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Future Upgrade Options? a 'small' request
#1
Lightbulb 
Hey folks,
I don't know where to put such post on the Pinebook Pro so i thought id fit here Confused the nature of this post is of a request but in hopes to sort of inspire with a few ideas on what I personally would like to see on this 'budget' laptop which has shown to have a lot of potential to be so much more than a devtoy. Now, I do not have any experience with code (maybe some bash, and some html ABCs) meaning I'm not really a dev but I am a consumer that likes to tinker. Initially i got this device because i thought it was neat; the specs (though i overlooked the ram space a little), and the fact that it wasn't intel or amd based and it was power efficient and etc. At the time I needed a cheap laptop and at the time I wasn't pleased with what was  on the market so i thought what the hell; the money helps further some projects so I ordered. Fast forward to now after seeing the weaknesses and strengths of this device I'm still impressed by what can be accomplished if enough dedication and focus is put into this. First and foremost portability is a 10/10 This thing is notebook size, the screen is very nice, the keyboard at first was a bit hard to get into but it grew on me and now i hardly miss-press a key; not to mention I sorta like the feel of it. The trackpad at first it was brutal.. and it still sort of is but its gotten better with software/firmware updates, I just wish it would have been a better trackpad since when i try to move a few knobs on my music production program i slowwwwly move my wrist just so that i can get the pointer to align with the button better. The speakers suck, big time. Ive never heard speakers this bad ... I'm tempted to say on a budget laptop but I don't think I've ever heard them in anything. And lastly the power delivery, though it works, it would have been even better if i can get this thing to charge quick/quicker being that the battery is 10,000mah (correct me if im wrong on this).

Anyways, as i stated the nature of this post is to maybe inspire some type of idea or future of this device so I've been thinking of a few things that I think may make this device a very attractive option:

A metal chasis: a more rugged/sturdy chasis to really make this thing take quite a beating, I'm ok if it gains a few pounds!
A glass trackpad/a better trackpad: I think we can all agree on this
A Backlit keyboard
Better set of speakers
Bigger battery

I think all these can even be sold as accessories so that we may upgrade our pinebook pros. There are some options that I'm not sure if they will require more to upgrade but It would be nice if the webcam can be upgraded to a better one; I'm not sure if it forms part of the panel, I'm also not sure if software can fix the quality of the webcam but last time i checked the webcam wasn't that great.

I'm aware this is a budget device but it would be great if these options could be available.
* Also I'm aware that there were talks of having some sort of upgrade kit of the pbp so that's a plus
"That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the master."

1 Corinthians 1:31
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#2
I don't own this device, so this is really just a few thoughts:

> The trackpad at first it was brutal.. and it still sort of is but its gotten better with software/firmware updates

I believe there has been some awesome work done within the Linux community to improve touchpads in generally, apparently this is entirely a software problem.

> The speakers suck, big time. Ive never heard speakers this bad ...

I believe there are some commands to improve this situation.

> And lastly the power delivery, though it works, it would have been even better if i can get this thing to charge quick/quicker being that the battery is 10,000mah

I believe there is no support for higher power delivery currently, which is why most of the devices charge so slowly. Hopefully they will be able to take what they learned from the soldering iron project (Pinecil) for USC-C power delivery.

And about your upgrades:

> A metal chasis: a more rugged/sturdy chasis to really make this thing take quite a beating, I'm ok if it gains a few pounds!

Don't underestimate also that this will dramatically increase the cost and difficulty of production. To build the entire chassis out of aluminum it needs to be machined from a single block, which costs in both time and materials.

Adding something to make the machine flex less on the other hand is a lot easier and is something they can, even without really adding much weight or size at all. You just need support in key areas to make this possible.

> A glass trackpad/a better trackpad: I think we can all agree on this

Or go further, I have been playing with the idea of using a 3 inch SPI touch screen as a trackpad. I think the ability to display things where you touch could be really quite interesting from a hacking perspective.

> Bigger battery

Consider shipping issues, etc. What may be more possible is an extendible battery where you attach it to the device.
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#3
To me, the PBP is borderline perfect.

Most of my complaints are software related and will be addressed over time. I can wait.

But I do agree with you on the track pad. My issue isn't software at all, I just want separate buttons. I would 100% pay for a smaller pad with 2 buttons if I could install it semi-easily. Probably upwards of $100.
  Reply
#4
Some comments:
  • Someone increased the battery storage. Basically they took a similar battery, (our Pinebook Pros use 2 cells side by side), and added 3rd to their PBP. Here is a link;
Pinebook Pro Battery Mod Tips and Images
  • While MANY people want backlit keyboards, it increase the cost and takes up battery life.
  • Increasing the rigidity of the bottom half can be improved with full width metal beams. Perhaps several.
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
  Reply
#5
(12-07-2020, 07:55 PM)barray Wrote: I don't own this device, so this is really just a few thoughts:

> The trackpad at first it was brutal.. and it still sort of is but its gotten better with software/firmware updates

I believe there has been some awesome work done within the Linux community to improve touchpads in generally, apparently this is entirely a software problem.

> The speakers suck, big time. Ive never heard speakers this bad ...

