Pi-Top V2 Review – Having bumped into the friendly people behind this Raspberry Pi accessory a couple of times at Maker Faire, we’ve finally got round to trying it ourselves. It’s a plastic case that has every part of a laptop except the computer, which you add by installing a Raspberry Pi, the low-cost single-board mini-PC that’s become popular with schools, inventors and general tinkerers.
A laptop for your Pi with a surprisingly good screen
The price above (direct from the manufacturer) includes a brand new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, so you don’t need to add anything. Although they’re based in London, it’s priced – so you’ll need to check the current exchange rate for your payment method. Delivery takes 2-3 weeks. You can also buy the Pi-Top elsewhere, but check that it’s version 2, with the multi-touch trackpad at the front, and which Pi (if any) is included.
It may look like a child’s toy – in a good way – but the Pi-Top is solid enough to type on without feeling flimsy, and the slide-off lid gives you access to slot in the Pi and connect up all the bits. You’ll need nimble fingers, but no special skills.
The rechargeable battery will last six to eight hours. The 14in screen isn’t particularly bright or vivid, but with Full HD resolution and wide viewing angles it feels positively luxurious in a product like this. An obvious omission is a webcam, which is theoretically possible with a Pi, but tricky.
You also get pi-topOS, a version of the Linux-based Raspbian operating system with extras to help you learn to code and control physical components, and an Inventor’s Kit that starts you off with bits and bobs like LED lights, resistors, and an electronics ‘breadboard’ that clamps magnetically to rails inside the Pi-Top. Everything you need is here to make a smart robot, music synthesiser or steady-hand buzzer game. The Scratch programming language, a popular choice for kids, is also supplied.
It’s not so cheap that every Pi user will want one, but so thoughtfully put together that many will find it well worth the money
It's not so cheap that every Pi user will want one, but so thoughtfully put together that many will find it well worth the money
See also THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO…OLED laptops
This stand-up desktop version, with a coarser 1366×768- pixel screen and no battery or extras, is a cheaper option
14in 1920×1080-pixel screen • Battery • Charger • 2x USB 2.0 ports • 10/100 Ethernet port • Headphone jack • pi-topOS on 8GB SD card • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ • Inventor’s Kit • 40x345x220mm (HxWxD)