Thursday, 21 May 2020

Looking for a single board low cost 'travel' laptop for everyday web surfing?

I was looking for a raspberry pi laptop, the idea that you can have a single board computer with every component inside screwed down and thus being upgradable in the future,  I might for example upgrade the pi with a newer board or with add-on modules for different functionality such as a bigger 'SSD' but all I could find was this type of thing... not exactly what I had in mind.


The 'PiTop'

I started to 'google' around the subject and to think about other scenarios, what if I could have a single board mobile phone that I can install any linux operating system onto then connect peripherals via bluetooth or a tablet that can boot from a microSDHC card and be rid of 'Google' spyware
and a laptop that looks like a laptop with decent battery life, runs Ubuntu, and costs little more than an M+S multi-packet of crisps.

Well... I found all I need with 'Pine64.org' that is a very very interesting prospect because I believe that technology should not only be 'open' and community driven but low cost and where i'm not stuck in a 'Google' or 'Apple' proprietary throw away ecosystem bombarded with alerts every 2 minutes. the interesting component are the hardware boards (very similar) to the raspberry pi but have gone a little further.

Some people will say "but I can get all of this on my iphone" but to have a choice of  'form factor' is a major selling point here and that is where it becomes interesting when you look through the online store.

For less than £450 you can own a 'pinephone' a 'pinetab' and a 'pinebook pro', yes...unbelievable value! The organisation actually produce all it's own main boards in the US such as the 'Allwinner A64 Quad Core SOC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU' and the 'Allwinner A64 Quad Core SOC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU' (assembled in Hong Kong) as shown below.

'Allwinner A64 Quad Core SOC'

'Pinephone' remember the price for the specs!.

'Pinetab'.

'Pinebook Pro'.
Both 'Pinephone' and 'Pinetab' booting from microSDHC cards into 'Manjaro' linux.

As with anything there are some downsides. If your a gamer, a Microsoft devotee, you can forget these fairly low powered devices... but for those who want choice, security and independence and be able to change the battery and are not too 'brand precious' you may want to give these guys a serious look the build quality 'v' price is excellent. Will let you know my verdict soon.

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