Patriot PBO Alpine review!
Here is my initial review of the PBO Alpine.
Below is a picture of it on the old PBO as well as a picture of the remote. The Photos aren't Great but you'll get the idea. The picture may not illustrate it but they are lined up to the back right corner.
The build quality:
Patriot stepped away from the aluminum enclosure of the PBO for a plastic design which I think we all knew and that doesn't really bother me. The remote just doesn't cut it, it is just small and cheap feeling and is missing 0-9 number pad. Thankfully I have a harmony One but for those who use it, it feels awkward and to small.
I had Extremely high hopes for this media player as I LOVE android on my phone and tablet and maybe with the new firmware coming out and some tweaks I will love this too.
First I set the date and time manually and while testing I turned it of a couple times. both times when I turned it on (all while plugged in) it didn't keep the date and time. the first time it went back to the 10th and skipped ahead ~3 hours and the second time I turned it off and back on the date stayed right but kipped ahead ~5 hours??? I am not sure what to think about that. Today I went out and got a patriot wireless USB adapter and it now keeps the right time but still when I turn it off and back on the time is wrong and it takes 10-20 seconds for it to update to the right time.
Browsing through my media seemed to be a challenge, on my old PBO I was running medebo and I could punch in say 400 and it would skip to the 400th file or I could skip page by page if I so chose. With the Alpine and the limited remote with no number pad I have no way of just skipping to a file and I tried every button and there was no skip page by page. Holding the down arrow also does nothing you have to manually hit the down button 600 times if you want the 600th file. Maybe I am missing something or maybe they just need to add some flexibility in this department because it just feels very restricted and slow trying to brows through a bunch of files.
On to playing a movie, fast forward goes up to 64x which is nice and id does so quickly, and if you leave the movie and come back to it it has the resume feature but again the lack of the number pad is a problem for me on my old one I could just skip to a point say 45 minutes in and now I have to sit there and just fast forward. it also seems to have a problem playing MP4s out of the 5 I tried two weren't synced with the audio while I know they both worked on the old PBO, two basically crashed the box, it would go straight back to the home screen and the last one I tried worked fine so there seems to be a problem here. So far MKVs seemed to work fine.
Youtube seemed to work flawlessly, this is a nice addition and when you chose a video you are prompted to chose which resolution you want depending on what is available for that video. It would be nice you have the netflix app preloaded also.
My Asus Wireless USB adapter didn't work at all so I had to go out and buy a Patriot one. Being constructed out of plastic it would have been nice if Patriot would have added WIFI internally though. I think a 10 dollar price increase it would have been well worth it and a good selling feature too.
Another problem I encountered was twice now I lost all audio both playing movies and in Youtube requiring a reboot to solve it.
I also Miss being able to display information for every movie like I had with Medebo. but seeing the post below me from patriotben it looks like something nice is coming down the pipes in this regard.
I Know it is a brand new device and most or all the quirks will be ironed out but so far I am quite disappointing in this product which has so much potential running android. Hopefully Patriot will come out with an update soon because right now it is basically a $100 youtube player. for now I will stick with the old PBO but I still have my fingers crossed that this will be my media player of the future.
Update: so it still seems they rushed the product to market with little to no testing and it seems I'm not the only one with issues. I still have believe that with the new firmware it can still be a good media player. I do have some good news though now. I just got my mini wireless keyboard. The Rii Touch N7 and I must say it has improved my life in the alpine house. youtube is much easier to type in and navigate. The browser is also much easier to use however without flash I feel like I am in apple land and the pesky onscreen keyboard still showing. It also makes navigating through my vast amounts if files easier with the scroll feature unfortunately the scroll is a little sensitive but I still like it.
Here is a picture:
Last edited by lp_Stealth; 04-20-2012 at 01:12 AM.
Reason: add info
Thank you for taking the time to review the PBO Alpine. Here are some things we just wanted to address in your initial review and findings...
The Build Quality:
The goal was to make an entry level, budget sensitive, Android product. We were going for a basic design due to the feedback from the previous remote. We also did program the firmware to work with the old PBO remote too...
This is a skinned generic firmware with all of the media playing features, BUT we are developing new firmware for it that will utilize the Android platform much better. Honestly it will be a world of a difference. There will be an Alpha firmware release next week. I would recommend holding on to the unit until you play with the new firmware which looks similar to below:
Movie info and a number of other features will be built into this prototype firmware. Basically we’ll have official firmware revisions that resolves bugs and other general items, and then we’ll also have community driven, patriot built firmware with all of the bells and whistles. We can name this prototype firmware "The Matrix firmware" for distinction sake. When it’s community approved and well past beta-stages we’ll roll it out as the official and shipping firmware. Remember, that with the Android-Platform we have a wide array of options and ways to change the product. We hope to build and support this product in a fun and creative matter.
