Pinebook Pro Initial Impressions
I've had my PineBook Pro for a few months now, and I absolutely LOVE this thing! I've never had any significant problem with it, except that it doesn't sleep when I close the lid because of the misplaced magnet, but I don't even care.  Knowing that the availability of PBP's is limited, I really hope that mine doesn't accidentally get damaged, because I would like to be able to replace it if something ever happened.  I've had a lot of fun playing around with different OS's on SD cards and I've also got to familiarize myself with Manjaro, which might have never happened if it wouldn't have come preinstalled.  I just want to sing the team at pine64's praises, thank you so much for all your hard work which all this good stuff possible for all of us enthusiasts.  I like the pinephone too, but PBP is #1.  So much fun.
  Reply
I got my PineBook Pro in the wave that shipped out in, June I think? I've used it a little sporadically only because I've been very busy with other things, but so far I've really enjoyed it. My intentions for the laptop were: (1) getting a Linux machine for playing around with and learning Linux, (2) something lightweight I could use for commuting, when I resumed commuting (this still hasn't happened because I'm still work-from-home thanks to the Delta variant for COVID), (3) something I could use primarily for programming and writing. I have a MacBook Pro with Win10 via bootcamp that's my daily driver and game machine.

My initial thoughts on the laptop are, in no particular order:

1. The laptop looks really cool. I really like the plain black look, the lack of logos, and the shiny case. The plastic feels cheap compared to the Macbook Pro, but of course it does. For $200, it's really nice.


2. Boot-up went smoothly. I had no major issues setting up Manjaro, logging in, or connecting to WiFi.

3. I'm not familiar with Manjaro so this was my first time using it. I've used Debian in a VM and Raspberry Pi OS on those devices. While I initially thought that I would rather be using Debian, Manjaro has since grown on me. From reading around, it sounds like the Manjaro installation is the optimal OS for Pinebook Pro. I've used the SD card slot to briefly boot into Kali, but otherwise haven't explored other OS's much.

4. The WiFi connection strength isn’t quite as good as my other devices at a distance (MacBook Pro, Pixel 5a, ThinkPad, iPhone 12). While those devices can usually connect to the WiFi at the opposite end of the house across three floors and multiple walls, the PineBook Pro usually can't. It's not really an issue for me here, since I usually use it much closer to the WiFi.

5. (Note: This was my experience prior to the recent update) The trackpad seems kinda off. It doesn’t always seem to register clicks, and it sometimes jumps around. Trying to right click is also tricky. I’m not a fan of using the trackpad in general and I try to use a USB mouse most of the time. (After the most recent update): It seems to be better now. However, it does seem pretty sensitive and I often inadvertently click while typing. That's been my experience with my MacBook Pro trackpad too, so I might just disable tap to click.

6. The battery indicator didn't show up on initial boot, but it has shown up on all subsequent boots. So far the battery life seems reasonable. I try not to leave the computer in sleep mode since that does seem to result in a drained battery after a while (e.g., after leaving it in sleep mode overnight).

7. I had issue trying to log in after computer was in sleep mode (lid closed). Every log in attempt resulted in a black screen, followed by the log in screen re-appearing, and trackpad clicks didn’t appear to register either, so I had to use the power button to initiate the shutdown. This occurred shortly after my first boot, and hasn't occurred since. It might have since been fixed.

8. I wish I could change the display resolution to be something that's more zoomed in, like 1280x800-ish. I find the text to be a little hard to read.

9. For a while, every time I logged in “mntray” gave me a bunch of Manjaro News notifications. This doesn't seem to happen as much now.

10.. The SD slot is neat, but the SD card slipped below the smallboard on one insert. It did feel weird going in and I shouldn’t have assumed it was going in, but it was only the second time I placed on in there so I wasn't familiar with the feel. Getting it out was tricky: tweezers didn’t quite work, but I was able to open the case and remove one of the screws from the smallboard and eventually get the SD card to drop out. I'll be more careful going forward.

