Education and learning have always been important factors in my life. I have been using Raspberry Pi computers for many years as a tool for learning about the Internet of Things (IoT), programming, networking, and electronics.
The pi-top laptop is designed for schools to teach computing, programming, and electronics. The new pi-top v2 has recently been released and I was interested in trying it out. I am programming in Go (GoLang) and reading from sensors connected to a Raspberry Pi, so it also makes sense to develop this code on a Raspberry Pi itself.
The pi-top v2 has a 14″ full HD 1920×1080 screen and a six to eight hour battery life, making it perfect for programming on the go. A Raspberry Pi 3 is mounted inside the laptop, under the sliding keyboard, providing a fast ARM based computer running the pi-top operating system Polaris. The Raspberry Pi 3 has 1GB of memory, which is enough for programming and a couple of tabs open in Chrome. The keyboard is in US layout on all models.
The pi-top v2 comes with an Inventors Kit containing electronic components that can be plugged into the breadboard provided to complete simple projects. This is a great starting point to anyone just beginning their journey with electronics.
The breadboard can be found under the sliding keyboard. The Raspberry Pi has a 40 pin GPIO interface that allows for input and output, as well as serial and I2C communications.The pi-top includes a heatsink to dissipate the heat, which also serves to connect the Raspberry Pi GPIO header with the pi-top main board. There is a USB socket under the keyboard, which I am currently using for a USB memory stick to provide extra storage.
The pi-top is really nice to use for programming, especially because of the large screen. It just proves what a £32 Raspberry Pi can actually do. The pi-top touch pad can take a little getting used to. Do be careful not to open too many tabs in Chrome, as there is limited memory available. The limiting factor is definitely the 1GB of memory, which can easily make your Raspberry Pi self-implode when all the memory gets used up.
Once you understand what is possible and what is not, it definitely ensures you keep on track with your programming and learning, and stops you getting distracted!