I believe there are some commands to improve this situation.

> And lastly the power delivery, though it works, it would have been even better if i can get this thing to charge quick/quicker being that the battery is 10,000mah

I believe there is no support for higher power delivery currently, which is why most of the devices charge so slowly. Hopefully they will be able to take what they learned from the soldering iron project (Pinecil) for USC-C power delivery.

And about your upgrades:

> A metal chasis: a more rugged/sturdy chasis to really make this thing take quite a beating, I'm ok if it gains a few pounds!

Don't underestimate also that this will dramatically increase the cost and difficulty of production. To build the entire chassis out of aluminum it needs to be machined from a single block, which costs in both time and materials.

Adding something to make the machine flex less on the other hand is a lot easier and is something they can, even without really adding much weight or size at all. You just need support in key areas to make this possible.

> A glass trackpad/a better trackpad: I think we can all agree on this

Or go further, I have been playing with the idea of using a 3 inch SPI touch screen as a trackpad. I think the ability to display things where you touch could be really quite interesting from a hacking perspective.

> Bigger battery

Consider shipping issues, etc. What may be more possible is an extendible battery where you attach it to the device.
--
Thank you, this is  all great as long as those get the job done. I emphasized on the metal chasis because i actually take this device to work on ny backpack which has a million things on it and carrying an extra bag would be trouble some, but hey if there are other cheaper solutions to accomplish ruggedness than great. Now as far as the speakers go.. Thats really hard for me to believe it can be fixed with software.. Unless the speakers weren't at all tailored for balancing.. 

(12-08-2020, 11:24 AM)Arwen Wrote: Some comments:
  • Someone increased the battery storage. Basically they took a similar battery, (our Pinebook Pros use 2 cells side by side), and added 3rd to their PBP. Here is a link;
Pinebook Pro Battery Mod Tips and Images
  • While MANY people want backlit keyboards, it increase the cost and take up battery life.
  • Increasing the rigidity of the bottom half can be improved with full width metal beams. Perhaps several.

Thats cool but, im not too confident on my skills when it comes to messing arround with batteries though, don't wanna blow the thing up, but ill poke arround and see how this was accomplished just fir the sake of my curiosity. Just on that note alone so you think down the line it would be possible for bigger batteries to come arround?
"That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the master."

1 Corinthians 1:31
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#6
(12-07-2020, 11:33 PM)DarrowAtreides Wrote: But I do agree with you on the track pad. My issue isn't software at all, I just want separate buttons. I would 100% pay for a smaller pad with 2 buttons if I could install it semi-easily. Probably upwards of $100.
The PBP pad actually does have two physical buttons. They are under the lower right and lower left corners. But since they are under the track pad, you can not press them without also touching the trackpad. So resting one finger on the button while using the trackpad with another finger does not work (it will act as click-drag).

I find the bottom corners to get the buttons to be very hard to reach if I want to use the keyboard. It is just too far to move my hand quickly from typing position to bottom the trackpad position (farthest possible distance they could make it). I think if they just rotated the trackpad 180 degrees so the buttons were on the top it would be a huge improvement.
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#7
@Lyrixcaz
@barray

The current speakers would probably sound 'ok' if they were pointed up instead of on the bottom of the case and pointed down.

There is plenty of space within the palmrest.
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#8
I guess we all have our preferences for a future Pinebook Pro.
So it looks like we can have more battery modules and for instance a backlit keyboard.
But we have to be aware that the price will also increase.
But I think people will accept a higher price when we get a new model with the RK3588 and more memory.

One thing I think also needs addressing, is the charging and power from the USB3 port.
I have an external optical drive that can run from a USB3 port (works with other laptops), but it doesn't get enough power from the PBP.
Perhaps that can be achieved by a third battery module and we also need more charging capacity from USB-C, so the battery no longer slowly drains when charging when you max out the PBP.
  Reply
#9
(12-08-2020, 04:22 PM)Lyrixcaz Wrote: ...
Just on that note alone so you think down the line it would be possible for bigger batteries to come around?
At present, I don't see a bigger battery coming to the Pinebook Pro any time soon. But, I have no special knowledge of Pine64's plans.

However, their are dozens of third party external battery packs that are intended to either charge, or outright run devices. Some are 5v over USB Type A connector. Newer ones might have USB Type C connector, (and may support multiple voltages, but would likely support 5v at a minimum).

Yes, it might be clumsy to have an external battery pack. Especially if you carry it with you. But, the other side is that you can have more power than what could be installed in a laptop as thin as the Pinebook Pro. Not to mention this keeps the laptop weight down. Plus, the external battery pack may be usable for other devices like a phone or tablet.
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#10
It would be really cool if they would use standard cells rather than LiPo packs. You can detect the number of cells simply by measuring off the voltage and balanced charging isn't so hard to implement. There are tonnes of controllers that exist exactly for balanced charging. Then just throw it through a DC drop down and you have steady 5V sorted.

That way they could release the devices purposely with fewer cells included and an upgrade option could be to throw in some more.

Also my experience has always been the cells have been more reliable than LiPo packs (they don't tend to let go so easily). Li-ions for examples are pretty power dense and offer a good number of charge cycles.
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