About the Pinebook - What to expect
#1
Information 
Hello Everyone!

Now that we have a Pinebook forum I figured I'll post here and share some information with the community and use this as an opportunity to set the expectations about the device straight. A few days ago tllim received the finalised PCBs and the protective cases which the Pinebook will ship in. Once both the PCB and protective cases get green-lit, we expect BTO orders to start going out.  EDIT 1: The Pinebook site with a BTO section is now up on the Pine shop and the packaging is going though drop-tests. EDIT 8: Looks like the first BTO emails have gone out Smile 

NB: We are aware of issues with the BSP Linux image that shipped with the Pinebook. To find out more please read this thread

You will be able to install new OS images using the Pine64 Installer available under Software & SDK tab here

Edit 9: There is a wide variety of OS images for the Pinebook availble. To view them all please visit the Pinebook Wiki site. Other popular sources for cutting-edge and pre-release OS images includes ayufan's github

     
In the Picture first batch of Pinebook

Hardware

The Pinebook esthetics have changed slightly from the prototypes that were circulated to developers at the beginning of the year. Out of the two screen-size variants, the 14” has undergone a more significant change. The current 14” design is slimmer and sleeker than the prototype, with smaller bezels around the LCD screen and a sturdier construction. Both the 11” and 14” units now also come with a black multi-touch trackpad. EDIT 7 Here are some new pictures courtesy of ayufan (NB other production units DO NOT have the win key).  

Both units come equipped with a 1366x768 TN panel which is, subjectively speaking,  surprisingly good with decent colors and good brightness. The viewing angles are what you’d expect, although horizontal color distortion is on par with other TN LCDs I’ve seen on low-to-mid range laptops. It is also worth mentioning that no thermal issues such as overheating have been reported (even under load) on either the 11” and 14” pre-production units (there is a large heatsink covering much of the PCB). 

The Pinebook comes with 16GB of eMMC memory installed. The module is user-replaceable and in time, you’ll be able to buy higher capacity eMMC modules  EDIT 8: larger eMMC modules are available in the Pine store if you feel like you’re running short on space. I don’t have a production unit so I haven’t had a chance to test the read and write speeds on a production unit, but on the developer unit we saw read speeds up to 80MB/s and write speeds up to 40MB/s. 

You’ll also be getting 2x USB 2.0 ports, a microphone, a mini HDMI, 3.5mm 4-pin headset jack, two downward firing speakers, a 0.3 MPx (640x480) webcam and a Micro SD card slot. The webcam is nothing to write home about but it works and does the job in well-lit rooms. The speakers are a bit tinny, but even at full volume they sound clear without crackles or distortions.  

The Pinebook comes with a 10000mAH battery and charges using a 5V 3A DC adapter.  Depending on the usage scenario and OS the battery will last for roughly up to 6 hrs of continuous useEDIT 2: It appears that we have been using incorrect battery settings - the run-time may be longer than we initially suspected. The use of LPDDR3 RAM in the production units can also help greatly with stand-by time. 

EDIT 3: We recently had a user join the IRC and inquire about keyboard layout on the Pinebook. In a later post in this thread I wrote "(...) the keyboard is really the highlight here, with solid feeling keys that have a good travel distance (...)", but now I realise said nothing about the actual layout, which some of you may care about. Disclosure I know nothing about keyboards BUT to me is seems like the 14" is closer to a standard North American keyboard but doesn't have a right ctrl, and the 11" keyboard 'is kind-of as if a US and a UK keyboard had a baby'. The 11" has a 'flat' enter key and a short left shift. Xalius believes its "(...) the layout most of those universal Android keyboards come with". If keyboard layout is something that is very important to you then study the image of both units posted by pgmy64 a few posts down. For your convenience, here is a direct link to wiki explaining various keyboard layouts so you can compare Pinebook layouts against your local standard. 

EDIT 4: Some of you have asked about GPIO and UART on the Pinebook. While there are no GPIO pins on the Pinebook PCB, you will be able to use a PADI as described by Marcus in this thread if you wish to use your Pinebook  for tinkering. As for UART, it is accessible via the headphone jack.  

Software

The Pinebook is able to boot from both eMMC and Micro SD. To install software to the internal eMMC a SD card based installation scheme can be used. Currently pre-production units are running Android, BSP based Linux and mainline Linux images. EDIT 5: Production units ship with BSP Linux. A likelihood also exists that other OS’ will ship for the Pinebook in the future. 

At launch, you can expect to have full support for Android on your unit. Ayufan’s pre-release build of Android 7.1 with split-screen works really well for multitasking (in the image you can see a chat app running on the right and youtube on the left simultaneously). 

As of today, many features of the BSP Linux work on the Pinebook. Ayufan, Xalius and members of the Pine team are still working to overcome some remaining challenges to have BSP Linux working at its best on the Pinebook. It will largely be up to the community to help further develop and improve the BSP Linux experience on the device. 

Some of you will also be excited to hear that mainline Linux is also running on the Pinebook. It’s still early days, and as you’d expect many features are missing or not functioning correctly, but thanks to Icenowy and Xalius an early build of mainline Linux for the Pinebook has already been tested. If you are interested in following the progress on mainline Linux development I encourage you to check out Sunxi Linux Wiki  and their IRC Logs.

(EDIT 6) Payments, Shipping and Customs

First BTO e-mails should start going out soon (as of the time of writing - April 5th 2017). Here are some details about payments, shipping and handling. 

Shipping will be considerably quicker than in the case of Pine A64 boards - you can expect to have your Pinebook sitting on your desk within 5 days or so from the moment your payment is accepted its shipped out. With your BTO you'll also be given an option to purchase extras for your Pinebook such as: additional power cables, USB 2.0 to Ethernet 10/100Mbps dongle, Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter. 

