Pinebook Pro: Is it an option for me?
#1
Hey all,

This is my first post here so let me start with some background and a short introduction: I'm Markus, aged 41, father and husband (which means limited tinkering time) from Germany.

I do casual computing with Linux with distro hopping in the past, but mainly on Ubuntu flavors these days, since ~15 years.

I do buy my hardware on a rather tight budget, partly because for my needs 5 year old PCs are just good enough for my needs and in terms of "bang for the buck" and for environmental reasons.
My personal budget has been also very tight in the past. While it's much better now, I still don't dump my money as easily as before.

At the moment I am writing with a Thinkpad T400 that's 10+ years old, upgraded with an SSD and maxed out RAM, but with a dead battery which I'm not planning to replace anymore, so it will move to a stationary use in the house.

It's time for something new and more mobile (read: smaller, less weight and a working battery) as the main machine. I was considering a used Thinkpad X240 as next machine for a daily driver when I got aware of the Pinebook Pro which would come at a similar price tag.

A Pinebook Pro would be my first serious ARM based computer apart from my aging Android phone and a raspberry pi behind my TV, but I find myself seriously considering it.

So I collected some Pros and Cons:

Pros:
-drastically lighter than my current thinkpad, slightly lighter than the X240
-Small device but with a decent screen similar to X240
-Looong battery life thanks to low power consuption
-USB-C connectivity
- I don't need tons of storage, there's a NAS for that in the attic Wink
- I'm really curious to try something new


(possible) Cons:
- Compatibility issues with Applications (and also games) I can use today(?)
- the ARM variants are not as universally compatible as x86 architecture, so
-- much smaller choice of Linux distributions
-- no practical option to continue using Ubuntu(?) which I frequently return to these days
- Can this "just work" for me or will I have to fiddle around frequently?

The list could surely be longer, but I think it's time to consult the community now:

- Did I make fairly accurate assumptions above?
- According to your experience, also with the first Pinebook, what does or does NOT work for you? That could really help to set my expectations straight...

Thanks in advance, Markus
#2
Hi, you shouldn't overthinking it too much, it does the job it's purposed to. Not enough Linux distros ? Ain't a right one enough to run the computer ? x86 compatibility ? Then go for another x86 laptop.
#3
(10-19-2019, 04:30 AM)Kochise Wrote: Hi, you shouldn't overthinking it too much, it does the job it's purposed to. Not enough Linux distros ? Ain't a right one enough to run the computer ? x86 compatibility ? Then go for another x86 laptop.

That's exactly the question I'm at right now :-)
Off course I don't need the bazillion of distros available, but out of the ones I've seen for the PBP is none I'd expect to be a  a smooth ride. If there was an special ubuntu mate image (as there is for the Raspberry Pi)  

x86 compatibility is not what I'm looking for. As long as my applications work (haven't checked all yet) I'm fine regardless of the underlying architecture...

Not planning to overthink it though..
I take my time, wait for the next batch, read and listen to owners impressions and consider my needs. :-)
#4
Markus,
I am new to playing with the arm processors myself,  Hopefully my Pine book Pro will be arriving in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

 Previously I have had fairly good results playing with older 15 to 17"  Dell and HP laptops ranging in price from $20 to $50 for the laptops.
 ++But then upgrading the cpu' s   the ram  and replacing the hard drives with solid state drives.  then installing some distro of Linux.
This makes for an ok machine for a reasonable price
Some of those also need new batteries,  so it can be easy to hit  $150 to $200.  Prices stated in US currency.
The only taxes would be anything coming from California...  Most items are free shipping here.
BUT I have recently noticed you guys do have import and VAT charges there,  I guess even low prices can add up with so many separate additional charges  ? ?

 The Pinebook Pro is my first New Laptop in about 12 years  ! !

Welcome to the Forum  !    There are Lots of helpful and knowledgable people here
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#5
(10-19-2019, 05:49 AM)Damage Inc. Wrote: If there was an special ubuntu mate image (as there is for the Raspberry Pi)

https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pinebo...ionic_Mate
#6
The wiki needs to be updated. New image: https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-build/releases
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter


#7
When we are talking about compatibility, I can tell the problems I had with my first Pinebook.

- Lack of Krita package in latest Ubuntu
- Lack of some Rambox like communication app for instant messaging
- No multiboot support (except for microSD, what was not a real choice), hope it will be better with PBP
- Very low performance, not usable for regular work (hope PBP will be much better)

I will tell more in a few days after I get my PBP Smile
#8
Hey all, I'm Marcus, aged 43, father of three and husband (which means limited tinkering time) from Germany.I do casual computing with Linux with distro hopping in the past, but mainly on Ubuntu flavors these days, since ~15 years.

I do buy my hardware on a rather tight budget, partly because for my needs 5 year old PCs are just good enough for my needs and in terms of "bang for the buck" and for environmental reasons.

My last PC was a Dell XPS I used for almost 10 years.My personal budget has been also very tight in the past. While it's much better now, I still don't dump my money as easily as before.At the moment I am writing with an Acer R11 Chromebook running GalliumOS, 2 years old, upgraded with an external USB Stick.A Pinebook Pro would be my first serious ARM based computer apart from my aging Sailfish phone, but I find myself seriously considering it.It's time for something new because the Pinebook does everything I ever dreamed of in a Linux Laptop, and fills the gaps where the Chromebook fell behind.

I like the idea of a fully free stack. But my Chromebook has too little internal Storage and no option for SSD. The internal keyboard, screen and touchpad are usable, but the PBP outshines it in every aspect. Especially the screen is a real upgrade for me. I highly appreciate the way how Pine64 operates and therefore the 230.-€ are a nobrainer for me. I do hope it's also more durable than my Chromebook. It sure sports more performance which can be a bit of an issue on the Acer R11.

That's also why gaming is of no concern for me. Although Steam runs fine on my Chromebook, most games are out of it's reach. Will do mostly Retrogaming on the PBP, which is fine.Apart from basic browsing I will use it mostly for writing my essays in Markdown and vi or do some Ruby on Rails Development. I expect no roadblocks, there. I plan on switching from an Ubuntu based OS to Manjaro i3 once it's ready and in the long run migrate over to sway.

I'd say, yes! Give it try!!

PS: my name is really Marcus and so on. So I think I can relate. ;-)


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