How’s the Infotainment on the P2P Double-Deck Buses?
Last October, Froelich Tours introduced its new premium double-deck buses for its Point-to-Point (P2P) service along EDSA. These are not the first double-deckers but they are one of the few (if not only) buses in the country that has an in-bus entertainment system. This is not your typical “Video Onboard” bus as each passenger gets their own display. I was able to catch one of these and here is my quick impression during our 1-hour trip from Makati to Quezon City.
To give you first a bigger picture, the photo above is a full shot of the bus’ upper deck where the passenger seats are located. As you can see from the image, each seat gets their own entertainment system. Even those in the front has a display mounted on their handlebars.
The display is a touch panel measuring 7 inches. We’re not exactly sure about its resolution but we can safely it’s around the 720p territory and it’s powered by Android. The display supports swipe gestures and kinetic scrolling just like on a regular consumer tablet. The home screen is similar to the Metro UI of Windows with large colorful tiles. There’s also an option for either English or Chinese language.
Below the display we have two headphone jacks, capacitive buttons for brightness, home and volume, and a full-size USB port. I was able to charge my phone through the USB port but I didn’t get the chance to try out if it can access the phone’s storage.
The first thing I checked out, of course, is the movie catalog. Surprisingly, the list of movies is pretty up to date with films from 2015. There’s not much to choose but I’m not complaining since most of them are blockbuster films including Marvel’s Ant-Man.
You can plug two earphones to the tablet thanks to the dual 3.5mm headphone port which you can share with your seatmate if you feel the need to. The volume output through my basic headphones is okay but they don’t get really loud. This avoids annoying sound leakages with some headphones. As for brightness, you can adjust them accordingly and the curtains help a lot to keep you focused on the screen while watching.
Aside from films, there are also songs loaded to the tablet. Although, the UI is pretty basic and not exactly touch friendly. The available songs are lacking if you’d ask me and it feels like somebody made you a random playlist. It’d be great to have an online player like Spotify onboard.
A small collection of e-books is ready to keep you entertained with written stories. Classic tales like Alice in Wonderland and Beauty and the Beast are present. The e-book reader is functional and it tells your progress in reading the title. Flipping pages is done with a subtle animation mimicking a page turn.
A few games are available too but you’re better off playing those on your phone or personal tablet. You can also browse the web with the built-in browser. Unfortunately, the tablet was not connecting properly to the Internet during our trip.
I must say, the effort of Froelich to provide their P2P clients an entertainment system deserves an applause. Getting stuck in traffic along EDSA during rush hours will never be the same if you’re on these buses.