Payments will be collected exclusively using paypal

Pinebooks ship from Hong Kong and shipping costs depend on where you live, but here are some estimates:

US: ~$28
EU: ~$35
CA: ~$32

Shipping costs are expected to fluctuate dependently on the number of shipped units. 
You may also have to pay a customs fee - custom fees differ from country to country so I won't offer estimates. 

Expectations

I think that it's fair to say you are getting a lot for the asking price. If you are looking for a device in a convenient laptop form-factor that you wish to tinker with, then I feel it is safe to say the Pinebook is the right device for you - in particular if you are a developer or tinkerer who is willing to document, share and give back to the community. This is also especially true for those of you who wish to run Linux on the device, since Linux is by-and-large a community undertaking.  

I don’t wish to discourage anyone from getting a Pinebook, as it is a good piece of hardware,  but if you are looking for a device to replace for your current work or school laptop then perhaps it’s wise to look elsewhere. 

I will make sure to update this post on a need-be basis. 


-Luke-
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter


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#2
Thank you Luke, very nice write-up !
marcushh777    Cool

please join us for a chat @  irc.pine64.xyz:6667   or ssl  irc.pine64.xyz:6697

( I regret that I am not able to respond to personal messages;  let's meet on irc! )
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#3
Luke, thanks for taking the time to put this initial write-up together. i'm not sure if it is just the optics of the camera used but it seems that proportions of the keyboard area vs the remaining deck of the laptop is weighted in favor of the deck. for instance, both of my laptops have slightly larger area for the keyboard than the remaining deck area when measured from the point where the monitor hinges to the base to the front edge of the base. it appears that the pinebook has a slightly smaller area for the keyboard. if this is the way the area is divided, i think it's an interesting plus to the division of base area. one other comment, would it be possible to get a mainboard picture without the blue pad covering that chip? thanks.
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#4
Hey dkryder,

I can't really answer your first question since I only have a pre-production unit and, as I have mentioned in the write-up, the 14'' design has changed. When someone receives the 14" production version they can take measurements. I can't speak to the 11'' unit either as I don't have one (Xalius does perhaps he can answer) but to ME the 11'' felt much more natural to use on the wrist area. Again, the 14'' design has changed, and its hard to guess the new proportions without holding one... perhaps is feels great.

Regarding the blue heatpad - its just covering up the A64, looks just like on your Pine 64 ...

edit: tried to find a picture for you without the pad but didn't find one ... instead you'll get a picture of the PCB with the heatsink/heatplate on Tongue
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter


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#5
(03-27-2017, 03:01 PM)Luke Wrote: Hey dkryder,

I can't really answer your first question since I only have a pre-production unit and, as I have mentioned in the write-up, the 14'' design has changed. When someone receives the 14" production version they can take measurements. I can't speak to the 11'' unit either as I don't have one (Xalius does perhaps he can answer) but to ME the 11'' felt much more natural to use on the wrist area. Again, the 14'' design has changed, and its hard to guess the new proportions without holding one... perhaps is feels great.

Regarding the blue heatpad - its just covering up the A64, looks just like on your Pine 64 ...

edit: tried to find a picture for you without the pad but didn't find one ... instead you'll get a picture of the PCB with the heatsink/heatplate on Tongue

Great writeup Luke... It looks to be a great unit, and as long as people don't expect it to replace their beefy 2-3Ghz laptop/gaming machine... they should be happy with it... but for you forgot to answer the important question... does it play angry birds (or is that a bit dated now?) :-D

IIRC, don't both the 11" and 14" have 5" touchpads? So it you factor that in, that should give a rough idea of the deck keyboard/remaining space proportions. It still seems to me that the remaining deck is more than the keyboard area, making the palm resting area quite comfortable in comparison to some laptops.
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#6
[Image: pinebook_both_size_new2.jpg]
  Reply
#7
Thanks Yeoh; very helpful!
marcushh777    Cool

please join us for a chat @  irc.pine64.xyz:6667   or ssl  irc.pine64.xyz:6697

( I regret that I am not able to respond to personal messages;  let's meet on irc! )
  Reply
#8
Thanks for that @pgmy64... 

Well that, should answer dkryders question... it looks like the 14" unit is much more "comfortable", and the 11" one looks more traditional in ratio.

And in other news... the pinebook section of the pine64 site is officially live... don't all rush at once...  you might crash the site!
  Reply
#9
pfeerick, I'm afraid i haven't tried angrybirds ... but I have tried one of the new racing games Asphalt something something.  Do note that 1) the game is running on max settings and 2) there was something off about this Android build (recoded it a while back) and the CPU wasn't running at max speed. So its possible that with the newer builds it would run better ... don't know Wink 

What I can say is that for more casual games - such as Fallout Shelter (which I recommend) - it runs perfectly smooth.
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter


  Reply
#10
(03-28-2017, 04:50 PM)Luke Wrote: pfeerick, I'm afraid i haven't tried angrybirds ... but I have tried one of the new racing games Asphalt something something.  Do note that 1) the game is running on max settings and 2) there was something off about this Android build (recoded it a while back) and the CPU wasn't running at max speed. So its possible that with the newer builds it would run better ... don't know Wink 

What I can say is that for more casual games - such as Fallout Shelter (which I recommend) - it runs perfectly smooth.

Angry Birds will do fine if the screen is a genuine touch screen.
marcushh777    Cool

please join us for a chat @  irc.pine64.xyz:6667   or ssl  irc.pine64.xyz:6697

( I regret that I am not able to respond to personal messages;  let's meet on irc! )
  Reply


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