2 months ago

The best Raspberry Pi laptop kits

Want to make your Pi more portable? Here are some of the best ways to turn a Raspberry Pi into a laptop computer

The Piper computer 

Raspberry Pi devices powering old laptops and custom mini computers have always been a popular idea in the Pi community. As tech compatible with Pi and other hardware becomes more available, so has the feasibility of these kind of projects – so much so, that you can now get all-in-one computer kits. Here are some of our fave Raspberry Pi laptop kits & projects.

Piper Computer Kit 2: The play-chest computer

An educational computer kit, the Piper computer (£274 / $299) is laid out like a Pi-powered laptop but uses the space more efficiently for storage and setting up fun programming tasks. You can just install Raspbian on it, though, if you wish.

pi-top 3: the original laptop kit

This lean, green, Kickstarted module laptop machine is the original Raspberry Pi laptop kit. There are several variations of the pi-top (£245 / $320) that sell for a wide variety of prices, but the original laptop configuration remains a favourite to this day.

pitop

The pi-top 2 computer system

CrowPi: A briefcase PC

Another crowdfunded laptop, the CrowPi (£186 / $239) looks like a spy kit worthy of Bond himself. Full of cool components and connectivity, it’s a great way to carry fun Pi-powered projects around with you.

crowpi

The CrowPi

Kano Computer Kit Touch: Screen and keyboard, no folding

Kano (£280 / $280) has been producing Pi-powered computer kits for years, and this version is a touchscreen tablet with an additional external keyboard. While not a traditional style of laptop, it does function fairly similarly to one.

kano

The Kano Computer Kit touch

LapPi: See-through DIY

The recent LapPi project (£119 / $155) from the folks at SB Components is a laptop that you not only build, but also see all the components inside when you’re done! It comes in various sizes with different audio solutions for all your budgetary needs.

lappi

The LapPi

Mini Handheld Notebook: Build from scratch

This Adafruit Mini Handheld Notebook project from the venerable Ruiz Bros lets you create a very tiny Pi laptop/netbook using a full-sized Raspberry Pi. You’ll need to source the parts individually, although that does mean you can switch them for alternatives as you see fit.
Portable Pi Laptop

Adafruit Mini Handheld Notebook

The Adafruit Mini Handheld Notebook project

Pi Supply Juice: Barebones build

Designed by Pi Supply to make use of its versatile PiJuice battery module, this very simple Barebones Build uses the bare minimum of elements to make a laptop-like design possible. And it works just as well as the Kano and RasPad kits do!

Pi Supply Portable Pi

Pi Supply Portable Pi laptop

Nano Pi2 UMPC: Palm-sized laptop

The Nano Pi2 UMPC is the smallest ‘laptop’ we’ve seen that makes use of a full-sized Raspberry Pi. It even features a neat clamshell design! Again, you’ll have to source all the parts to make it yourself. It’s well worth the effort, though.

nano

The Nano Pi2 UMPC is the smallest handheld Pi we’ve seen

LEGO Raspberry PiBook: Dig out your bricks

An oldie but a goodie – while the LEGO Raspberry PiBook project was designed with the original Pi Model B in mind (with an updated Pi Zero version later), the setup is very easy to modify so that you can use a more powerful Raspberry Pi 3B+.

LEGO PiBook

We adore this Lego Raspberry PiBook project

Laptop builds and ideas in The MagPi 74

If you fancy trying out some other laptop building methods, take a look at The MagPi #74 for our ‘Build a laptop’ feature!

The MagPi issue 74