Be Informed And Earn: Here is PineBook, Pine64's $89 Linux Laptop

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Here is PineBook, Pine64's $89 Linux Laptop

Pine64 is a family of single-board computers and the name of the company that produces them. Their first single-board computer, the Pine A64, was designed to compete with the Raspberry Pi in both power and price. And now the company just released 2 (11 and 14 inches) Linux laptop that is powered by a quadcore AllWinner SoC with 2GB ram and they call it Pinebook. And below is a full specs review of the cheapest Linux Laptop I've ever come across.

First Expressions of PineBook

You'd be surprised that the Pinebook Linux laptop will feel really cheap. You can feel it when you pick it up, you can feel it when you type, and you can feel it as you use the trackpad, and you might less impressed, compared with several other ultrabooks. 

There is no company logo or brand at the back of the PC, which I can't say if this is a voluntary decision by the company or an honest mistake. Be that as it may, the free with the back of the PC give you plenty of uninterrupted space for the stickers of your choice, if of course, they interest you.

Hands-on Review of PineBook Linux Laptop

Most smaller laptops are made off plastics instead of an aluminum body, and I wouldn't hold it against Pine64 for making the Pinebook be an-all-plastic-body, which indeed made the PC to feel and look cheap again, though it does feel sturdy.

There are two physical USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card slot, HDMI mini, and a headphone jack. Pinebook is powered by a 5V DC barrel jack that is rated for 3A, meaning that the laptop is on par with many tablets in terms of power consumption rate, which is natural given its ARM CPU.

Standard QWERTY keyboard layout with the numeric and function keys right above the alphabet keys. What's odd about the layout is that the delete key is directly below the backspace and the power button, and then the backslash key is at the bottom right among the arrow keys.

The keyboard is highly responsive and has a decent tactile feeling when punched. The 5-inch trackpad (which is larger in size) but is rightfully placed and gives a smooth feeling when used.

There is a pair of microphones, accompanied by an inbuilt 0.3-megapixel camera. Naturally, the image quality will be poor but Pine64 compensated users with a 1366×768 screen resolution, and a 10,000mAh Lithium Polymer Battery for both the 11″ and 14″ models. Other specifications of Pinebook are seen in a tabular form below.
pinebook-linux laptop-specs
Upon booting the PC, you'd notice that is comes preloaded with  Ubuntu, and given the slim looks and specs of this device, the Pine64 team opts for Ubuntu Mate.

The Pinebook does have HD display feature, so the question of whether the PC can handle a high-res video has been answered. However, there is a little setback. Videos seemed to play well without dropping its quality while using a native VLC media player, but it turns out that YouTube videos would not play very well and frames started to drop more often than they were played.

The PineBook comes with a utility tool called PINE64 Installer which comes very much in handy for flashing a microSD card with various OSes like Ubuntu Xenial MATE, Android 7.1, Android 6.0, Bliss OS (an Android spin), Armbian, and Q4OS. However, it is important to note that not all these operating systems support installing to the internal eMMC storage and will only run from the microSD card a la Raspberry Pi. 

Final Thoughts on Pine4's PineBook Linux Laptop

This PC can't run Windows OS and it isn't ideal for everybody, but it sure makes a good argument in other areas, such as battery capacity and consumption, compared to a conventional x86 machine. It’s lightweight and thin construction is ideal for anyone looking to keep something cheap and portable for programming and sysadmin needs.

The laptop is cheap and it sure feels cheap, but don't underestimate it, because what is packs inside will blow your mind away. 

The RAM option is quite small if you ask me, and I don't know if that contributed to the sluggishness of the web browsers, which became unresponsive at a point. It’s unclear whether that’s due to a lack of optimizations in the browsers when compiling or if it’s simply a limitation of the AllWinner SoC.

The PINEBOOK Linux Laptop costs $89USD for the 11-inches model and then $99USD for the 14-inches model.

Also Read:   Introducing Manjaro Spitfire, Manjaro Linux Very Own Laptop

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