Comparison Acer CB5-311 vs. PinebookPro

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Comparison Acer CB5-311 vs. PinebookPro

Postby vman » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:54 pm

TL;DR: If you have video playback working on the Chromebook, then the PinebookPro is not much of an "upgrade" to you, I guess. For me it does improve wireless computing quite a bit, though. :-)

I posted this, because the PinebookPro was mentioned a few times as a possible upgrade to the Acer Chromebook discussed mainly in Acer Chromebook CB5-311 mainline.

It is still early for a comparison, but after a few weeks with the PinebookPro, and a few years with the Acer Chromebook I can say the following:

Both devices have advantages and disadvantages. The hardware is quite similar, with 4 GByte of RAM each, and a quad-core CPU. The case is almost exactly the same size. Yet the Pinebook's screen is a little bigger, thanks to slimmer bezels. This, and the very thin hand-rest, make the Pinebook look more modern (unsurprisingly, considering how much older the Chromebook is).

The display is the Pinebook's biggest advantage, on the hardware side. From the beginning the Chromebook's display was looking a bit pale and not exactly sharp to me. At the same full-hd resolution the Pinebooks display gives a much better impression.

With sound, it's the opposite: I found the Chromebook's sound pretty impressive for such a small, low-cost device. The Pinebook on the other hand, sounds really cheap, like there is almost no base at all.

Another problem is a possible high pitch noise (forum discussion) coming from the Pinebook. It usually goes away when I modify the brightness a little, but it is annoying nonetheless. Absolute silence was the main reason I got the Chromebook initially.

The price was also a factor, of course, and here the Pinebook is not doing so great, for 2020. Including shipping and taxes (payable to the delivery boy) I paid close to 300 Euro for it... ok, looking at some amd64 notebook dealer assures me that this is still a good price today. Yet if you're not afraid of getting a second-hand computer, you'll probably get a more powerful system looking at old MacBookAirs or similar devices.

Overall the Chromebook feels more solid, and I like the keyboard better (maybe because I'm used to it). The Chromebook's trackpad is a little bigger and a lot more responsive. Partly this may be a software issue, but my impression is that the Pinebook's trackpad just is not that great. The metal case of the Pinebook feels good too - but touching the lid quickly leads to visible fingerprints.

Another thing I noticed is how much I got used to the Chromebook just turning on as I open the lid. With the Pinebook I have to press a button to turn it on. And, what's worse in the current state, I have to wait what feels like three seconds at least before I get any feedback from it, i.e. one of the leds turns on.

On the software side the Pinebook certainly wins, especially in the long run. It was made for Linux, and there is a vivid community around it. Even though I put a lot of effort into it, I never got to see decent video playback support in native Linux on the Chromebook. Of course I can see what the Chromebook is capable of, using ChromeOS. But only months after its release Manjaro Linux on the Pinebook now plays hd videos from Youtube in Chromium, without me having to do anything for it (except updating). There are still rough edges with the bootloader u-boot either not booting from sd card, or even failing to boot from the internal memory - but these will probably get ironed out soon.

Another thing that's problematic with the Chromebook is the wifi support: speed is ok for web browsing, but not for accessing files from a local server. Apparently this is a driver issue. The Pinebook's speed seems pretty good, though.
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:00 pm

Re: Comparison Acer CB5-311 vs. PinebookPro

Postby ak404 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:06 pm

does this guy mention something and refers to a PKGBUILD

i never got akin to those bash scripts and trying to patch. but he does say its with network manager. and my understanding with modules and userspace applications are no help. slackware works good with xe303c12. But with the kernel mainline there is a bug when the device is put through suspend i have seen the wireless turn off. other than that nothing with the wifi stands less solid.
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Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:54 am

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