A $99 Linux Laptop

Post Reply
User avatar
Addie
Posts: 36030
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:22 am
Location: downstairs

A $99 Linux Laptop

#1

Post by Addie » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:40 pm

I'm never going to be able to afford my dream laptop, but I'm tempted at this price for something to play round with.

Forbes
Pinebook: My First Few Surprising Hours With A $99 Linux Laptop

I normally use Linux on my Dell XPS 13, GPU test bench or a beefy Ryzen Threadripper PC. That means my daily experience with the Linux desktop is lightning fast and very aesthetically pleasing. I've discovered the visual versatility of Linux through multiple desktop environments without any concern for CPU or memory bottlenecks, but I've never been forced to explore an equally important aspect of its flexibility: the ability to adapt to older or under-powered hardware. Enter the Pinebook, a shockingly affordable $99 laptop from Pine64.

The Pinebook is available in both 11.6" and 14" models for $99 (the 14" model has a lower resolution screen at time of publication, although mine had a "surprise" upgrade to 1080p before it was advertised on the site), and it's being offered in "Buy To Order" format. That basically means you buy it, they build them in small batches, then periodically ship them out from China.

Let's set expectations early. The Pinebook is built around a 64-Bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 CPU clocked at 1.2GHz, with 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. That's the same board Pine64 sells for $29.99. To arrive at $99 on my model, the Pinebook surrounds that board with a white clamshell-style enclosure, 16GB of eMMC flash storage, Wifi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, a full-size keyboard, multi-touch touchpad, an SD webcam and a 1080p IPS display.

The connectivity side is minimal but perfectly functional. You'll get two USB 2.0 ports, a MicroSD card slot, a headphone jack and a mini HDMI out port.

By the way, the 1000mAh battery is charged with the included power adapter, but it's a mere 5V. That means you can power up the Pinebook with a traditional smartphone battery pack or even a USB solar charger! No need to stay near the wall. I'll touch on the Pinebook's battery life in the next article (once I've had extended time with it), but my first impression is that you're going to get at least 6 to 8 hours away from the wall depending on brightness and which OS you're using.



User avatar
Dan1100
Posts: 3582
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#2

Post by Dan1100 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:37 pm

Used computers have gotten incredibly cheap.

Full desktop setups better than the one I am typing on right now for $99 (with screen mouse and keyboard) and laptops for $149. And that's from a reputable reseller. Bottom feeding on ebay you can get cheaper than that.

https://deals.epcusa.com/

(no connection to epc other than having friends buy stuff there)

Here is a lenova that would have been a $1,000 office computer 8 years ago for $100 https://deals.epcusa.com/lenovo-t410-no ... am-dvdcdrw


"Devin Nunes is having a cow over this."

-George Takei

User avatar
Slim Cognito
Posts: 6922
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:37 am

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#3

Post by Slim Cognito » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:49 pm

I don't know a lot about computers, but I'm not totally incompetent. Several years ago when Windows was ending support for XP, as my husband's desktop was an XP and worked fine otherwise, I dual-loaded a Linux OS, (Zorin, I think - whichever one I was told at the time most resembled XP). He's still using it to this day, and he surfs the web just fine, sometimes faster than the Windows 10 laptop I've had for two years.

So I say go for it.


ImageImageImage x4

User avatar
Jez
Posts: 2622
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:05 pm
Location: Out there, Somewhere...
Occupation: Thread Killer

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#4

Post by Jez » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:08 pm

I was using a 10 year old mac laptop until last year, when it got submerged in the basement flood. It worked just fine. Did what I needed when I needed it. Wasn't lightening fast, but meh, I was good.

And before anyone panics, I had already gotten a new MacBook and transferred the files over. The battery gave out on the old MacBook, so got a new one. I figured I would eventually refurbish the old one and give it to someone, but never did. oh well. Just a very big paperweight now anyway.


I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.

~Khalil Gibran

User avatar
Lani
Posts: 4903
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Some island in the Pacific

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#5

Post by Lani » Sun May 05, 2019 11:38 pm

I need a new(to me) notebook or laptop really, really soon. I'm looking at laptops and netbooks at the link above, but don't know what I'm reading. :crying: My cheapo Dell netbook is wonderfully lightweight - great for travel. But it has so little memory that Windows 10 updates from hell are destroying it. I have to halt its efforts each time before it shuts down my computer.

I don't want to go over $300, preferably lower, because the humidity here damages computers in a few years.

Can someone recommend one of the used computers to me. :prettyplease:


Insert signature here: ____________________________________________________

User avatar
Dan1100
Posts: 3582
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#6

Post by Dan1100 » Mon May 06, 2019 12:31 am

For less $250 you should be able to get a refurbished rental return with a smallish screen with a good brand like Dell or Lenovo or HP from a reputable reseller that would be more than adequate. I think Lenovo are well built, but the others are fine too. Make sure they warranty the battery or price in buying a new one fairly soon. I think you can shoot for 8 GB of RAM and an i5 processor in your price range.

