The PinePhone Pro is a Linux-friendly smartphone with a 6 inch FHD+ display, a Rockchip RK3399S processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Priced at $400, it costs about twice as much as the original PinePhone, but it has better specs and should offer significantly better performance.
Pine64 unveiled the PinePhone Pro last fall and began shipping developer units in December. Today a PinePhone Pro Explorer Edition is available for anyone to purchase.
The Pine Store will begin taking pre-orders for the PinePhone Pro Explorer Edition January 11, 2022 at 11:00AM Pacific and the phone will begin shipping to backers by the end of January (Pine64 notes that you’ll want to place an order by January 17th in order to make sure yours is shipped in the first batch).
Keep in mind that this is an Explorer Edition device, which means it’s the first mass production run of the phone. That means a few things. First, there’s a small chance that there might be some hardware issues that haven’t been caught yet. But more importantly, there’s limited software support for the phone at the moment.
While there are currently more than 20 different operating systems that can at least boot on the original PinePhone, the list of PinePhone Pro operating systems is substantially shorter, although it does include popular options such as Arch Linux ARM, Manjaro ARM, the Debian-based Mobian, postmarketOS, and NixOS, as well as LuneOS (an open source continuation of Palm/HP’s weBOS) and some other Debian-based operating systems.
Another thing to keep in mind is that while the PinePhone Pro has better hardware than the original PinePhone, Pine64 plans to continue selling both phones indefinitely. The first-gen phone will continue to sell for $150 to $200, offering an entry-level option for folks that want to experiment with mobile Linux, while the higher-priced PinePhone Pro should offer a hardware experience closer to what folks would expect from a modern mid-range phone.
As for software, it’s still very much a work in progress. Developers of mobile Linux distributions have made a lot of progress in the past few years, but I still wouldn’t recommend most folks replace their Android or iOS phones with a Linux phone as their daily driver yet. Software is still less stable and there are fewer mobile-optimized apps. But battery life, sleep, resume, cellular connectivity, and camera functionality has gotten much better over time with the PinePhone, and many of those features should work out of the box with mobile Linux distributions for the PinePhone Pro.
Thanks to the recent launch of the $50 PinePhone Keyboard, you can also think of the PinePhone Pro as a $400 phone that can be used as a $450 mini-laptop.
Here’s a run-down on how the new PinePhone Pro compares with the original PinePhone, with upgrades marked in bold:
1440 x 720 pixel IPS LCD
Gorilla Glass 4
1440 x 720 pixel
2 x ARM Cortex-A72
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 @ 1.5 GHz
4 x ARM ……. Posted on