Pinebook ARM-powered Linux laptop experience


#1

Just received my 11.6" Pinebook laptop yesterday. Was hesitant to order one after reading some earlier reviews (from 2017 and early 2018) and I’m glad I waited until now to order. They recently just upgraded the display of the 11.6" from 1366x768 to 1920x1080 FHD. Was a pleasant surprise to find a note explaining this in the package. :slight_smile:

Anyways, I’ll be writing a full review on the Pinebook in the next month or two and will share it here for those interested. It came with KDE Neon and thus far; it has met my expectations.

If anyone else here has one, what has your experience with it been like and are you still using it?

Cheers.


#2

The most interesting thing for me to know is usually not how the new device works when it arrives but how it still works after 1 or 2 years of steady use. That’s where electronic devices show their true quality. It has to be able to run well after some period of time and usage.


#3

Yeah, for sure. I’ll keep that in mind to do a follow-up in a year or so. I know, based on earlier reviews, the state of the software and optimization was fairly poor at the time. But now, it seems they’ve been working hard on all of the over the last year or two and it seems to be much better. Hopefully that trend will continue for these devices.


#4

I have been thinking of ordering one for a long time. It’s just that I’ll have to pay additional custom duty on the imports :frowning:


#5

The same happened to me upon delivery, had to pay about $20-30 extra. Sucks because with the dollar exchange + shipping costs, the total came closer to $200 CAD all said and done. :confused: A bit pricey for the hardware and performance you get, IMO.


#6

Frankly, I learned the following when I got my Pi-Top: If you want something like a Pinebook, Pi-Top or something from that category you can never look at the price, because it will always be too high if measured by its hardware capabilities. Ordering such a thing can only have the reason that you are a Pi enthusiast and really want to be a next-gen testing-pioneer. If you want good performance/price balance, you will never be satisfied with the current Pi Laptop device category.


#7

Yep totally agree. It depends what you’re going to use it for or if you’re an enthusiast that makes it ‘worth it’ to the buyer. :wink:


#8

I got my 1080P Pinebook 2 weeks ago or so. I like it. They did a good job building it. Their wiki is ok too. 3 things that don’t work and are bothering me. 1.) I can’t zoom Firefox web browser, Normally a Control-+ will zoom in to make the text bigger. 2.) Pinebook will not come out of sleep mode no matter what I do! I need to hard boot and start over every time. 3.) The screen resolution is fixed to the highest and I can only think the driver was written in haste for this production run. If anyone has real solutions to these annoying issues please advise… Thanks! Andrew


#9

I would advise you to post this onto the official Pinebook forum. The maintainers probably can help or at least put it on the bug list and fix it at some point.


#10

Ah, I’m not alone! :wink: Waking from suspend (sleep) mode, I have the same issue. I cannot wake it and have to do a hard shutdown (hold the power button) and restart it. Will check the official pinebook forums to see if they have a solution.

For zooming in the browser, I didn’t try it in FF but I switched to Chromium (because I prefer it), and can conform that CTRL + “+” or “-” combos does zoom in/out in the browser. It might be just be a hotkey setting you have to set in FF?

I also changed the “force fonts DPI” under the fonts settings to 120 (from the standard 96) and that made everything much more readable, overall. Including text in the browser.

Did you get the 14" or the 11.6" version?


#11

There is a fix for the sleep freeze on the pine website (turn the function off if I remember). There are also suggestions for some other tweeks that deal with minor issues.


#12

Could you share a link to where you saw this? I can’t seem to find it.

I would hope they would have a better solution that to simply turn the sleep/suspend function off as that is something I would use regularly to save on battery consumption when not using it without completely shutting down and restarting every time.


#13

Yes. I think that it is a temporary solution. Anyway, here is the link for other issues and updates.,

https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=6734

All the best,
Rob


#14

Hi adw, lots of useful tips and trick here. Might want to take a look.

Thanks to @Robo for finding this. :slight_smile:


#15

Ok, so I can now confirm:

Resuming from suspend is fixed if you follow the instructions in that link Robo posted.

Also, if you set the “Screen energy saving - switch off” time to a lower time value than the “dim screen - after” time value, it will turn off the display and will turn it back on if you move the cursor. Further more, if you let the screen turn off and then close or suspend the device, it will resume and wake up as usual. :slight_smile:

So glad there was a fix for this because I was really looking forward to being able to put the thing to suspend and not have to worry about the battery life.


#16

Thanks for the “write up” I’ve been umming and arring whether to grab one or not - but having had such a bad experience with the two Pine64 boards I got through their kickstarter in 2016 I was very hesitant about trusting them again…

Tempted again now… hmmm…


#17

First ones are usually bad, especially with things like this. Even 1st gen Raspberry Pis are comparatively crap now. If you didn’t encounter anything bad about the fundamentals of their practices, then you might give it another shot. Everyone needs to improve. I would only not trust again, if they did a horrible mistake I could never forget. Like e.g. N24 is an online bank where you could hack thousands of € from others just by connecting to their iPhones for 3 minutes. They only fixed the issues after it became public. Before that, nobody cared and without it becoming public, a huge disaster could’ve happened. I could never trust such a company, ever, who does such an extremely stupid and unforgivable thing.


#18

I see the 11.6 and the 14 are now the same price… dang… 1080p would have made more sense on the 14"…


#19

Thanks for letting me know about the Pinebook forum. Going there now… MikeREM, to answer you, I’ve got the 11.3" version of the 1080P. I followed the instructions Robo laid out but the laptop fails to reboot now!! Black screen! No worries, I’m going to reinstall KDE and try it again. All part of he fun experimenting, eh!!
Cheers all…

Andrew


#20

Mine still working after 1yr of use, but it is not perfect pc…