Just an example of what $200 will buy, something like this with 8 GB of RAM might be a decent choice https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Thinkpad- ... 00W4AMWCI

That's a manufactured refurbished one from the manufacturer. You, of course, could get the same one used off of ebay from some no name guy "refurbishing" them in his garage for less, but there is more risk to that. You could also try a local brick and mortar place, which might be best, but you'll pay a little more.

Caveat, I don't use Windows 10, but I can't imagine a computer like the one I linked above wouldn't be adequate.


"Devin Nunes is having a cow over this."

-George Takei

User avatar
tek
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:02 pm
Location: Happy Valley, MA
Occupation: Damned if I know

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#7

Post by tek » Mon May 06, 2019 7:13 am

Lots of new laptops in the $250-and-under range, but they generally only have 4GB of RAM which is a bit snug for Windows10.. have to bump up to about $325 to get more RAM.

I've never bought a refurb, so I can't comment on that.

Traditionally August is the best time to buy a laptop (back to school deals), but places like hp.com have weekly deals that are worth watching.. and always check the Best Buy and Staples weekly ads and websites... sometimes good clearance deals pop up..


There's no way back
from there to here

User avatar
Addie
Posts: 36030
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:22 am
Location: downstairs

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#8

Post by Addie » Mon May 06, 2019 8:26 am

I never did buy this $99 laptop. I bought an HP-1315 Notebook new for just under $300. It came with Win-10. I hated it. Flatpoint told me the HP-1315 was designed specifically for Win-10, but I was able to do a Linux system replacement with no issues. I hooked it to a full size monitor [and keyboard], and the machine is still in daily use as a desktop. It has a huge hard drive, but only came with 2GB RAM not expandable. That's a drawback, imo, but pretty much the only one and it's not at all slow, at that. Nice and quiet, too. I would buy it again with more RAM.



User avatar
Flatpointhigh
Posts: 7955
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:05 pm
Location: Hotel California, PH23
Occupation: Voice Actor, Podcaster, I hold a Ph.D in Procrastination.
Contact:

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#9

Post by Flatpointhigh » Mon May 06, 2019 8:29 am

Addie wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:26 am
I never did buy this $99 laptop. I bought an HP-13 Notebook new for just under $300. It came with Win-10. I hated it. Flatpoint told me the HP-13 was designed specifically for Win-10, but I was able to do a Linux system replacement with no issues. I hooked it to a full size monitor and the machine is still in daily use as a desktop. It has a huge hard drive, but only came with 2GB RAM not expandable. That's a drawback, imo, but pretty much the only one and it's not at all slow, at that. Nice and quiet, too. I would buy it again with more RAM.
very cool. Linux doesn't require a ton of RAM.



My Name is...
Daffy Duck.. woo hoo!
Cancer broke me

User avatar
Reality Check
Posts: 15888
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:09 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#10

Post by Reality Check » Mon May 06, 2019 11:02 am

Dan1100 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 12:31 am
:snippity:
Caveat, I don't use Windows 10, but I can't imagine a computer like the one I linked above wouldn't be adequate.
Windows 10 will run perfectly fine on a machine with those specs. I have an HP core I5 with 8 GB of RAM and it runs well on that. If you knew how to do it you could replace the 320 GB mechanical hard drive with a 500 GB SSD for $50 - $70 and really beef up performance. I did that with my HP and cut boot time to 1/3 or less.


"“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Heather Heyer, November 2016

User avatar
Dan1100
Posts: 3582
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#11

Post by Dan1100 » Mon May 06, 2019 12:35 pm

Flatpointhigh wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:29 am
Addie wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:26 am
I never did buy this $99 laptop. I bought an HP-13 Notebook new for just under $300. It came with Win-10. I hated it. Flatpoint told me the HP-13 was designed specifically for Win-10, but I was able to do a Linux system replacement with no issues. I hooked it to a full size monitor and the machine is still in daily use as a desktop. It has a huge hard drive, but only came with 2GB RAM not expandable. That's a drawback, imo, but pretty much the only one and it's not at all slow, at that. Nice and quiet, too. I would buy it again with more RAM.
very cool. Linux doesn't require a ton of RAM.
I use Linux too, but I hesitate to recommend it to people who I don't know are tech savvy because it can be frustrating for some people.


"Devin Nunes is having a cow over this."

-George Takei

User avatar
Addie
Posts: 36030
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:22 am
Location: downstairs

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#12

Post by Addie » Mon May 06, 2019 1:04 pm

It takes time and devotion, for sure.
Dan1100 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 12:35 pm
I use Linux too, but I hesitate to recommend it to people who I don't know are tech savvy because it can be frustrating for some people.



User avatar
Dolly
Posts: 14354
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#13

Post by Dolly » Mon May 06, 2019 1:42 pm

Lani wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 11:38 pm
I need a new(to me) notebook or laptop really, really soon. I'm looking at laptops and netbooks at the link above, but don't know what I'm reading. :crying: My cheapo Dell netbook is wonderfully lightweight - great for travel. But it has so little memory that Windows 10 updates from hell are destroying it. I have to halt its efforts each time before it shuts down my computer.

