For almost as long as Raspberry Pi has been selling tiny single-board computers, folks have been turning them into tiny laptops. But the hgTerm handheld might be one of the most impressive DIY mini PCs I’ve seen to date.

It’s a pocket-sized computer with a 4 inch touchscreen display, a 270 degree hinge that lets you flip it around backward, a thumb keyboard, and a 3D printed case. The whole thing runs on battery power for hours at a time, and the brains of the operation is a Raspberry Pi 3.

Igor Brkić, the developer of the project, has posted a series of videos showing the hgTerm being used for activities ranging from Arduino programming to running PlayStation games.

In order to make the hgTerm as small as possible, the developer actually stripped away a few Raspberry Pi components including the Ethernet port, HDMI port, and most of the USB ports, since they aren’t needed when using the mini laptop. There’s also a tiny copper heatsink placed atop the processor to help with thermal management.

The 4 inch, 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touchscreen display connects to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins. And the device’s tiny backlit keyboard connects via Bluetooth.

Power comes from a Xiaomi 5,000 mAh power bank which was ripped apart, scavenged for pieces, and reassembled inside the case. It accounts for much of the little computer’s weight.

You can find more details about the construction, software, and performance at the hgTerm project website.

via Hackaday


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7 replies on “hgTerm converts a Raspberry Pi into a versatile handheld computer”

  1. So it is a 4″ smartphone with a Bluetooth keyboard and gpio

    Rocket science not !

    1. Really it should be 4″ tablet, as RPI tart has no 2g, 3g, 4g or gsm.

  2. I added a toggle power button to my RPi 3b+ to allow it to be plugged in all the time (pulls 10mA when shutdown). No button push when shutting down (just like a PC). Just push the button to boot. Used dtoverlay=gpio-shutdown.
    I’m wondering if they used the same approach when they connect their battery.

    1. The real problem is the raspberry pi was just not designed for battery power. It has no real sleep mode in the cpu or compatible PMIC built in to make it throttle at low use.

  3. The form factor is a little different, but this reminds me of the old Nokia N810 “Internet tablet” — both little Linux devices with 4″ capacitive touchscreens and thumb keyboards (though the Nokia was a slider rather than a mini-clamshell). I absolutely love it.

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