Review of the PineBook Pro with Armbian


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Hi al.

I've finished my review of the PineBook Pro. I just love this thing. Runs great with Armbian.

Here my video.

Here all my gathered information:

Spoiler
Version                   Frequency        NicoD Belnder CLI    7-zip a/c      7-zip s/c     7-zip b/c     CPUMiner     SBC-Bench
-------                   ---------        -----------------    ---------      ---------     ---------     --------     ---------
Armbian Focal Mate 5.10   2Ghz/1.5Ghz      13m29s               8422           1347          2062          10.8         http://ix.io/3qsC
Armbian Focal Mate 5.10   1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    14m20s               7906           1267          1855          10.3         http://ix.io/3qt9  
TwOS Armbian Focal 5.10   1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    14m40s               
Armbian Buster xfce4 5.10 1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    15m00s               8074           1303          1843          10.2         http://ix.io/3rdx
Armbian Hirsute cinamon 5.12 1.8/1.4Ghz    14m39s               7907           1264          1854          10.1         http://ix.io/3rjc   
Armbian Focal xfce4 5.10  1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    14m52s               7764           1242          1843          10.1         http://ix.io/3rjx

Odroid N2+ Bionic 4.9     2Ghz/2.4Ghz       9m01s              11702           1756          2504          14

Transfer rates                                    access time
--------------                                    -----------
SD-card 128GB Sandisk Extreme read 68.8 MB/s      0.42 msec
                             write 58.2 MB/s
eMMC 64GB read                     187 MB/s       0.23 msec
eMMC 64GB write                    145 MB/s
NVMe 256GB read                    802 MB/s       0.03 msec
NVMe 256GB write                   423 MB/s                       #starts at 850 MB/s then goes down to 260 MB/s
SSD over USB3 read                 406 MB/s       0.21 msec
SSD over USB3 write                244 MB/s                       #starts at 220
SSD over USB2 read                 35.3 MB/s      0.51 msec
SSD over USB2 write                32.3 MB/s      

Temperatures 
------------
1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz
Idle          45C
Maxed out     75C on desk
              80C with back raised 
   
2Ghz/1.5Ghz
Idle          47C
Maxed out     86C (light throttling at 85C)

Power consumption
-----------------
Charging while on   2.6A  (max with 60 000mAh power bank, most PSU's don't go over 2A)
Charging while off  2.5A

Browsing and video playback
---------------------------
Vivaldi runs gpu accelerated browsing and perfect video playback up to 1080p30fps or 720p60fps
         download Vivaldi snapshot arm64
                 sudo apt install fonts-liberation
                 sudo dpkg -i vivaldi-snapshot..._arm64.deb
Firefox runs a bit smoother for browsing, but video playback isn't fully accelerated 
                
For video files kodi runs well
         sudo apt install kodi

+++
You can disable Microphone, wifi and camera with key combinations. Pine64 Logo + F10, F11 and F12
Can be powered with either barrel jack or USB type-C 5V !!!Not with both at the same time!!!
USB-C can be used for external display with USB-C to HDMI adapter
---
It can deplete the battery while being charged in heavy use and full brightness, cetainly when using an NVMe
USB-c hub not working
Delete key is backspace with function key
Very low volume in TwisterOS
Too many screws to open


Conclusion
----------
Awesome hardware. I love to have an ARM SoC in a laptop. The RK3399 is the best supported SoC software wise.
Tho a laptop with Amlogic S922x would have been great too. It is more powerful while consuming less.
I would not easily recommend it to people who are not used using ARM. But for me it is near perfect.
It looks great, and the keyboard feels good. 

TwisterOS upgrade problem fix from PtitSeb
sudo mv /usr/share/doc/linux-libc-dev/changelog.Debian.gz /usr/share/doc/linux-libc-dev/changelog.Debian.gz.old 
    to "solve" the conflict, and than the --fix-broken worked
    
Armbian Focal Mate 5.10 has some issue's with battery monitor applet. And power management isn't working as it should.
Armbian Focal xfce4 5.10 Doesn't always boot, black display.
TwisterOS Armbian Focal 5.10 power led only goes on after a while when default os. Speakers are very quiet.
Armbian Buster xfce4 5.10 Doesn't always boot. Black display. 

 

 

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  • NicoD changed the title to Review of the PineBook Pro with Armbian
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Thank you for the review NicoD! I received my PBP about two or three months ago. Shortly after I received it, the LCD backlight failed so I booted Armbian Focal from an SD card and backed-up and wiped my eMMC before returning my PBP for repair. (They did have to replace the display.) Armbian and my Pinephone dock (with Ethernet) saved the day, because very few distros have SSH enabled by default. I did not know at the time that, unlike my Pinephone, I could have simply unplugged the eMMC memory before returning it for warranty repair. Duh!

 

I too prefer the XFCE4 desktop. I find it to be amusing that the Manjaro KDE Fusion that ships with the PBP and Pinephone has the slogan, "Enjoy the Simplicity."

