Pi-Top Review, Part 4 (Final Thoughts)

Okay, it has been a few weeks since I received my Pi-top, and I thought it was a good time to lay down the final part of my review.

You can find parts one, two and three littered around this blog. I’m too lazy to link them, and if you’re too lazy to search then that makes us even 🙂

So, the first thing to note is that the Pi-top is now my laptop. It isn’t a toy, it isn’t a regret. If I need to use a computer, I use my Pi-top. That is a huge tick in its favour.

I don’t do much more than read the paper and write on it, so it handles those jobs perfectly. Streaming video works well, although there are often stutters. I find full-screen video works the worst, which is unfortunate.

Speaking of video: saved videos run dreadfully. I am not sure why, as I have Openelec running on two other Pis around the house, and the video on those machines are perfect. It is probably the overhead on running Raspbian that is making it stutter.

The battery life is stunning. I have probably charged it a grand total of 4 times, but it is a very casual charge. With my previous laptop, I often had to run to the charger as my battery went from 10 per cent down to 3 in a matter of seconds. This machine just trickles down slowly. I plug it in when I get round to it.

The keyboard is still crap. I have gotten into the habit of taking a usb keyboard with me, which gets awkward. The headphone/aux jack is hard to get to, as well. Originally I lefy my headphones plugged in, but that became a mess of wire and was painful. Instead, I got a $2 right-angle adaptor, so now I can slide back the black sheath and just plug in the headphones (alas, I only got a 2-pole plug, so I need to buy headphones that don’t have a third section on the plug or else it hisses at me.)

I can’t help but feel that the black sheath opens in the wrong direction. I am normally plugging things into the pi, but to get to that I need to fully expose the sheath. It would have been better if it opened the other way, but that’s a minor problem. Barely even an annoyance.

The software works well. I have had Chromium crash a few times when I’ve had too many tabs open, but other than that it hasn’t missed a beat. It boots up fast and everything loads quickly.

I regret not installing Berry Boot, as the choppy video could have been solved with a second OS. I could have added Retropi to the boot list and played old N64 games whilst on holiday. Maybe one day I’ll mess around with it again.

So, in short? It is a great little machine, with a few niggles that other PCs also have. Nothing is ever perfect, but if you know what your use case is, and if a Raspberry Pi will handle it, then the Pi-Top is the most fun you will find.

It is also bright green 🙂


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