Unboxing Pinebook Pro

I got a new Pinebook Pro. Here’s a video where I do a quick unboxing and talk a bit about why this kind of device is interesting.


The Pinebook Pro is a thin-and-light style 14" ARM laptop from Pine64. It’s really nice for $200. It has some shortcomings compared to more expensive options, but there’s really no other option for a reasonably priced ARM laptop with decent Linux support.

See the video for the unboxing.

Extra notes:

  • Shipping was pretty quick, given that it’s coming from Asia.

Why get an ARM Linux laptop?

  • Not Intel
    • Competition
    • Security: Avoid monoculture
    • Intel processors are known to have a hardware backdoor in the form of the managment engine. This is also true - although less understood - for AMD.
  • Possible to have better open source driver support.
    • Pinebook Pro still doesn’t have out-of-the-box Debian support.
    • This seems to involve some binary drivers and some binary firmware.
    • The binary driver situation has gotten better since release, for example with new kernel and mesa versions.
    • Open source ARM graphics - like the Panfrost driver for the Mali graphics in the Pinebook Pro - enable graphics acceleration with no binary firmware blobs. This is no longer possible with modern Intel / AMD / Nvidia graphics.