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January 19, 2012
about a month ago
Sometimes it’s not about costs. I use Raspberry Pis as embedded processors for industry and develop project ideas for kids to help them learn robotics and programming. If the goal is to get something that will run on a Raspberry Pi, then the extra cost of making one into a laptop isn’t that big a deal. True, I can buy a nice used PC for the same money, but it’s not going to run Raspberry Pi code like the real thing. Unfortunately the keyboard makes it a fail. Since I already own it and I can’t get it fixed I use it with an external keyboard. It’s still a handy way to carry around a Pi without needing to lug a monitor and power supplies.
I’ve had one of these since the first Kickstarter shipments. It’s a really well designed box that does make a pretty laptop out of a Raspberry Pi. Two things though:
1) The standard installation does not leave the GPIO pins exposed. You can fool with that yourself if you’re willing to give up the screen controls and that may be okay for some people. There’s plenty of information out on the web about doing that.
2) The keyboard and touchpad are near useless. You have to press rather hard and jiggle the keys on the keyboard to get them to register. The touchpad clicks by itself, so as you move your finger it’s randomly clicking. At first I thought it was just the one I had. I contacted the Pi-Top tech support people who simply decided not to answer my question. Over time though, the reviews came out and I saw that the keyboard and touchpad problems are very common. Perhaps they’ve fixed it by now. If not, I suspect many people will be using SparkFun’s excellent tech support and return policies.
Expensive? Maybe, but it really is a cool little computer once it’s assembled. If it actually worked it would be awesome.
about 4 years ago
I just received mine and I must say the modification is quite well done. It’s a nice tight little board and if it worked, I’d want one to retrofit the payphone we have in our kitchen. It’s already been modded to be a house phone rather than a payphone so the board as it stands would work fine.
Unfortunately, the device doesn’t work with either my LG231 or my wife’s Samsung T404. On the LG, it did pair but presented itself as an ‘audio device’ and not a ‘handsfree’. As a consequence it would probably let you play music through it and that’s it. The Samsung won’t pair with it all and doesn’t even see it.
When I received it, I followed the online instructions, opened the phone and connected the battery. The power switch was not on board as the instructions said, but rather has been relocated to the shell (quite nicely!). The phone did not give a short ring once the status light started blinking as the instructions said. I don’t know if they simply changed the firmware to not ring, or if this one is defective. Since I don’t have a phone it will pair with, I have no way of knowing.
It’s a lovely device and I wish it worked for me, but I may end up sending it back. :(
2012-11-18: I did end up having to send it back. It’s too bad these things don’t seem to work. I’m hopeful that tech support will figure out the problem and I’ll get a working one back.
No public wish lists :(
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