Question before Buying PineBook Pro!

I plan to buy a pinebook pro, I’m a linux enthusiast and I can only afford the PBP price. but before I buy I have many questions
please answer this:

  1. how fast is the pinebook pro if it is installed with a m.2 ssd?
  2. Is the manjaro arm in the PBP the usb port all working?
  3. Based on what I read, the usb port on the left says that I can charge my PBP there, is that true?
  4. Based on your experience, how long does the pbp on battery last?

Define fast - be realistic …

The pbp does not break any speed limits - it is useful as a travel companion - but don’t expect much - it is what it is - a low cost, low powered arm device.

Realize - by adding an m.2 ssd - you will increase the power consumption … Pinebook Pro - PINE64 so there is some very real challenges to get to run stable using the nvme adapter - being one of the reasons I have postponed this.

On my system yes

There is two USB ports on the left side - only the C-port can be used as charger - and NOT SIMULTANOUS with the barrel charger.

That depends on your usage.

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Hi @oniichann,

  1. how fast is the pinebook pro if it is installed with a m.2 ssd?

I’m not sure but I an say that the eMMC storage is fast enough for me so I ended up using the m.2 SSD port to add an 16GB Intel Optane drive for a safer (Optane drives last quite a lot of writes) and faster SWAP partition so I can safely do heavy RAM tasks without worrying about the soldered 4GB RAM limit. Just keep in mind that the SWAP partition is a workaround to the low RAM, it won’t be nearly as fast as real RAM :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I wouldn’t recommend using a MicroSD for the OS though, it supports up to V30 speeds and using an A1 for applications is extremely slow when you update the OS, and I honestly don’t think that using an A2 would to much of a difference either, so I would recommend you to either go with the m.2 SSD or the eMMC option since it is removable, you can replace it if you need more space (I don’t know if there is a storage size limit tho).

  1. Is the manjaro arm in the PBP the usb port all working?

There is an issue on the USB Type-C port that prevents the video out from working but you can fix that (along other performance goodies) by using megi’s kernel if you don’t mind tinkering a bit with it since it requires executing a few commands on the terminal and modify the boot partition. The only drawback is that megi’s kernel doesn’t include the kernel headers so you won’t be able to compile against the linux kernel (like custom kernel modules) without re-compiling the kernel itself using the same exact commit.

I made a post on Pine64’s forums a few days ago explaining the whole process in high detail, you can find it here: No external monitorvia USB-C over Dockingstation

One more thing, the video display out over USB Type-C after installing megi’s kernel will only work when the USB Type-C cable is connected in one orientation (weird I know, but it’s TRUE!). Basically what happens is that there is a hardware thingy going on that might or not be possible to fix thru a kernel driver patch, but that fix isn’t implemented yet, so for now if you connect the USB Type-C cable in one orientation it will work as USB 2.0 without video display our capabilities, but if you flip it upside-down then it will work as USB 3.1 with display video out support. So, if you connect an external USB Type-C display or external dock after installing megi’s kernal and it doesn’t work, then flip the USB Type-C cable upside-down and it should work without any issue :smiley:

In a different note, keep in mind that not every third party driver is available on ARM, so some USB devices won’t work with the PineBook Pro like some external USB drives and as well as some non open source software like Google’s gcloud CLI given that it uses a binary blob for it’s authentication.

  1. Based on what I read, the usb port on the left says that I can charge my PBP there, is that true?

Yup, you can charge it using the USB Type-C port just make sure you NEVER EVER TRY to charge it simultaneously with the barrel port as it will most likely kill your PineBook Pro modern board.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the board power and charging circuit are shared so charging the PineBook Pro while it’s power up is a bit slow, for example, I’m charging it right now while writing this and doing some emails with 80% brightness and the battery went from 18% to 35% in about 40 minutes. I would recommend you to shut it down first before charging it before you head out for a quicker charge. Also, given this limitation, you won’t be able to use power hungry USB devices as the laptop won’t be able to provide them enough power for them to work, however, you can always purchase an external USB Type-C dock as a workaround as those usually provide the power to the USB devices by themselves instead of using the laptop power plus allow you to charge your PineBook Pro at the same time :smiley:

On more thing to keep in mind is that the USB Type-C might stop charging the PineBook Pro if the battery is fully discharged, so it is always good to kept the barrel port charger with you just in case.

  1. Based on your experience, how long does the pbp on battery last?

It depends on the usage but I have found that the screen brightness heavily affects how much the battery lasts. For example, I made a few tests by leaving the PineBook Pro idle with the screen on at 80% and just Firefox with my email open and it lasted about 4-5 hours. Then, I fully charged it again and I enabled the screen to shutdown after 3 min idle and the computer lasted literally from morning to night and it still had around 20% battery left, so yeah, screen brightness is a factor.

I have never tried to test video playback since I usually use my PineBook Pro for office and coding stuff so I can’t give you feedback on that matter, my best guess is that it should last for at least 2 hours unless the brightness is too high.

One more thing to mention is that the suspend and hibernation are kind of broken (or at least it is for me), I tested it a few months ago and it never wakes up, I had to force power off by pressing the power button for about 14 sec just so I an power it up again. There are probably a way to fix it by tweaking the settings but I don’t usually use suspend nor hibernation so I have never tried to fix it. I haven’t even test this after installing megi’s kernel a few weeks ago so I have no idea if it works after that xD

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this is the answer i’m looking for. thanks a lot

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