After unveiling plans to launch a $199 Linux laptop with a Rockchip RK3399 processor earlier this year, the folks at Pine64 have been hard at work designing the hardware and software for the upcoming Pinebook Pro.

Now the team has posted a YouTube video showing off the latest prototype, and demonstrating that it has improved hardware, and support for 4K video playback (something the company’s original Pinebook couldn’t handle).

Pine64 still has some kinks to work out — audio isn’t working on the current motherboard, and there are problems with charging, suspend and resume. But it looks like the Pinebook Pro could be ready to ship within months.

The company will offer Ubuntu and Debian operating systems, making the Pinebook Pro one of the more affordable options for folks looking for a Linux-compatible laptop.

With an estimated price tag in the $199 range, the Pinebook Pro looks pretty competitive with entry-level Chromebooks. It’s clearly not designed to be a high-end laptop, but it does have decent specs for a computer in this price range, including:

  • 14 inch, 1080p IPS display
  • Magnesium Alloy body
  • Rockchip RK3399 processor with Mali-T860 MP4 graphics
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC (upgradeable)
  • PCIe x4 to m.2 NVMe SSD (with optional adapter)
  • MicroSD card slot (bootable)
  • USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and USB Type-C ports
  • Stereo speakers, mic, webcam, headphone jack
  • 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
  • 10,000 mAh battery

The Pinebook Pro is also an upgrade over the original Pinebook in a number of key ways. Not only does it support hardware-accelerated 4K video and 3D graphics, but the new model also has twice as much RAM, more storage, and keyboard and touchpad improvements (including an ISO keyboard that will be easier for non-English speakers to customize for regional layouts).

If you’re looking for a cheap Linux computer with similar specs, but don’t need it to be a laptop, Pine64’s RockPro64 single-board computer is already available for $60 and up.

The Pinebook Pro laptop is just one of several new devices Pine64 is working on this year. Others include the PinePhone smartphone, the PineTab 2-in-1 tablet, and updates to its single-board computer lineup.

via CNX-Software and ameriDroid

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27 replies on “Pinebook Pro update: The $199 Linux laptop is almost ready to go”

  1. I have been using Debian Jessie, Stretch and now Buster on my MSI GP72 6QE – no issues at all, also on my Acer V3 731 which is now 7 years and going strong with Debian stable, plus my wife’s Asus Zenbook running Debian Stretch and earlier computers such as HP and Compaq all running Linux with no sound issues. I don’t use suspend and resume and shutdown and startup are much faster, but unless I’m traveling, I only shutdown for a reboot every three or four months when there is a kernel update. The Pinebook Pro looks great for people without lots of money to buy more expensive computers.

  2. Whoa. A linux laptop. Cool.

    Actually I’d be fine with trying out their current non-pro 11″ version, if it had more than 2 gigs of RAM, a better keyboard and wouldn’t have warnings all over the place that there may be dead pixels… Yes it’s cheap but nothing is cheap enough to warrant dead pixels in 2019.

  3. Looks like the perfect platform for more arm development, per Mr. Torvald’s predictions. Also, can we please get a keyboard with the “|\” key where it should be, and not have a delete key in its place? That’d be terrific. Perhaps that’s just the UK keyboard we’re seeing in the demo unit.

  4. Specs seem good for this price point. Especially the IPS display. More RAM would be nice, even if it cost a bit more. Perhaps that will be optional.

    1. Yes , I don’t know what people are complaining about. You can’t even run windows with 4 GB ram.

  5. Although ain’t UMPC, this will give more headaches to long delayed Pyra now that a Linux laptop will be available at way much less than the price of Pyra itself.

  6. Looks like a great Linux machine and I hope they sell tonnes of it.

    They will need to seriously improve their ordering system because ordering/purchasing experience of the 1st gen Pinebook was horrible (first you send request that you want to order, then wait 1-2 months when they notify you about the next batch then you may order, most of it in email).

    Would be nice if they could reach continuous production and sell on ebay or similar professional storefront.

  7. I’d be interested in getting this if it was a handheld. I guess there’s the Pyra but I’m not expecting that being released this or even next year.

    1. The Flip not a bad machine but has some major differences compared to the Pinebook Pro.

      It has a small, and lower res 10″ screen instead of the 14″, fullHD screen of the PBP. While it is more portable, it is also worse to use as a “normal” laptop. I consider 11.6″ as the minimum for any work-style laptop. 10.1″ is more suitable for content consumption.

      It runs ChromeOS which is an advantage for average consumers (has Android apps) but it is a disadvantage if you want a full blown Linux desktop because ChromeOS Crostini is limited in that regard. The PBP is more geared towards Linux users who don’t want to compromise on the desktop environment and want to own the device fully like they used to on x86 laptops.

    2. …. I think the point was that I’d be we’d be happy to run this as a chrome book at that price, which is cheaper than most equivalents around (and irrespective of it’s partially complete Linux capabilities.)

      – Although I’ve got used to touchscreens now, and hard to feel comfortable using any laptop without one, the one gap for me.

  8. “audio isn’t working on the current motherboard, and there are problems with charging, suspend and resume.”

    This description of their Hardware problems is a summary of almost every experience I’ve ever had working with Linux as a primary OS

    1. You should try it again this decade. I haven’t had a problem with recognizing hardware for years and run Linux Mint on 4 different computers.

    2. From frequenting various Linux tech blogs/forums, yeah, at least Wi-Fi, suspend/resume and power management has always been and still is a problem. It’s usually okay on old hardware (well somewhat popular hardware that Linux devs used so they fixed it for themselves) though. This typical Linux experience hasn’t changed for years still.

      It’s the usual comment I hear “Linux is working great except…”.

    3. Not my experience.

      Everything works near flawless on my Dell XPS 9360 and multiple other laptops I manage in the family. We use Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04 and Linux Mint editions based on those.

    4. Yup, still the same desktop Linux story for years now. Unless you get the “right” hardware, you’ll get the typical graphics, power consumption/battery life, suspend/resume, Wi-Fi and other issues that enthusiasts will just gloss over when telling people “everything’s work fine.”

      With that said, I still use Linux distros for desktop/notebook use but acknowledge things aren’t as peachy as some may claim.

      1. Lately I’ve been enjoying the experience of Linux apps via Crostini on Chromebooks. It’s truly a marvelous thing

    5. Dell XPS 13 9350 here, no such problems. Even bluetooth via the broadcom wifi/bluetooth card works which is amazing. My work macbook on the other hand… well, it hasn’t been too bad, but the wifi’s only 95% reliable whereas the dell’s more like 99%. Not sure why.

      1. Great for people who can afford an XPS or a MacBook. This PineBook Pro is for people on a budget, clearly.

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