Yeah; the goal of the Pinebook is not to be your daily driver; it’s way too underpowered for that. I bought it as a tablet replacement: something small and light that I can carry easily and that has a keyboard (i.e., so I could do real work—which in my case consists mostly of writing—on it). I wanted something that ran Linux instead of Android or iOS so I could tinker with it and be reasonably sure that some big corporation wasn’t spying on my every movement.
I am trying to avoid the cloud as much as I can. As a result, I use Syncthing to sync my todo.txt tasks, my Pimlical local calendar on my phone with my Pimlical desktop app, and a whole bunch of folders containing notes and documents (and movies for the kids).
Google has crippled Android for this use case. It used to be that you could insert a big microSD card and it was just another folder that apps could access. But Android has now gone down the Apple road, where the OS is designed not to trust the apps that run on it, because it doesn’t trust the user who installed them. Now if you want to use an external SD, it must be formatted in a special way that integrates it with the rest of the file system, and then it’s not readable on any other device. This apparently also burns out the SD card faster, because I was trying to use the old SD card from my tablet (reformatted) to test this Manjaro image, but even though I reformatted it first, it won’t write the image to it, so I haven’t yet been able to test it. So now I have to go get another one.
As a daily driver, your refurb Thinkpad was a much better choice. The Pinebook is really only for these kind of portable, tablet-y sort of use cases. It’s got a big battery and barely sips power, so it can last a while. It’s small and light. It runs Linux, which works better for my use cases. But it is a slower, lighter duty machine.