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Pi-Top Turns a Raspberry Pi into an Inventor’s Laptop

The Raspberry Pi $35 single-board computer offers a great way for anyone to start learning to code, make robots, or simply get a cheap computer to use. But it is just a board and you need to buy a number of other things to make it work. That's where pi-top comes in.

The London-based company took all the other things you need, such as a display, keyboard, and power source, and turned the Raspberry Pi into a modular laptop called the pi-top. Today, the second version of the pi-top launched with an included Inventor's Kit.

The goal of pi-top is to offer a platform for learning built on top of the Raspberry Pi board. This new pi-top laptop includes a 14-inch 1080p display housed inside a bright green casing, a sliding keyboard, trackpad, modular rail for accessories, battery offering up to eight hours of use between charges, an 8GB Class 10 SD card, and a power adaptor. The price is set at $319.99 including a a Raspberry Pi 3, or $284.99 without.

Out the box, you have a usable laptop (once you've built it). The laptop runs on pi-topOS, which is based on the very popular Raspbian OS many Raspberry Pi users choose. pi-topOS adds a coding environment, space exploration game, a new interface, and online classroom management software to help with teaching.

The sliding keyboard is necessary to access to the modular rail inside. It allows for a range of pi-top accessories to be installed and experimented with. This isn't just a laptop, it's a hardware testbed. The Inventor's Kit that ships with the pi-top contains 20 parts and allows for the creation of a robot, music maker, game, or whatever else you can think of.

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The pi-top is set to start shipping before the end of October worldwide. In the US, Adafruit, Best Buy, Micro Center, Sparkfun, and Troxell are just a few of the retailers planning to stock it.

If a laptop isn't for you, or the price tag is too high, then consider the pi-topCEED instead. It's a Raspberry Pi desktop PC with a 14-inch (1366-by-768) display for just $149.99.

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