Vex Robotics Robotic Arm Educational Build Kit Netgear's Unite Explore Hotspot Connects Worldwide With 4G LTE

Jul 29

LattePanda Windows 10 Microcomputer Review

LattePanda is a new and hackable microcomputer board, that is really small and comes preloaded with Windows 10. I found it to be fun to build, configure and start learning the Arduino computing environment for $109. LattePanda (updated link) also sells multiple accessories for its microcomputer such as cases made out of light-weight balsa wood, 7” screens, touch panel overlays, a micro USB cable and 2A wall charger.

I was sent the LattePanda microcomputer with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC memory with Windows 10. The accessories I found that would be fun to build along with the computer are mentioned above. Everything arrived a few days later in a box from DFRobot.com.

Disclosure: I received a LattePanda at no cost for review. I have not received any other compensation for the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos are courtesy of LattePanda unless otherwise noted.


LattePanda Microcomputer Unboxing

The LattePanda board came wrapped in a static-free bag along with a small antenna cable for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Assembling the wood case took the most amount of time, but everything was numbered and a graphic explained where all of the pieces should go, just like IKEA products.

Before fitting the LattePanda board into the small wooden case, attach the included antenna cable. It is a tight fit when the case is done and closed. When attaching the ribbon cables for the 7” screen and touch screen overlay, do that without the attachment of the fourth side to the case. Slip the cables through the labeled ports on the fourth side, attach them per instructions and then finish building the case, including the top. Be aware there are several ‘buttons’ that my slip out while placing the board into the case.

You may find that one of the sides needs to be loosened to fit everything inside, do not be discouraged, all should be good when the cables are locked in place. This is where four hands may be a good option for assembly. The computer requires a 2A micro USB power source. DFRobot sells 2A wall chargers and micro USB cables, those are good options to buy ahead of time.

Seconds after plugging in the power cable, the LattePanda’s top LED will blink a few times and a side LED will turn red. This is normal operation. The wood case offers two buttons on the side for operation, power and reset buttons. The first time I booted up the Latte Panda, it presented a cool Panda face with coffee bean eyes.

Windows 10 loaded quickly with its quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM. It is nice that LattePanda loaded Windows 10 on it before shipping, as it saves a lot of time. It asked me to create an account and password to use Windows. You will need additional memory to store files, so buying a class 10 micro SD card from a company like SanDisk is a good idea.

LattePanda Windows 10 Microcomputer Kit
LattePanda Windows 10 Microcomputer Kit

DFRobot offers the LattePanda microcomputer board in three versions. One without a Windows 10 product key, the version I tested which came with a Windows 10 product key and a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage without a Windows 10 product key.

I was able to create a Windows account and access its wireless menu options with the on-screen keyboard and touch screen overlay installed. Beyond the basics, it has several USB ports, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, a micro SD slot, an audio out port and many more ports related to using its Arduino functionality. It comes with an Arduino compatible co-processor as well.

The ribbon cables for the screen and touch overlay seem very fragile. It is not something that you will want to continuously flex back and forth every day. It should be configured to be used without a screen or connected to a screen via HDMI. Maybe mount it inside of a larger case that keeps the screen and cables stable. Or use the screen inside of a custom case to keep them from flexing.

I was able to surf the web, play videos from the web, check email and play a few simple web based games. I barely noticed it was downloading Windows 10 updates in the background.

“LattePanda is also designed with an Arduino compatible co-processor, which means it can be used to control and sense the physical world, just like an Arduino board! Whether you are a Windows developer, an IoT developer, a hardware DIY fanatic, interactive designer, robotics whizz, or a maker, LattePanda can aid your creative process with physical computing projects!”

As a project computer, I like the simplicity and hand-held size of the LattePanda and its various accessories. I have built hundreds of larger computers with drives, cases and power supplies. I tested it to run off of a Lenmar PowerPort Wave 6600 battery pack with a 2.1A output USB port. It ran for several hours and the battery had more than 50% of its charge remaining.

LattePanda is currently developing LattePanda ALPHA. It will feature an Intel 7th-gen dual-core four-threaded CPU and has 4x the benchmark score of this original LattePanda microcomputer.

Rating: 4/5

Comments are closed.