As time goes on, mobile devices have grown ever more powerful in their function: what were once simple communication devices or multimedia players have turned into tiny pocket-sized supercomputers that are jam-packed with features. And nothing exemplifies this trend more than the TVA TemPad, which packs in temporal tracking and manipulation abilities that give the most ordinary of owners powers that surpass even the mightiest of heroes.
Spoilers for Loki’s first season ahead
Unlike most modern devices, the TemPad aims for an almost retro-futuristic design. Despite featuring dual displays on both the exterior and interior of the device, the TemPad itself is clad in a warm wood and brass finish that’s reminiscent of a simpler time. Broadly speaking, the TemPad harkens back to a pre-iPhone era: the external touchscreen, matched with an internal display and physical keys, brings to mind older devices like 2007’s LG Voyager and a time before blank, featureless touchscreen slates dominated the market.
Instead of a full QWERTY keyboard, though, the TemPad only offers a doubled numpad, along with an oddly shaped D-pad and a dedicated Miss Minutes button. But the TemPad is primarily controlled through the spherical black control surface, which works as a tappable button with additional gestures. A cutout in the top display also cleverly allows it to be used when the device is closed.
The TemPad puts that external display to good use, both for showing its standard suite of apps (like those used to track branching nexus events and the shattering of time and space) as well as a Galaxy Note-esque memo feature that allows for quick doodling on the external touchscreen. Notably, the TemPad also offers the ability to automatically animate and then project those drawings as 3D holograms, a decidedly unique feature compared to most other mobile hardware.
The TemPad hardware also offers you a wide variety of storage options: the device can be simply pocketed, of course, but the TVA also offers both a belt-mounted and a clever wrist-mounted case option for keeping your pad close at all times.
The flagship feature on the TemPad is its ability to create Timedoors, glowing orange doors that let you traverse the boundless realm of space and time, hopping between timelines and alternate realities more or less at will. It’s an incredibly useful feature, one that helps make up for the TemPad’s limited application support, lack of an App Store, and poor hardware design.
Battery life on the TemPad leaves much to be desired
Battery life on the TemPad also leaves much to be desired. Timedoors, in particular, use up a lot of power, leaving one at risk of getting stranded in all manner of unfortunate locations. Exacerbating this is the fact that recharging a pad is also extremely difficult — requiring something akin to “the power source to a civilization’s only hope” to power it back up again, a markedly more difficult task than finding a USB-C brick with high enough wattage to support fast-charging on most devices.
Like many mobile devices, the TemPad features a smart digital assistant, Miss Minutes, which works across a variety of TVA technologies and devices. Unlike Siri or Bixby, though, Miss Minutes is a semi-sentient artificial intelligence, capable of responding intelligently to queries. Miss Minutes is used to help compensate for some of the TemPad’s limitations, offering a way to look up older records without resorting to tedious text inputs. Tasks occasionally take longer than usual, however, as the assistant has been known to have her own plans.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in the TemPad is its decidedly low-resolution display technology. While most phones and laptops opt for colorful LCDs or vibrant OLED panels, the TemPad features a rather uninspired two-tone orange-on-black display. Text is chunky, images are rendered at a frustratingly low resolution, and maps for tracking variants are vague 2D outlines. Video playback, while possible, leaves much to be desired, requiring that you zoom in on portions of a video just to be able to discern identifiable features in some cases.
The TemPad is also unfortunately fragile for a mobile device, with at least one device shattering into a spark- and smoke-spewing pile after a rough fall. Given the active intended audience for the TemPad, a little more rugged durability would be nice to see on future models.
Continuing its throwback design, the TemPad’s UI resembles that of an early Palm OS (a similarity that’s only exacerbated by the low-resolution, two-tone display). The home screen only displays four apps at once; the default offerings include the flagship Timedoor application, Settings, Directory, and the Miss Minutes assistant. The UI is occasionally difficult to manage, though, making it easy for you to accidentally open Timedoors to undesired locations when not taking the proper care to select a destination.
Another misstep with the TemPad is the heavy reliance on enterprise-level software. While the ability to track timeline variants and analyze the impact of branching nexus events is no doubt useful to TVA agents and judges, the average consumer isn’t going to get much use out of those features. More conventional contact and mapping applications would go a long way toward making the TemPad a more useful day-to-day device.
Verge Score 8.8 out of 10
- Tasteful design
- Useful digital assistant
- Complete control over travel through time and space
- For all time
- Poor battery life
- Limited availability
- No app store
Another issue with the TemPad is availability: right now, the device is only accessible by TVA agents who have been kidnapped by a nefarious organization and brainwashed to enforce a single instance of reality, mercilessly pruning anyone or anything that stands in the way of that goal. It’s a decidedly steep price to have to pay for the hardware, especially given that it still can’t play TikTok videos.