Here's an unboxing, teardown, and review of the new $80 Raspberry Pi 400 computer

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/11/heres-an-unboxing-teardown-and-review-of-the-new-80-raspberry-pi-400-computer.html

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Have not even watched the unboxing video but for some reason I have Sweet Transvestite stuck in my head :+1:t3:

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When I first saw it I admit I gave it a bit of an eye-roll, but after watching this, the RasPi 400 is actually not a bad little device. I’ve got used to running them headless and using SSH or RDP to work on them, but I could see this as a convenient option in some cases. The price isn’t bad for the kit considering what you get. And the comparison to the C64 made it make more sense to me. Like, oh yeah I forgot, that is where I got started.

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Yes, over here in the UK, comparisons to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum are unavoidable (it’s even basically the same price! - although, of course, inflation makes that a tricky call.) Because that’s where we started.

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It was the Timex Sinclair 1000 for me at the same price (though in 1980s dollars). I wonder if kids starting out with the RasPi 400 today get the same sense of limitless possibility that I did with that wonderfully horrible contraption.

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What use case would that be? I have a hard time thinking of one.

I find that I move my keyboard around my table quite a bit during the day, depending on what I am doing at the moment, so I guess I’d accidentally unplug cables a lot.

I also image that having the GPIO in the back is less convenient when prototyping stuff.

They are probably cashing in on that, everyone who got started on an 80ies home computer notes that similarity. Even though I think it will be pretty useless to me, I think it looks nice and I would like to have one.

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The use case it was made for: providing an inexpensive option for underprivileged kids to access a computer from home using already existing infrastructure, such as a TV.

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I am still confused that they didn’t add a touchpad (or one of those thinkpad nubs)…

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Yes, that is a reasonable use case.

For that use case I would have expected a normal HDMI port (not micro port), so that people can use a cheap or already existing cable, and also a cover for protecting the GPIO, which will not be used in that use case.

They only provide a rather short HDMI cable which will only barely reach around a desktop monitor. That will not work when the kid has to use e.g. a TV in the living room.

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I probably have a few dozen RasPis of all different versions and packages around here. Several are attached to breadboards that are a pain to move around even without a keyboard plugged into it. When a keyboard is attached it just seems to get in the way that much more (hence my comment about usually just running them headless). If the RasPi is the keyboard, it might make for that much less clutter.

Having the GPIO port in the back isn’t likely a big deal since you’d probably be connecting to it via a ribbon cable anyway. The additional heft of the keyboard and the cable coming out horizontally might help stabilize things from moving around too much too compared to a standard RasPi with a typical case.

Overall I think this package is probably a lot less daunting for the kids it’s intended for, and their parent’s with no programming/electronics experience that might have to help them with it.

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This. But in this case, it’s just a carry-over from the Pi4. I think that was a poor design decision on their part that was made more for marketing reasons than practical ones.

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It’s an extra cable one has to buy, yes and you could buy them at worse with ten quids.

They haven left out the audio/composite jack, so is a problem to use it with a DVI input and have audio, that is a bigger flub for me.

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the Pi 400 is seemingly aimed at the consumer market, but it has a dark secret: it’s an overclocking monster capable of running full-out at 2.15 GHz indefinitely in its stock configuration.

Mark, will BB be selling in the store? This would be a great buy to support the site!

Also, I think the price in the post might be off as I’m not finding it anywhere for under $100. :frowning:

ETA: I should have added that the only version I’m seeing in stock is the $100 kit. The less expensive version seems to be out of stock everywhere.

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It’s a tempting thing for sure. Not sure of my use case other than getting into Linux properly instead of futzing about with the odd distro on a memory stick. I’m curious how the Raspberry Pi 4 copes with a more demanding distro like Ubuntu or Mint.

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