The new Pinebook Pro Linux laptop
The new Pinebook Pro

The Pinebook Pro is coming this year, say Pine64.

Yes, the company behind the super-cheap $99 Linux laptop we gushed over last year is making a marginally more expensive follow-up.

How expensive? Not too much: the Pinebook Pro has a target price-tag of $199.

While that’s twice the price of the original Pinebook, buyers get more for their money, including a 14.1″ IPS FHD display, 4GB RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, and (sigh of relief around) a more powerful processor.

Key Pinebook Pro specs:

  • 14-inch 1080p IPS LCD display
  • Rockchip RK3399; big.LITTLE Hexacore A72/A53 SoC
  • 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM
  • 64 eMMC storage
  • 10,000 mAh battery

Ports wise there’s an SD card slot, USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, the USB Type-C port supports charging and video out, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a 2MP front-facing webcam.

802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5 come as standard. Oh, and the laptop does have speakers but, as with any laptop, don’t expect much from them.

“High Performance 64-bit ARM Laptop”:

“Many of you want a high-performance 64-bit ARM laptop that is strictly designed with FOSS in mind and can be used as a day-to-day Linux laptop. Premium materials, great manufacture quality and performance,” a company spokesman writes in a forum thread talking about their stand at FOSDEM 2019.

“We’re making it happen this year.”

Pinebook Pro is pitched as an ‘alternative to mid-ranged Chromebooks that people convert into Linux laptops’

The original Pinebook laptop picked up plenty of praise within the Linux and free software communities, not to mention a functional KDE Neon port, despite relatively lacklustre performance, cheap-o components, and frustrating ‘on demand’ ordering.

But unlike the original the new Pinebook Pro is pitched as the sort of computer you can use “as a day-to-day Linux laptop”.

It’ll boast better materials (aluminium body instead of plastic), plus better build quality, and better performance.

Pine64 angle the Pinebook Pro as something of an “alternative to mid-ranged Chromebooks that people convert into Linux laptops” — which, hello, I’ve done — with the bonus of open-hardware hackability.

All sounds good, doesn’t it? Wondering: “When can I buy it?”

Alas, that is as-yet unknown. Pine64 say the Pinebook Pro will be available to purchase from its online Pine64 store sometime “later this year”, but delays are always possible.

The good news is that pre-production units (as depicted in the photo top right) are currently being tested, so the device isn’t just a fantasy.

A new Linux laptop is not all the cheap-as-chips computer company has planned…

Is a $200 hackable laptop your idea of a must-buy?
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