 

I agree with most of your opinions about the PBP and I have similar opinions and experiences with my PBP. I purchased the NVME adapter and also the PBP dock form the Pine Store and I installed a 1TB WD Blue SN550 SSD--primarily for storage capacity rather than performance. It is unfortunately that, even with a larger USB3-PD power supply, the battery still discharges slowly while in use. However, my NVME/SSD battery runtime is better than I expected, based on other reports. The NVMe, APST (Autonomous Power State Transitions) feature seems to work well on my SN550 so I do not set static power states and I just rely on APST to know what's good for me. ;) When I make power inquiries using the NVME cli tool, it seems to make good decisions. I am booting Manjaro from eMMC but then it mounts /root from the NVME SSD. I have not yet risked soft-bricking my PBP by flashing my SIP to boot directly from the Manjaro boot partition on my NVME SSD, but I left the boot partition on my NVME SSD after installation to try SIP booting someday. I currently boot Armbian from SD card.

 

The one area where Manjaro is working better than Armbian for me is the touch pad. Unlike you, I am not happy with the touch pad dynamics and feel, in general. Using Manjaro, there are many settings accessible via synclient and, with tweaks, I can live with the touchpad on Manjaro. However, I have not been able to get synclient working on Armbian Focal and the available libinput settings are very limited. Some of them don't appear to function correctly either and I've found it necessary to use props ID numbers rather than the text strings for setting properties with the xinput utility too.

 

There is more information here, for anyone who is interested in tweaking touchpad settings:

https://www.ubuntuvibes.com/2017/04/how-to-configure-touchpad-in-ubuntu.html

 

https://linuxhint.com/change_mouse_touchpad_settings_xinput_linux/  (Without UBlock Origin, the ads will drive you nuts on this site! :().

 

 

My current settings (and the list of very limited settings available on Armbian Focal):

sudo xinput list-props 11

Device 'HAILUCK CO.,LTD USB KEYBOARD Touchpad':
    Device Enabled (129):    1
    Coordinate Transformation Matrix (130):    1.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 1.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 1.000000
    libinput Tapping Enabled (282):    0
    libinput Tapping Enabled Default (283):    0
    libinput Tapping Drag Enabled (284):    1
    libinput Tapping Drag Enabled Default (285):    1
    libinput Tapping Drag Lock Enabled (286):    0
    libinput Tapping Drag Lock Enabled Default (287):    0
    libinput Tapping Button Mapping Enabled (288):    1, 0
    libinput Tapping Button Mapping Default (289):    1, 0
    libinput Natural Scrolling Enabled (264):    0
    libinput Natural Scrolling Enabled Default (265):    0
    libinput Disable While Typing Enabled (290):    1
    libinput Disable While Typing Enabled Default (291):    1
    libinput Scroll Methods Available (266):    1, 1, 0
    libinput Scroll Method Enabled (267):    1, 0, 0
    libinput Scroll Method Enabled Default (268):    1, 0, 0
    libinput Click Methods Available (292):    1, 1
    libinput Click Method Enabled (293):    1, 0
    libinput Click Method Enabled Default (294):    1, 0
    libinput Middle Emulation Enabled (271):    1
    libinput Middle Emulation Enabled Default (272):    0
    libinput Accel Speed (273):    0.200000
    libinput Accel Speed Default (274):    0.000000
    libinput Left Handed Enabled (278):    0
    libinput Left Handed Enabled Default (279):    0
    libinput Send Events Modes Available (249):    1, 1
    libinput Send Events Mode Enabled (250):    0, 0
    libinput Send Events Mode Enabled Default (251):    0, 0
    Device Node (252):    "/dev/input/event4"
    Device Product ID (253):    9610, 30
    libinput Drag Lock Buttons (280):    <no items>
    libinput Horizontal Scroll Enabled (281):    1
    Tapping Enabled (502):    "PRIMARY" (1)

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2 hours ago, calinb said:

I have not been able to get synclient working on Armbian Focal and the available libinput settings are very limited. Some of them don't appear to function correctly either and I've found it necessary to use props ID numbers rather than the text strings for setting properties with the xinput utility too.

Hi, nice read.

I could set my touchpad settings as I like it with Armbian Focal xfce4. In settings, mouse, then select touchpad.

I set the acceleration to 80%, and most important for me is the touch click. With some other desktops I wasn't able to do that.

I hope your PBP wil last you for a long time.

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6 hours ago, NicoD said:

Hi, nice read.

I could set my touchpad settings as I like it with Armbian Focal xfce4. In settings, mouse, then select touchpad.

I set the acceleration to 80%, and most important for me is the touch click. With some other desktops I wasn't able to do that.

I hope your PBP wil last you for a long time.

 

Thank you and also thank you for some of the performance data you presented in your review. It is very interesting information.

 

Application >> Settings >> Mouse and Touchpad was a good start, but the xinput cli command and creating an /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-libinput.conf allowed me to access features like "Middle Emulation Enabled" and "Disable While Typing Enabled." I'm getting closer to the settings I prefer.

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