Thoughts on the pinebook pro

Back in September I pulled the trigger and ordered a pinebook pro.

Long story short: I declare myself a fanboy, the pinebook pro from pine64 is a very capable little machine.

There are a lot of better written and more detailed blog posts/reviews of the pinebook pro out there already but just in case:

For the uninitiated the pinebook pro is an ARM powered laptop (yes, pine64 did it before it was cool) based on the ROCKPro64 single board computer –Think Raspberrypi on steroids– here are the specs:

  • Rockchip RK3399 SOC with Mali T860 MP4 GPU
  • 1080p IPS Panel
  • Magnesium Alloy Shell body
  • Bootable Micro SD Slot
  • 64GB of eMMC (Upgradable)
  • PCIe x4 to m.2 NVMe SSD Slot (requires optional adapter)
  • SPI Flash 128Mbit
  • HD Digital Video Out via USB-C
  • USB 2.0 Host
  • USB 3.0 Host
  • USB-C (Data, Power and Video out)
  • Lithium Polymer Battery (10000mAH)
  • Stereo Speakers
  • WiFi 802.11 AC + Bluetooth 5.0
  • Headphone Jack
  • Microphone
  • Front-Facing Camera (1080p)
  • ISO & ANSI Keyboard Variants
  • Privacy Switches for Camera, Microphones and BT/WiFi Meta + F12/F10/F11 respectively. Silly me had trouble figuring out this one
  • Large Trackpad
  • UART Access via Audio Jack This requires opening the laptop and flipping a switch
  • Barrel Power (5V 3A) Port

The wiki is a lot more detailed. It includes OS and overal usage information as well, be sure to check it out.

Experience with Manjaro ARM so far

The pinebook pro ships with Manjaro ARM pre-installed and I haven’t tested any other OS (yet), but I really like it and it is what I run on my old laptop as well so…

I really like to write my blog posts in markdown, so one of the first things I noticed was that Typora (thanks again @kev) was listed as an AUR install in pamac. That was a lie, all I got was something like “Typora is not supported for aarch64”, the alternative is to use VSCode to write blog posts but that’s like killing a fly with a bazooka, there’s always the option to build from source but that is not very elegant 🙁

FreeTube is another app I like to use to avoid all the ads and tracking from YouTube, but I was lucky and there is a zip file with a portable version for aarch64, not as elegant but all you need is to unzip and run the executable. 🙂

VScode, QtCreator and Element are available from the official repositories. 🙂

I couldn’t find timeshift, my preferred backup solution. However I found DejaDup and was gladly surprised to find out that is is possible to backup to a server, which is why I used my Nextcloud instance on my yunohost server, which was cool (DejaDup can access via WebDAV) 🙂

That’s it for now, will continue testing, I’d like to thank @pine64 for their hard work and community.

Here are some pictures of my unit with some fosstodon swag:

see the cool pine meta key ?
Fosstodon sticker put to good use

EDIT: As pointed out by @schrofi, turns out Typora only publishes parts of the source code (Themes) in Github, so building from source is not an option in this case.

I really like it but may have to look at other options… Kwrite has markdown syntax highlighting so that’s something… Or I could go back to killing flies with a bazooka.

Day 23 of

10 responses to “Thoughts on the pinebook pro”

  1. @lopeztel“there’s always the option to build from source but that is not very elegant”some distros disagree 😄but is typora even open source? i just checked the nixos packages and they also just offer the x86_64 build with a license of “unfree”.on the website i could only find the prebuilt x86_64 binaries with no reference to the source code as well.that would explain why there’s no arm package for it..


  • parasurv

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