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The Sipeed Lichee Console 4A is tiny laptop computer with 7 inch display, a QWERTY keyboard, up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 2TB SSD. It’s also one of the only mini-laptops (or laptops at all) to be powered by a RISC-V processor, thanks to support for a Sipeed LM4A computer-on-a-module with a Alibaba T-Head TH1520 processor.
Sipeed first introduced the Lichee Console 4A earlier this year, and began taking pre-order in October. Now it’s expected to ship by the end of January, and CNX Software reports that “some samples may have already been shipped.”
The Lichee Console 4A is up for pre-order from Sipeed’s AliExpress store, with prices starting at $252 for a barebones model that ships without an LM4A module, for customers that want to provide their own module with a processor, memory, and storage.
Customers can also pay $355 for a model with a TH1520 processor and 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage, $399 for a 16GB/128GB model, or $459 for a 16GB/128GB model that also includes a 1TB M.2 2242 SSD.
At the heart of that LM4A module is a processor featuring four 1.85 GHz XuanTie C910 processor cores. The T-Head TH1520 processor is the same chip used in the $99 Milk-V Meles single-board computer and ROMA Laptop.
All models of the Lichee Pi 4A feature a 7 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display, an aluminum alloy case, a 3,000 mAh battery, a 2MP front-facing camera, stereo speakers, and support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.4.
- 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
- 1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
- 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
- 1 x mini HDMI
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x 3.5mm audio
- 1 x microSD card reader
The Lichee Console 4A measures 185 x 140 x 20mm (7.3″ x 5.5″ x 0.8″)and weighs 720 grams (1.6 pounds) and it’s designed to run Debian Linux software.
Keep in mind that RISC-V architecture is still pretty new, so performance and software support might not be as strong as you’d expect from a device with an x86 or ARM processor. That makes devices like the Lichee Console 4A an interesting device for developers or other folks who really want to kick the tires of RISC-V architecture, but it’s probably not the best option for general users just yet.
Sipeed says the laptop has 72-key keyboard, which seemed a little high to me, so I counted: The company is including the left and right mouse buttons as well as both halves of a split space bar to get to that number.
Still, it’s a QWERTY keyboard designed for touch-typing. And while there’s no room for a trackpad, Sipeed features a “RedPoint” pointing stick that a knockoff of Lenovo’s TrackPoint system.
Aside from the fact that this is one of the only laptops available with a RISC-V processor, it’s also one of only a handful of laptops to feature a modular design: remove the LM4A module and you can place it in another compatible device like a cluster board, tablet, or mini PC.