

Too warm. When plugged in, the right side of the PP3 becomes uncomfortably warm when in use. This may be exclusive to the black unit, though, because I didn’t notice the issue with the white one. In fact, while compiling a list of my first impressions with the white device, I jotted down "runs cool." I remember being particularly impressed with this because the PP3 doesn’t have any vents. According to Carrypad, this is because it’s "passively cooled using a metal heat spreader and natural heat dissipation through the casing."

Hardware

No memory card slot. I always appreciate a memory card slot, regardless of the type. Even though the PP3 has a fine USB import function, I would rather transfer (for example) images directly from my digital camera’s memory card than through a separate USB cable or thumb drive.

No hold/lock switch. I know that the PP3 is intended for home use and not for toting around in a gear bag, but the fact that Pepper includes a zippered carrying pouch as an accessory indicates that the device is meant to leave the house sometimes. Without the ability to lock the power button, I need to be very deliberate when packing and traveling with my PP3. Even if I don’t plan to use it until I reach my final destination, I have to place it on top of everything else in my bag to avoid the (albeit) off chance of accidentally turning on the system and draining the battery.

No LED indicators. Without at least a HDD indicator, there’s no way to tell whether the PP3 is hanging, crashing, or just working slowly. The same is true for the Bluetooth radio; I never know if Bluetooth is on, off, and/or connected to anything.

A dedicated Bluetooth icon next to the battery and Wi-Fi icons ones would work just as well.

Integrated camera. What’s the point of the built-in VGA camera? Given its placement above the left keypad, it would be perfect for video chatting . . . if the PP3 were actually capable of recording video. If the camera were designed exclusively for still photography, it would’ve been on the back of the PP3.

Pepper is supposedly working on adding video functionality, which is great, but I think the feature should’ve been included before launch.

Other

Limited Bluetooth support. This should change eventually, but right now the PP3 supports only mice and keyboards via Bluetooth. Dial-up networking and headset support are not yet available, though I believe the company is making progress in the lab.

Conclusion

Yeah, so this "disappointing stuff" review isn’t particularly juicy. And you’ve probably already guessed why: the Pepper Pad 3 is just about perfect. It still has room for improvement, of course, but not much. If Pepper continues to release outstanding updates, company chief executive Len Kawell may be right in his prediction that devices like the Pepper Pad will one day "be as common in American homes as TVs, with one in nearly every room."

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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