Raspberry Pi 400

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wove
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 4:47 pm

Raspberry Pi 400

Post by wove »

My Pi 400 arrived on Monday and I have had a couple days to play with it. It has thus far proved to be all that I hoped it would. The SD card that ran Trinity on my Pi 3B+ worked to start the Pi 400. Well almost the video on the 400 is different so I had to login on the console and "startx" to get to the desktop.

I did a fresh install of Raspberry Pi OS Light, installed the Trinity DE, moved the home folder over from the 3B+ and I am good to go. The Pi is a hobbyist machine so there are many different OSes that can be ran. Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Mate, and Manjaro are major distros directly supporting the Pi 400. FreeBSD had added it as a major architecture, so there are FreeBSD images. Kodi is available to make it a media box, and lots of emulators are available as well. Lots of opportunities for playing around.

The Pi 400 itself is almost exactally the same size as an Apple Magic Keyboard, which makes it smaller than I was expecting. It has a good selection of fast I/O that provide for flexible boot options. The Pi 400 itself includes no documentation, but the Getting Started manual that comes with the kit is available as a free pdf download. It is powered via USB C and an USB C adaptor that charges a laptop works fine.

The Pi 400 does have short comings of course. It is a cheap computer. The keyboard is usable, but it is not something one would want to spend all day writing term papers with. My usage involves lots of cables which works against a neat and clean desk surface. The USB C port is for charging only and does not provide any I/O.
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tlmiller
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Re: Raspberry Pi 400

Post by tlmiller »

I really wish they'd (or someone who has the ability to mass-produce them) make a pi400-esque device in a nice, full 104-key mechanical frame. I've seen a few projects putting them into 40% & 60% ortholinear mechanical keyboards, but I have no interest in anything less than 100%, and given that I've been typing for 30+ years, I have no interest in attempting to relearn key positions to move to an ortholinear. I also have no great desire to do it as a project, I'd love to be able to buy one, fully assembled, ready to use such as the pi400 is, just plug in and go.
wove
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Re: Raspberry Pi 400

Post by wove »

I think Pi's target market is education and developing countries, which is probably a good fit for the device. I have always felt that usability peripherals (key boards, mice, trackpads and such) are really over looked by users and by manufactureres. I think that the devices used to interact with a computer has as much impact on user satisfaction as does the power of the computer. I buy Thinkpads because they have outstanding keyboards.
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tlmiller
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Location: AZ, USA

Re: Raspberry Pi 400

Post by tlmiller »

Yup, my primary reason for buying Thinkpads as well. Latitudes are cheaper and easier to get, so I do buy them, and they (usually) do have nice keyboards (not all the time, Latitude 3379), but the Thinkpad keyboards simply cannot be challenged for laptop keyboards.
chris
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Re: Raspberry Pi 400

Post by chris »

What I like most about the Pi400 (I have not bought one yet though) is that all the connections are on one side (the back) instead of (Pi3/4)
network/usb on the back,
hdmi/power on one side,
sd card slot on the front, and
gpio on the other side
which means connections are all over the place.
Power and springy sd card slot on the front was better on the Pi2, too.
However, I would need it paired with a wireless keyboard and mouse as I really don't like having to sit close to the TV or with an inordinately long hdmi cable.
wove
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Re: Raspberry Pi 400

Post by wove »

You could set the Pi 400 as a computer box and use an external keyboard and mouse. It is quite compact and could just be velcroed or taped to the back of a monitor. I had my Pi 3B+ setting on a shelf beside my desk and I was never bothered much by the spider web of cables sticking out of it. You are very correct about the spring loaded micro SD. It is a great big improvement over the fiddly little slot on the bottom of the other Pies.
wove
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 4:47 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi 400

Post by wove »

The Raspberry Pi 400 has proved to be an excellent and versatile machine for my purposes. The keyboard seems to have broken in with usage, and while not a great keyboard it is usable. Trinity DE running on top of Raspberry Pi OS is a nice fit with this desktop. It handles my tasks easily within the resources of the Pi and provides a very nice consistent work environment.

All I/O on the Pi 400 goes through the one USB controller. There are times that is something of a bottle neck. A large file transfer to an external drive, will leave the keyboard and mouse very sluggish until the transfer is complete. All the I/O does come out the back and the cables go back under the monitor in a bundle so the desk remains fairly clutter free. Of all the devices I have purchased in the last year or so, the Pi 400 is by far the one device I am most happy with.
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