Pi-Top review: A Raspberry Pi laptop

A laptop built from a Raspberry Pi and crafted yourself.It’s a cheap laptop with yesteryear’s components, created specifically to try to make getting computing into the poorest of developing nations as easy as possible.

The original Pi-Top was a modular laptop powered by a Raspberry Pi that came out on Indiegogo back in 2014. Now, the company (also called Pi-Top) is back with an updated version of the laptop that looks to improve on the original in a couple of key ways, viaEngadget.

The pi-top is a DIY laptop you build yourself that helps you start learning how to code, create awesome devices and take your knowledge to the next level. This Raspberry Pi powered laptop is an excellent resource to any budding hobbyist, student or intrigued user wanting to learn more about the capabilities of the credit card-sized development board. The only thing this kit doesn’t include is a speaker and its own Raspberry Pi; you’ll need to supply that on your own. We purposefully chose the pi-top without its own RPi due to the fact that most of you already own your own board and may not want to use a different or more expensive one.

The green pi-top comes with a 13.3″ HD LCD screen (1366 x 768 resolution), a QWERTY layout keyboard with trackpad, a smart battery pack capable of running the pi-top for 10-12 hours, and a Hub PCB to take care of power management and a host of other functions. Don’t worry about cables or your OS either; everything to hook up each part in the box is included, along with the latest version of the pi-top OS on an 8GB microSD card. Assembly is easy – just plug or snap in all the parts with minimal use of the included tools.

The new Pi-Top model made other necessary improvements, too: the screen is now a 14-inch, 1080p panel, the design is sleeker, and the trackpad is now sensibly located at the bottom of the keyboard, instead of the baffling placement to the right of it from the first iteration of the device.

Why should you buy a Pi-Top?

The concept  behind pi-top is that Raspberry Pi Foundation’s mission to inspire kids and adults to tinker with and learn about computers.The Pi-Top consists of  collection of programming tools and aids found in Raspbian – as well as adding some of it’s own.Programming tools like IDEs for the Python and Java languages and a version of Minecraft that’s modifiable using Python, as well as Scratch – the drag and drop coding tool that lets kids animate cartoon characters and learn about programming concepts such as assignment and control flow.It is also used to teach kids the basics of programming and even hardware hacking.

Specs
  • Screen Details:
    • 13.3” HD LCD screen with eDP interface
    • 1366×768 resolution
    • Colour active matrix TFT LCD module with anti-glare finish
    • 3W power consumption
    • PWM screen dim control (available on PCB rail)
    • 60Hz refresh rate
    • 262K colours
    • eDP 1.2 interface
  • Base Top:
    • Keyboard
    • Fully reprogrammable via USB
    • Any character can be put on any key position, to suit user’s exact preferences
    • UK and US vinyl layouts available
    • 2.2mm operating distance
    • 28 pin FPC cable
    • Trackpad
    • PalmCheck feature helps prevents unwanted mouse clicks
    • PS/2 interface
    • 1N mouse click operating force
    • 8 pin FPC cable
  • Base Bottom:
    • Smart Battery Pack
    • Two–wire SMBus v2.0 interface
    • JEITA recommended charge profile
    • Over–current, over–voltage, over–temperature and short–circuit protection
    • Charge balancing for extenxed lifetime
    • 51.8 Watt–hour capacity
    • 10–12 hours run time
  • Hub:
    • Power management
    • Screen driver (HDMI to eDP conversion)
    • Battery LED indicators
    • 18V. 3A input
    • 5V. 3.5A output
    • 3.3V 500mA output
    • Persistent 3.3V output (available even when powered off)
    • PCB rail specification pinout connects UART, I2C and SPI to Raspberry Pi for use with add-on boards.
  • Dimensions (assembled): 342mm x 211mm x 45mm / 13.5″ x 8.3″ x 1.8″

Weight (assembled with a Pi inside): 1515g / 3.3lb

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