Raspberry Pi 400 review: The keyboard is the computer Review

The coronary heart of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s mission is to carry computing to all people, wherever they may be. The one-board Raspberry Pi units have gone a very long way to offering on that promise, via kits that bundle keyboard and mouse for a total computing encounter.

But what if the Pi was crafted into the keyboard? After all, there have been numerous tasks that place these units within laptop situations or crafted them into media centres, or storage devices. But individuals have all been third-celebration tasks, having off-the-shelf Raspberry Pi units and including them to new hardware. What if the boards could be redesigned, and built-in into, say, the formal Pi keyboard? 

The response to that issue is what I’m typing this review on, the Raspberry Pi 400. Making on the established 4GB Raspberry Pi 4, it is a gadget that looks back to the heyday of the house laptop or computer when even now becoming all set for the potential. Like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum or the Acorn Electron, it is a keyboard you can link to a Television set and get started coding, or taking part in games, or, well, whatsoever you want to do with a laptop or computer. 


The Pi 400 is crafted into a modified formal Raspberry Pi keyboard.

Illustrations or photos: The PiHut

The Pi 400 requires the common official Raspberry Pi keyboard with its chiclet keys, creating it slightly thicker and including in a new model of the common Pi hardware that operates a minimal more rapidly (one.5GHz rather than the standard one.2GHz) and that reroutes the ports so that almost everything, even the GPIO ports, are at the back of the keyboard. Almost everything you want is crafted-in less than the laptop-sized keys add a bootable file procedure and you happen to be all set to go. 


Ports on the Pi 400: GPIO, MicroSD card, 2x micro-HDMI, USB-C ability, 2x USB 3., USB two., Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45). Take note the absence of a 3.5mm audio-out jack.

Illustrations or photos: The PiHut

Regrettably, the redesign does imply that some ports usually are not offered. The Pi 400 isn’t going to have an audio-out jack, and it only has one USB two. port alongside two USB 3. ports. Also lacking are the Pi 4’s show and digital camera connectors, while it even now retains the Gigabit Ethernet port. It is very clear that the designers have experienced to make compromises to establish a fanless, more rapidly, gadget, and connectors have been the key casualties. That is not as a lot of an situation as you may possibly assume. The Pi 400 has one role: to be a individual laptop or computer, and the IoT-associated functions on the one-board Pis usually are not needed. 

The rest of the ports are common to Pi customers. Ability will come via USB-C, with two micro-HDMI ports for video clip. HDMI performs well below as it need to let you to link a Pi 400 to any the latest Television set, all set to go. You have two storage choices: the classic MicroSD card, or booting from an SSD. The Pi 400 will come with the latest firmware that supports USB boot, so it is worth taking into consideration making use of an external USB 3. SSD drive, which enhances effectiveness and is much more trusted than a MicroSD card. 

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The Pi 400 will come in two distinctive deals: the device on its own, or in a kit with a mouse, a ability offer, a bootable MicroSD card, and a micro-HDMI-to-HDMI video clip cable. The latter alternative is possible to be the most popular selection, as it is almost everything you want to get began. Other choices supply alternate keyboard layouts for non-English locations — at this time Spanish, French, German, and Italian, with much more variants prepared. 

You have quite a few distinctive running procedure choices, beyond Raspberry Pi’s own OS. This 32-little bit Debian-derived Linux is a very good way to get began, but you may want a much more mainstream Linux distribution. The Raspberry Pi Imager will download sixty four-little bit variations of both Ubuntu and Manjaro Linuxes, with an alternate alternative in the shape of an current release of the unique ARM OS, RISC OS, as applied on the original Acorn Archimedes home computer systems. 

We applied Raspberry Pi OS for our examination procedure, putting in it on a Essential BX500 240GB two.five-inch SSD, linked via a SATA-to-USB 3. adapter, making use of its Wi-Fi to link to our examination community. Of course, it is a little bit ungainly, acquiring USB-linked storage like this, but it is fast sufficient for most purposes and gives a good deal much more place than an 8GB or 16GB MicroSD card. Efficiency in general was very good, with a Geekbench 5 single-main rating of 212 and a multi main rating of 642. That is a awesome strengthen above the 8GB Pi 4 we analyzed (183 and 586 respectively), even with only 4GB of RAM. 


Writing this review on the Pi 400 making use of LibreOffice Writer.

Picture: Simon Bisson / ZDNet

With the hardware established up and functioning, the issue is of course, what can you do with it? The easy response is, really a lot anything at all you want. The Linux ARM ecosystem has been increasing well, and most frequent applications already have ports. We had been in a position to use LibreOffice for most productiveness responsibilities, along with the default Chromium browser. Regrettably, Google has removed sync capabilities from Chromium, which indicates your Chrome extensions and passwords will never migrate to your new desktop. You can even now set up extensions from the Chrome Retailer, but it may consider a minimal for a longer period to get established up. 

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The Raspberry Pi workforce gives a record of selected applications to assist you get began, and if the software you want to use is just not there, then you can use Debian’s Synapse package deal manager to come across and set up apps from the Raspberry Pi OS repositories. You should not count on to operate superior-conclude games, however. This is a gadget for essential house computing and improvement responsibilities, not for pushing to extremes. And which is just great. 

What the Raspberry Pi 400 are unable to do isn’t going to subject. What is critical is what it can do. Plugging a keyboard into a Television set and launching a code editor to establish your 1st app stays fascinating, and by giving total kits for £93.ninety, or $one hundred ten.forty one (a standalone Pi 400 is only £66.ninety, or $seventy eight.66), it is an very affordable way to get began with computing. Academic bundles are offered, way too, so schools can promptly established up networked laptop or computer labs with very low-cost units and essential monitors, all set to get complete classes on-line and coding. 


If you happen to be in the market for a very low-cost laptop or computer for a little bit of coding or some net browsing, or even making use of a essential productiveness suite, then the Raspberry Pi 400 will be the machine for you. It is brief to get likely, easy to use, and makes a flawlessly credible Linux desktop Laptop — all at an extremely very affordable cost.

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