11. The screws for the smallboard are a silvery metal, not the black metal I’ve seen in pictures online, and seem to be rather soft. The screw closest to the hinge could not be loosened and was very easy to strip. I don't currently plan to replace the smallboard, but it seems like it would be tricky if I did need to do that.
  Reply
I bought an used Pinebook Pro as an addition to my trusty ThinkPad x230 a few weeks ago. I wanted a laptop with a somewhat better battery life (my x230 has a FHD mod and usually runs for 3-4h), a somewhat larger screen, and preferred it to be low on noises. After a few days of research I took the recent MacBook Air M1 as well as the Pinebook Pro into consideration, and ultimately decided to go with the PBP as I didn't need the extra performance the M1 offers on the go (I ssh into one of my more powerful machines if I need to do heavier computing, such as compiling complex software, or boot my x230 if I need 16GB of RAM, anyways). So far I couldn't be happier with daily driving that rockchip rk3399.

The build quality is, especially for the price of 200USD, above average. The keyboard is okay, even though it feels a lot cheaper than the x220 keyboard, I modded my x230 with, or a XPS 13 keyboard (according to monkeytype I average on roughly 105 WPM on the PBP keyboard, so I'd say it's perfectly usable for day to day computing).

Performance-wise there's not much to complain about. The PBP is roughly as powerful as a Nintendo Switch, so I didn't expect it to be considerably fast, but fast enough for the majority of tasks I want to do on a personal laptop. So far I've used the PBP for writing/editing/scripting in Perl, AWK and Python using Emacs, keeping my life somewhat organized in Emacs Org-Mode, reading mails (neomutt), news (newsboat) and browsing the web (using chromium) as well as browsing gemini pages with Lagrange. I tried emulating PSX and GBA games on it using RetroArch (surprisingly Crash Bandicoot ran smooth). I use a Matrix Client (NeoChat) as well as a few other instant messengers on it as well, Discord in a browser tab, occasionally I watch YouTube or CCC talks, and so far there weren't any considerable performance bottlenecks. I should mention that I have limited the max. RAM chromium is able to allocate on a 750mb soft and 1GB hard limit.

Albeit, I'd say that my usage is somewhat terminal and Emacs heavy, so if you rely on GUI applications for most of the things you do (e.g. wanting to use Libre Office for writing), your experience may be a different one.

To sum my initial impression up, I did get what I expected out of my PBP. It's not the fastest machine I own, but it's usable as a daily driver. To me, it kinda falls in the same category my old EEE PC, I used before getting a x230 in 2012, did (as I felt similar about both machines when I got them), a lightweight well-made computer with a somewhat good battery life that gets me somewhat good through my day as a personal laptop.
  Reply
Watch out for the hinges.  I had one all set up with a 1 TB SSD then the hinges crapped out.  I would have gladly bought another one and transferred my stuff, but I couldn't buy a new one.  So I'm trying to live with a Chromebook, it's pretty awful.
  Reply
I just got my PineBook Pro, and so far it seems like a really lovely, inexpensive device! The out of box experience was pretty good too. I look forward to getting an SSD in it for a little extra speed and storage.

The one part I feel somewhat confused by is a periodic, fairly loud "click" that seems to be coming from the speaker. It's difficult to intentionally reproduce, but not super rare in practice. I even heard it after doing a software mute.

Has anyone else heard this, and might could give insight as to what system events might cause it?
  Reply
Mine just showed up on my front doorstep as well. My unboxing experience matches @Nuurd : A box, inside another box, inside a padded envelope, inside another padded envelope. It was definitely wrapped for the long haul.

Even the startup guide was just the right size - enough info to answer the more pressing questions until you get online.

