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Pinebook Pro first impressions

rrees profile image Robert Rees ・2 min read

The Pinebook Pro is a pre-installed Linux Laptop that aims at the low-end of the market where Chromebooks are popular. There's a commitment to open source software and hardware and being accessible outside of hobbyists. It cost me less than £300 including import taxes and fees and was delivered quickly direct from China.

My initial impression of the build quality is good, it's better than most budget laptops (like the HP Stream and the Chromebooks you get in the £250 range). It was definitely nice to have a UK keyboard.

I hadn't used the pre-installed Manjaro OS before and it is, as advertised, simple and straight-forward if not particularly sexy.

Installing Firefox and doing a bit of web browsing has been straight-forward and unlike other low-end laptops you seem to be able to get a lot of tabs going.

The two biggest problems I've encountered are suspension and wifi. Compared to the other laptops I use the connection to wifi is much shorter and temperamental.

Closing the lid on the laptop or suspending it doesn't seem to affect the power consumption and therefore if you don't complete stop the laptop then if you leave it unplugged overnight it runs out of power. On top of that it takes a long time to charge so it really isn't a great portable solution.

I haven't tried any more demanding tasks of it than consumer applications so far. When it has power it is doing a good job but I've fallen back on using an ex-Windows laptop running an old version of Elementary to write this, which isn't a good sign.

The Pinebook is an amazing achievement in terms of creating an open low-cost laptop and I don't want to diminish that achievement but it is frustrating that the result isn't as portable as it could or arguably should be.

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