With the PinePhone Pro, Pin64 wants to launch a smartphone equipped with an open-source Linux operating system, which offers better hardware than its predecessor , the PinePhone. Compared to the top dogs from Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Co., the gap is still quite large . After the announcement in October last year, the device will start shipping in the US at the end of the month .
In this case, the selection of suitable components is not so easy for the manufacturer Pin64, since most of the large chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm or Samsung do not want to release open drivers or circuit diagrams . However, these are required if the device is to function according to the intended open source principle .
In the PinePhone Pro, the choice fell on the lesser-known Rockchip RK3399 as the SoC , which has two Cortex-A72 CPUs and four Cortex-A53 CPUs . According to initial assessments, the processor should roughly match the performance of mid-range SoCs from Qualcomm from 2o16 .
The other technical data of the device are also more in the entry-level range. The phone has a 6-inch LCD screen with 1440 × 720 pixels (HD), 4 GB RAM, 128 GB eMMC storage and a 3,000 mAh battery . There's a USB-C port with 15W charging power, a headphone jack, a 13MP main camera and an 8MP front camera .
However, it is remarkable that the back cover can be removed and the battery can be replaced as well as the internal memory can be upgraded via a microSD slot. Together with the headphone jack , this almost creates a certain retro charm.
There is also a set of privacy DIP switches that can be used to turn off the modem, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, microphone, rear camera, front camera and headphones . They are just as accessible as pogo pins.
The pogo pins support a variety of snap-on backs that are compatible with both the original PinePhone and the PinePhone Pro. For example, there's no built-in biometrics , but Pine64 sells a $25 back panel with a capacitive fingerprint reader . There's no wireless charging , but a $10 back panel can be purchased that adds that feature. The fanciest option is a $50 keyboard case with a 6,000mAh battery . This turns the cell phone into a mini laptop .
As far as the software is concerned, thanks to the open source principle , it is up to the user to decide what is to be loaded onto the device. However, the clear target group are Linux enthusiasts who are willing to work with some rough edges. The original PinePhone , still priced at $150 , is still in production. Deliveries of the Pro model will begin on January 24th .