Pine64 has been selling cheap Linux laptops for a few years, and now the company is getting ready to launch something a little… less cheap.
With a target price of $199, the upcoming Pinebook Pro certainly isn’t a high-end computer. But for about twice the price of the original Pinebook you get a full HD display, twice the RAM, much more storage, and a significantly more powerful processor.
The company says unlike its first laptops, the Pinebook Pro is a computer that could theoretically replace your existing laptop as a daily driver… assuming you’re looking for a computer that runs open source software. Think of the Pinebook Pro as a sort of Chromebook that runs GNU/Linux-based operating systems like Debian rather than Google’s Chrome OS.
Pine64 hasn’t announced when you’ll be able to buy one yet, but the company says the Pinebook Pro is coming “later this year.” In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the spec sheet:
- 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD display
- Black magnesium alloy chassis
- Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor (ARM Cortex-A72 + Cortex-A53)
- 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM
- 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage
- SD card slot
- PCIe x4 M.2 slot with support for optional NVMe SSDs
- USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports including a USB-C port with 4K/60Hz video out support
- 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2
- 10,000 mAh battery
- Stereo speakers, audio jack microphone, and 2MP camera
The Pinebook Pro will ship standard with 64GB of eMMC storage, but members of the Pine64 user forums will get a free upgrade to 128GB.
Pine64 has also announced a bunch of other new products ahead of FOSDEM 2019, including a new 2-in-1 tablet called the PineTab. It’s basically got the guts of the 11.6 inch Pinebook laptop that the company currently sells for $99, but in a tablet form factor and with a detachable keyboard. And the company has revealed that it has a development kit for its previously announced PinePhone… and that the goal is to eventually sell the phone for just $149.
I’d rush to them with my lunch money in 2017.
In 2019 it’s a bit hard to be excited about a 3399 laptop with 4gb of soldered on ram.
Don’t get me wrong, proper nvme support on 3399 is pretty cool and getting the gpu to work on a modern kernel is an impressive achievement, if it materializes.
But in absolute terms, it’s, well, okay. A bit too big to larp a ME-free hacker, 10″ with the same peripherals would have been better.
If they had a version with 8GB, then i would be really interested
They have got to be kidding. They put the ‘real’ non Apple inspired keyboard on the tablet and this gets the same crap keyboard every other laptop has? Really? Almost like there is some invisible force mandating all “laptop” class computers must have this lousy design but they don’t care about tablets?
tablet has fn in the corner, and a vertical enter key.. if that’s better, I’m missing something. The full sized arrow keys are nice, I’ll admit.
Look closer, the pictured unit isn’t a US layout. I’m referring to chicklet vs traditional laptop keyboard key design.
Build quality is really important for longevity of a device. Also Intel linux support is really, really good. I want to like this product, I really do, but building a durable notebook requires a lot of experience.
This is what I wanted to address, too. The screen, the keyboard and the touchpad don’t seem to be premium compared to the cheap model… which is made of pretty cheap components.
It’s also $200 so I wouldn’t expect it to be built of anything but cheap components.
If this is anything like the first pinebook, it will be exceptional value for the money but still not matching a $700 laptop.
$200 Chromebooks usually have nice keyboards and touchpads. Nicer than $200 Windows notebooks, as Google mandates Chromebook makers to install quality inputs. Chromebook makers can afford to do so by saving the Windows-license fee, which you have to pay if you make a usual Windows notebook. Speaking of Acer Chromebooks, they come with IPS screens as well, even at this price point.
There is no such thing as an Acer Chromebook that lists for less than $200. The cheapest one on their site was on sale at $210 and it only has 16 GB of storage.
Intel Linux support might be good but this laptop runs on ARM. How good is Linux support on Rockchip ?
Generally, Rockchip’s Linux support is not very good but the RK3399 is an exception because this has already been used in multiple Chromebooks models and is one of the “open source” line of SOCs at Rockchip which means much better technical documentation and kernel support than on the average Rockchip SOC. Most of their features are supported on their 4.4 kernel and they have a lot of features supported in the mainline kernel (https://opensource.rock-chips.com/wiki_Status_Matrix).
This is the main reason why all of the more powerful hacker SBCs are based on the RK3399 atm. It has two fairly powerful Cortex-A72 cores and 4 low-power A53 cores in addition to the strong Linux kernel support. About 3-4 times stronger than the SOC in the Pi and also has roper storage support (NVMe and SATA interfaces). Many of the RK3399 boards have been benchmarked with very good compute and storage performance.
The board of the Pinebook Pro is likely a variant of the RockPro64 SBC (also from Pine64) which probably means very good Linux support by the time it gets released.
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