So I bought the thing to teach myself AARCH64 Assembler, and it looks like it's going to be a lovely little machine to do it.
  Reply
(08-09-2022, 06:08 AM)Nuurd Wrote: I just got my PineBook Pro, and so far it seems like a really lovely, inexpensive device! The out of box experience was pretty good too. I look forward to getting an SSD in it for a little extra speed and storage.

The one part I feel somewhat confused by is a periodic, fairly loud "click" that seems to be coming from the speaker. It's difficult to intentionally reproduce, but not super rare in practice. I even heard it after doing a software mute.

Has anyone else heard this, and might could give insight as to what system events might cause it?

I have also heard this click; it seems like it's a software issue as far as I can tell, but also not sure beyond that. Haven't done too much troubleshooting yet.
  Reply
(08-10-2022, 03:22 PM)Stickman Wrote:
(08-09-2022, 06:08 AM)Nuurd Wrote: I just got my PineBook Pro ... periodic, fairly loud "click" that seems to be coming from the speaker.

I have also heard this click; it seems like it's a software issue as far as I can tell, but also not sure beyond that. Haven't done too much troubleshooting yet.

Just received my PBP yesterday and this click was the first thing I noticed. It's remarkably loud, louder than anything else the speakers have played, and sounds like a pop caused when connecting/disconnecting amplifier cable. Random guess, I bet it's related to the sound chip powering up and down? It seems to pop when some amount of time has elapsed after playing the most recent sound.

It's still super important to flash the trackpad firmware! I found the trackpad basically unusable as shipped.
  Reply
Doing some light troubleshooting, it appears to be camera-related? It happens 100% of the time immediately upon taking a photo in Cheese. But doesn't happen when loading cheese, oddly. Also seems to happen randomly sometimes (driver reloading maybe?)

EDIT: This is not the case, I can reproduce the audio by doing certain other non-camera actions that make noise.
  Reply
(08-09-2022, 06:08 AM)Nuurd Wrote: The one part I feel somewhat confused by is a periodic, fairly loud "click" that seems to be coming from the speaker. It's difficult to intentionally reproduce, but not super rare in practice. I even heard it after doing a software mute.

Has anyone else heard this, and might could give insight as to what system events might cause it?

My guess would go to pulseaudio/pipewire suspending audio device on idle and bringing it back on when some is trying to access audio. Something like:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/PulseAu...g_playback

I would check it myself but my internal audio device is disabled in pipewire configuration, speakers physically disconnected and jumper is in position to enable serial console in headphone jack. Did my best to kill the thing.
  Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  looking to buy one pinebook pro (mainland China) duanduan 3 2,520 03-21-2024, 07:44 PM
Last Post: wangyukunshan
  Cellular module for Pinebook Pro Lotech 1 588 03-05-2024, 05:40 AM
Last Post: KC9UDX
  Screen on pinebook stays black but can ssh into machine tuxxpine 0 445 02-23-2024, 04:22 PM
Last Post: tuxxpine
  Sale my ANSI PineBook Pro cuthbertdavies 0 439 02-14-2024, 09:12 PM
Last Post: cuthbertdavies
  Compiling with -j6 on the Pinebook Pro (Overheat) KC9UDX 0 361 02-14-2024, 09:01 AM
Last Post: KC9UDX
  Pinebook Pro in EU for Sale - €90 jan_vdk 2 893 02-07-2024, 02:12 AM
Last Post: 23Ro
  Pinebook Pro for sale tomekdev 2 974 02-01-2024, 11:35 AM
Last Post: tomekdev
  Video Editing Is Possible On The PineBook Pro! ImmyChan 10 8,151 12-17-2023, 09:29 PM
Last Post: insideau786
  Brand new Pinebook Pro doesn't boot after Manjaro update johnboiles 8 2,692 12-15-2023, 02:11 PM
Last Post: wdt
  Happy eMMC and SDcard OS usage for Pinebook Pro Newbies... Paulie420 42 62,043 11-20-2023, 06:22 PM
Last Post: wdt

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)