Please keep in mind that we made a big leap from the Realtek chipset to a Fujitsu based decoder. The picture quality is much better on this compared to the original PBO core, and that’s the most important thing. Fujitsu’s reputation in broadcasting and transcoding is what led us to the decision of using this chipset.
We do understand why you would be somewhat disappointed, especially with (Android-based) dual-core phones out there, but keep in mind that this is only a 500MHz media player. For now, we urge you and other users to also take a look at the video quality and allow us the opportunity to show you the next step of this Android-based media player. I think you’ll be quite impressed in the next few weeks when we roll out the Matrix Firmware for Alpha testing. Your feedback would be greatly helpful and appreciated.
EDIT: Here's a link to the Matrix (Alpha) firmware: http://www.patriotmemory.com/forums/...Alpha-Firmware
Thanks for your quick review. Some great observations. Gotto really try it out tonight and try that 64x FF and more importantly gotto use my PBO Core remote to overcome all the issues related to missing and nonfuncting features.
This was my feedback on another forum:
"OK for $90 I figure I give this a try.
- 1080i/p won't work with the AIO Sony PC/TV that we have here, 720p works fine
- no dedicated TV video mode button to switch the video mode so luckily when I was trying to exchange it (looking like a fool when it worked at NCIX) I ask them to switch it to 720p for me just in case
- info button reverts back to home screen so no video details to be seen
- list view for media again can only show 8 lines at a time
- even having a Harmony One I fear that only the few keys on this remotely thing can be mapped manually so typical buttons like, display, info, goto, zoom, and whatever I don't recall right now and hence may never actually use may just not magically appear with an official PBOA Logitech profile
- 40M free internal storage only, 7M gone already after installing 2 apk that are not working for now (PPS, PPTV)
- have not been able to figure out yet how to install apk onto anything but the internal storage (it must be possible?)
- there is an option under app management to move to SD but it is greyed out even when app is shut down (I am not an android user so I may be missing something ...)
- the one USB mouse we had at work did not work
- browser would default to google page and we simply could not figure out how to use the keyboard to move to the address bar to type in the address directly and had to revert to entering the address into the search window
- when typing on a USb keyboard the on-screen keyboard still pops up and blocks 1/3 of the screen
This is what I have observed so far having played with it earlier today during lunch for 30min "
OK so after more playing around I update my original post.
Thanks Patriotben for stepping in I am looking forward to the new firmware. please go over my OP again and see some of the new problems I was having and see if some of these can be addressed in the new firmware.
it seems all the buttons on the remote have to be repeatedly pressed even turning the volume down I can just hold down I have to keep pressing it to turn it down one notch at a time and with scrolling through vast amounts of files it is nearly impossible and frustrating.
Ill be standing by for next weeks release.
Originally Posted by Geil
We posted a quick how to on navigating through the browser here:
To open the text field for URL press the subtitle button.
We will look into the compatibility issue with the Sony TV.
We have submitted our codes to Logitech to be included in their Harmony Series remotes.
In regards to the apk files, we will look into why this is the case. Check out these apk files for now (rar compressed, see top before quote^) while we get the PPS and PPTV to work.
What make and model mouse do you have? Here are some we managed to get to work:
Logitech M-BJ58, Logitech Mk-120, Razer Mamba, Microsoft M20
The unit should also work with the current PBO Core mouse. If the volume button is an issue we'll be glad to get this to you. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, address and phone number. We tested this and verified that holding down the volume works on this.
Originally Posted by lp_Stealth
Thanks for your patience. We are taking a look at the issues you have mentioned, such as the time and date stamp not sticking and hope to get this addressed soon.
As far as the mp4 songs not working, do you have a dropbox account you can send a sample to? We'll be glad to take a look at the file(s) you have. Please advise. We're actually uploading a firmware within the next few days that addresses MP4 issues. You can try this first and if this does not work we can take a look at the file.
Also if having to press the volume button repeatedly is an issue, we'll be glad to get you an extra PBO Core remote. Please send an e-mail to email@example.com with your full name, address and phone number.
We have uploaded the firmware that addresses MP4 issues.
Please try this and let me know if this helps.