Pine64 launches PinePhone Pro-Linux smartphone with stronger hardware

Pine64 comes with a Pro variant of the PinePhone. Pine64 calls it the “best way to experience mainline Linux on a mobile device.” From the outside, the device looks the same as the regular PinePhone, but inside, much of the hardware has been upgraded.

The PinePhone Pro gets a Rockchip RK3399S-soc that consists of two A72 cores and four A53 cores, all running at 1.5GHz. The GPU is an ARM Mali T860 quad-core at 500MHz and the working memory has been increased to 4GB lpddr4 with a speed of 800MHz. Finally, storage is 128GB of emmc memory. That is an improvement on all fronts compared to the original PinePhone, which will remain in production by the way. According to Pine64 itself, the performance of the Pro can be expected to be in line with recent midrange Android smartphones. Compared to the PineBook, it will be about 20 percent slower.

The camera has also been upgraded and goes from a 5MP Omnivision sensor to a 13MP Sony sensor. The front camera goes from 2MP to 5MP. As far as WiFi is concerned, support for ac WiFi has been added. On the outside, the phone remains the same; it is 2mm thicker than the original and slightly heavier, but otherwise the same. The 3000mAh battery is also unchanged.

Like the PinePhone, the Pro will run on Manjaro Linux with KDE Plasma Mobile. Pine64 does expect the phone to be compatible with “most operating systems already available for the original PinePhone.” An important detail is that booting from the SD card with the Pro is not possible because the Rockchip chipset does not support it, as Linmob notes in his extensive comparison between the two models. However, the site also expects the community to find something through bootloader developments.

The PinePhone Pro will cost $399, excluding shipping and import duties. The first pre-orders are open to developers who contribute a lot to the community around Pine64 devices. It is not stated when the rest can pre-order. The first units will be delivered early in 2022. Developer Martijn Braam, who is involved in the community, already has a copy and has shot a video.