The three devices with (base) Linux that I regret having bought

Linux-based hardware

We have just passed the days of Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. During sales times, shopping is much easier, not always in a good way. And when we have a little extra money, the same thing. Sometimes we buy things that we don't need, but we do it because we believe that it will somewhat improve our user experience or quality of life. If we do not think things through well, we can always make a mistake, and here I am going to tell you about several that I have made when buying devices that use Linux as a base.

I'm not saying that buying something with Linux is a bad idea, nor that Linux isn't worth it. Let no one misunderstand me. Some devices are less good, and it is likely that what they offer us we can do with something we already have at home. That's exactly what has happened to me, and curiously the person primarily responsible for my regret when buying some devices has been someone else who also uses Linux.

PineTab: insufficient hardware and abandoned to its fate

Sorry for PINE64, but my story starts with the last device I bought that uses Linux by default: the pinetab. With a price of €88, which was later a little more, one was guilty of innocence and came to believe that one could have Linux on a tablet. Ubuntu Touch works on other devices, and even allows you to use desktop applications through Libertine, so I took the plunge.

The first days were fun (“this is funnier than fornite,” I said on a Telegram channel). There were many options to choose from: what if Mobian, Arch Linux, Ubuntu Touch, postmarketOS, Manjaro... Each and every one of them they dropped support for the original PineTab, although now there is a beta of Ubuntu Touch already based on Focal Fossa that supports this PINE64 tablet.

But from my experience, the tablet it was impossible to use. YouTube didn't even look good with any browser or app, the sound was terrible and not even the local videos looked decent. So with this device I do believe that I made a bad purchase. In about three years I did nothing more than update the tablet and try options to be able to report on what was available. For my use, zero potatoes. In the end I gave it to my brother who made a deal with an online sales service and I still got some money back.

But a fiasco.

Xiaomi Mi Box: Very fair Android TV

With this I intended to convert my LG Smart TV into a Smart TV with Android, and I did use it for a while. It's a good device for those who don't have anything else, but... I didn't really like it. My complaints with this device are at least 3:

  • 8GB of storage. They give little or nothing. If you decide to install just a few apps, you will run out of space. You can add a USB and expand the storage, but as I will explain in the last point, not everything is so simple.
  • 2GB of RAM. Some may think that it is more than enough, and it can be in most cases, but for the use I made it was just right.
  • Performance. Comments could and can be found complaining about the performance of the Xiaomi Mi Box. The main problem is to "wake it up" from rest, because the fluidity disappears; It's going terribly. In the comments on Reddit and those types of platforms they even said that it should not be put to sleep, that it was better to put it on a power strip with a button so that it could be disconnected completely and that it would restart every time.

I won't say that it is a bad device in general, but I do regret purchasing it.

Raspberry Pi 4: all kinds of Linux… but ARM

Some of you are probably shaking your head when you see this H2 title, but this is about me and my personal experiences. I don't remember if before or after the Xiaomi (probably before) I bought one Raspberry Pi 4. My intention was more than anything to use it as a multimedia center, to watch EVERYTHING and play emulators. I soon realized something that I had not appreciated before: its architecture does not allow the installation of any desktop program.

At the time I bought it ni it was possible to see Amazon Prime in the browser, and my idea of ​​​​having a single media center in which to do everything disappeared.

Although I'm telling a little lie here: I don't regret buying the RPi4 because it still I use it for all kinds of tests. I have sometimes taken it outside the house and used it as a desktop computer. But it is true that I can live without it, and that's why I added it to this list.

The culprits: two devices from 2015, one with Linux

The culprits of my regret are two devices from 2015. The first of them is an original Apple TV 4, the first to have an application store. At first I bought it thinking that I could play with her, but the jailbreak slowed her down and it wasn't as I expected. The truth is that this Apple TV He was also responsible for starting to look for alternatives.

The good thing about it is that, for legal content, it works better than nothing. Despite being HD, it looks perfectly fine on my TV, the controller feels premium and, well, it's what I use to watch most legal content... and a little more than eye patches with a parrot on my shoulder.

To use Kodi to the fullest and play emulators, there is no silver lining, and a Lenovo with i3, Intel graphics, 4GB of RAM and 512GB it turns out to be perfect. When I bought it I tried to see if it could be expanded easily, it wasn't, when assembling it some screws were lost (the computer is bad, it must be said) and the screen flickers, so I use it closed on the TV.

Being x86_64, it is possible to install any desktop application. It's more powerful than the RPi4, so PSP games run smoother, and I can even play PS2 games if I tweak the settings (I've skipped the first two God of War games and all).

Don't tempt me, Steam Deck, don't tempt me

This article was motivated in part by Steam deck. Being a computer with a screen and video game controller included, it can offer me everything I have always looked for... but I don't need it. Almost everything you can do with it, or what I would do with it from the point of view of someone who doesn't have it yet, I can do with my Lenovo, so the expense is not worth it. At least right now and for me.

This is what I should have done before buying devices like the three mentioned in this article, I didn't do it and I regret having bought it. I hope it doesn't happen to me again. But the Deck…


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