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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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+.
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!