Think hard for a moment, what can one hundred dollars really buy you nowadays? A dinner out? A new pair of jeans? How about some running shoes? Not likely. Providing you are not shopping the bargain bin at Walmart, our money just doesn’t seem to stretch as far anymore and when it comes to technology in the era of things like smartphones, tablets and computers that are ten times or more this amount, then it really gets you nothing. This is what makes this next product so remarkable, the team at Pine64 have managed to create a functional laptop that not only looks great but costs just $99!
Let me first start by saying, this is not some high-end gaming laptop or some budget (crappy) low-spec Windows PC, this is a fully-fledged community backed Linux device that offers some impressive versatility and allows users to develop or tinker with this emerging platform. Coming in both an 11.6 inch and 14-inch variant, the stunning Pinebook, as it is known, features an HD LCD screen with a Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor, a full-size keyboard and large multi-touch touchpad all wrapped in a classy white clamshell frame that is frankly reminiscent of a Macbook and it looks just great!
Internally we also find specs that find a great balance between performance and price, in particular – 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM Memory, 16 GB eMMC 5.0 (upgradable up to 64GB) of flash storage, Wi-Fi 802.11bgn and Bluetooth 4.0, a front facing camera and an enormous 10000mAH Lithium Polymer Battery. While this may seem underwhelming to those in the know, here is the thing, Linux is a very light operating system and doesn’t need high end internals to function well and this runs like a dream. Connectivity is also functionally sufficient with two USB 2.0 ports, a MicroSD card slot, a headphone jack and a mini HDMI out port.
Fire up the laptop and you are greeted with an adapted version of KDE neon that includes a bootable and installable remixed live image that works on the Pinebook. The result, users are immersed in the clean and robust Plasma desktop environment. It is also worth noting that the KDE team has successfully addressed many bugs in the entire software stack, resulting in an improved experience for all KDE Neon and Plasma users. The overall usability of the interface is quite nice, it does take some re-learning for novice users but day to day operation like web browsing and video watching do work, if you don’t task it too much with HD video encoding or multiple application multitasking. Best of all, if the OS is not your cup of tea, you can in fact load the Android OS instead through their very informative Wiki page.
To conclude, this is not going to be quite the steal of the century but comes close. We do have a few gripes like the underwhelming keyboard, dull screen and at times lethargic processor but for someone that just wants to get online to check their email, this is perfect. It is also ideal for those that want a foolproof device for programming or better yet the hobbyist that is intrigued by what Linux offers. If you fall into any of the above categories then we say – go for it, because to put it plainly, you are not going to find anything close to this price point.
Buy yours at https://www.pine64.org/?page_id=3707