I don't want to go over $300, preferably lower, because the humidity here damages computers in a few years.

Can someone recommend one of the used computers to me. :prettyplease:
My Dell laptop needs to be replaced also. I am overwhelmed and uncertain (stoopid) over this.

Maybe you can find something at this link. Dell Auctions and Buy Now items. Good Luck

https://www.dellauction.com/

I would be interested in hearing about what you decided on, where you got it and other details that might educate me. Thanks.


Avatar by Tal Peleg Art of Makeup https://www.facebook.com/TalPelegMakeUp

User avatar
Lani
Posts: 4903
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Some island in the Pacific

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#14

Post by Lani » Sat May 18, 2019 9:38 pm

I gave up on the refurbished website because I couldn't search for a touch screen, which I've decided I really like. :( Here are some laptops I'm considering. Thoughts? Comments?

I've given up on staying under $400. :( There are some I've found, but they had really bad reviews, especially refurbished ones on Amazon. I'll search for a better price later.

https://www.costco.com/.product.1278524.html $450 + $30 ship
https://www.costco.com/HP-15-Laptop---A ... 89359.html +$30 ship

www.dell.com/en-us/shop/cty/pdp/spd/ins ... uctID=2egc $450 free ship


Insert signature here: ____________________________________________________

User avatar
Addie
Posts: 36030
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:22 am
Location: downstairs

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#15

Post by Addie » Sat May 18, 2019 9:48 pm

That HP-15 notebook is what I have, except with 8GB RAM. I think that would make all the difference accommodating Win-10. As I said below, it's a nice machine. I would buy it again with the extra RAM.
Lani wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 9:38 pm


https://www.costco.com/HP-15-Laptop---A ... 89359.html +$30 ship



User avatar
Lani
Posts: 4903
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Some island in the Pacific

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#16

Post by Lani » Sat May 18, 2019 10:31 pm

Am seriously thinking about buying this one: It's in my original price range plus free shipping. (Which is getting more rare in Hawaii.)

Not a gamer - yet - saving that for the nursing home. :)


Insert signature here: ____________________________________________________

User avatar
Lani
Posts: 4903
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Some island in the Pacific

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#17

Post by Lani » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:25 am

I wound up buying a Lenovo IdeaPad S340 on sale at Costco for $400, $200-300 lower than everywhere else. Slightly over my budget by a few bucks, but with everything and more than I wanted. I hate setting up a new computer and left this one in its box for almost 2 weeks :oops: , but the set up was fast and easy! I have wasted Saturday playing with it. It's slightly disconcerting that the touchpad is off center, but I'm getting used to it.

I really love connecting my phone to the computer, btw. I had several texts come in and responded on the computer.


Insert signature here: ____________________________________________________

User avatar
Reality Check
Posts: 15888
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:09 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#18

Post by Reality Check » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:52 am

Lani wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:25 am
:snippity: It's slightly disconcerting that the touchpad is off center, but I'm getting used to it.

I really love connecting my phone to the computer, btw. I had several texts come in and responded on the computer.
Glad you found a laptop you like. When I have to replace my HP I am planning to look at a Lenovo. I think adding an SSD to my HP extended its useful life by a few years.

The touch pad would not bother me. I never use one. I always carry a wireless mouse. I hate touch pads.


"“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Heather Heyer, November 2016

Jeffrey
Posts: 1234
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#19

Post by Jeffrey » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:55 am

Lani wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:25 am
I really love connecting my phone to the computer, btw. I had several texts come in and responded on the computer.
How’s that work? Windows phone needed?



User avatar
Addie
Posts: 36030
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:22 am
Location: downstairs

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#20

Post by Addie » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:09 am

Enjoy, Lani :thumbs:



User avatar
Lani
Posts: 4903
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Some island in the Pacific

Re: A $99 Linux Laptop

#21

Post by Lani » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:13 am

Jeffrey wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:55 am
Lani wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:25 am
I really love connecting my phone to the computer, btw. I had several texts come in and responded on the computer.
How’s that work? Windows phone needed?
It's an app called Your Phone for iphone and android, but fewer features for iPhones right now. "From your iPhone, you can connect to the Your Phone app and send webpages straight to your PC using the Continue to PC app. Currently all the other features only work with Android 7.0+ capable devices." Maybe there is an app just for iPhones?

Also you need windows 10. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/your- ... reviewstab
Your Phone

You love your phone. So does your PC. Get instant access to everything you love on your phone, right on your PC. Reply to your text messages with ease, stop emailing yourself photos, and receive and manage your phone’s notifications on your PC.

You must link your Android phone to your PC through Your Phone app. Requires Android 7.0 or later.

Tell us what features you’d like to see next by selecting “Send feedback” in settings in Your Phone.


Insert signature here: ____________________________________________________

Post Reply

Return to “Computers & Internet”