We do have plenty of low-cost laptops in the market, most of them come powered by Windows and can be had in the sub $200 price range. On the other hand, we also have the premium range of laptops that cost above $1000. PineBook is an ultra affordable 64-bit ARM-based Open Source Laptop that comes with a tempting price point of $89 for the 11-inch variant and $99 for the 14-inch variant. The notebook is powered by the Quad-Core Allwinner ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit processor which is also used in the PINE A64 Single Board Computer.
A quick glance at the notebook will tell you how closely Pine64 resembles the MacBook. The bezels, keyboard layout and also the side design profile seems to be heavily inspired by the MacBook. The Pine 64 is pretty light at 1.2Kg and is equally compact with a dimensional attribute of 352mm x 233mm x 18mm. On the storage front, the notebook offers 16GB of onboard eMMC 5.0 memory and comes with a 2GB LPDDR3 RAM memory. However, memory shouldn’t be that big of an issue since the microSD card supports up to 256GB. Furthermore, the machine is backed by a 10,000mAh battery and the keyboard is supplemented by a large multi-touch touchpad.
Thankfully the Pine 64 heralds with the usual set of ports and connectivity options including Wi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 x USB 2.0, microSD card slot, Mini HDMI and the headphone jack. The mini HDMI port will allow users to connect the PineBook to a larger external display or a TV. Since it is an open source Notebook you can install anything that supports ARM chips including Ubuntu, Android, Windows IoT Edition and other distros. One might argue that the PineBook is offered with dated entry level hardware, something that we saw in notebooks back in 2008 but again the PineBook is more of a Raspberry Pi with a sleek keyboard, display, ports and touchpad. That said it can still shape up as a reasonable laptop for students and developers.
The PineBook is apparently available only against order and all one needs to do is head over to the website select the variant and fill in your contact details. At this juncture, the website will assure you that the “Sales team will contact you when the product is ready for purchase.” If you are on a lookout for a highly affordable open source ARM notebook with the ability to do most of the stuff that Raspberry Pi would do then the PineBook is a compelling buy.