Ongoing Review: Pinebook 14inch

Buying shit that looks cool and never using it

Tim Webster

2 minute read

As part of my rampant consumerism I’m going to post my thoughts on the Pinebook

Intro

I bought the Pinebook because

  • I have a penchant for buying new or interesting technology even though I have no express purpose for it
  • It was $100 so why not
  • My only other laptop is a 2010 Macbook which weighs approximately 4 US tons and, while it does run Trusty pretty well, the battery life sucks and it’s a pain to carry around

Expectations

Not much. I figured this thing would run about as well as a raspberry pi that got stuffed into a laptop case. I thought it would have been cool if we could get a 4G enabled pinebook but wasn’t about to let this lacking feature stop me from purchasing.

The Buying Experience

I got an email which most people would consider sketchy from the folks at pine64:

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 12:16 AM, PINE64 - Pinebook <[email protected]> wrote:
Dear Piner,

Thank you for your interest in the Pinebook. We have uploaded the Pinebook’s 
specifications at https://www.pine64.org/?page_id=3707, 
where you can check them out at before placing your order.

We plan to ship your order starting around the mid week of April. Before we ship your order, 
we will need you to provide us with your shipping information as well as your phone number.

Name:
Street Address (include apt or suite # if any):
City:
State/Province:
Postal Code:
Country:
Phone #:
PayPal ID:

PayPal will be used as the payment method. The money request will be sent once you place your order.

Which is a little strange but maybe they’re running really lean and all their employees are focusing on making laptops and they’re not very worried about an online order form that instills confidence. Who knows.

Initial Thoughts

The pinebook came in a few weeks ago so I’ve had some time to check it out. A few brief notes and I’ll have more details later:

  • Battery life is surprisingly short, like in the 2 hour range
  • The keyboard feels cheap but that’s expected from a $100 laptop
  • The power cord is about 2 feet long which makes the battery issue worse
  • The trackpad is terrible; hypersensitive and when clicking the mouse jumps all over
  • The screen looks great
  • The wifi card loses connection seemingly at random # TODO: troubleshoot why
  • Runs bash like a champ though
  • Firefox crashes with more than 2-3 tabs open