CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Learning Kit Review – Part 1 – Unboxing and First Boot

Last month, we wrote about Elecrow introducing CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 laptop and electronics learning kit for its launch on Kickstarter crowdfunding website.

The company has now sent one of its kits to CNX Software for evaluation and review. I’ll start by checking out the content of the package, and boot it up, before publishing a more detailed review in a few weeks.

The package is fairly big and highlights it’s made for kids over 8 years old with close to 100 course resources and over 20 electronics modules.

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The back of the package list the main features and package contents with for example a 11.6″ Full HD display, Raspberry Pi 4 4GB board running a customized (Linux) system or Retropie for game emulation, electronics components and modules like servos and motors, as well as some resources for gaming including two USB gamepads.

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The first things we get when opening the package are some “Minecraft carton papers” and the user manual which describes the hardware and how to get started with the “customized system”.

CrowPi2 looks like a typical laptop, albeit fairly thick. All laptop comes with storage, but Elecrow device taking the meaning of storage to another level, as there’s an actual storage compartment to keep components, RFID tags, NFC cards, etc..

We’ll find the four USB 3.0 ports and Ethernet RJ45 jack from the Raspberry Pi 4 on one side, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume and power button, the 12VDC jack and 5V Micro USB port on the other.

That’s because CrowPi2 supports both 12V and 5V power input. The laptop does not come with an internal battery, which means you can either power it with the 12V/2A adapter that provided in the kit while at home or in the classroom, as your own 5V/3A power bank while on the go. That’s 24W vs 15W so using the power adapter is likely a more reliable choice especially since many micro USB cables are known to lead to issues due to their relatively high resistance.

But as soon as we take out the keyboard, it’s very clear CrowPi2 is much more than a simple Raspberry Pi laptop with a wide range of sensors and displays,  as well as a small breadboard, and more. Note the keyboard is not attached to the main chassis in any way, so care must be taken while transporting the laptop.

You’ll find the full description in our initial announcement, and we’ll test some of those in the second part of the review.

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Besides the modules built right into the laptop, there are also some other accessories with electronics components, jumper cable, a moisture sensor, NFC cards, a servo and DC/stepper motors, an HDMI adapter board for Raspberry Pi 1/2/3 board, RFID tag and card, an IR remote control, two gamepads, a 12V/2A power supply, a wireless mouse, 32GB MicroSD card with RetroPie, a MicroSD card reader, and two screwdrivers.

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The second MicroSD card with the customized system is already installed, so I connected the power supply, pressed the power button on the chassis, and within a few seconds got to the main user interface.

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It has icons for projects, Minecraft, AI, games, as well as Python, Arduino, and Scratch programming. So it looks like a good platform for kids to learn and play.  Since it’s based on Raspberry Pi 4 I’d suspect other operating systems like Raspberry Pi OS should work outside of the box, or potentially with minor modifications to the /boot/config.txt file for the HDMI display.

I’d like to thank Elecrow for sending a review sample. The crowdfunding campaign is still on-going with 15 days to go. The kit reviewed here is similar – albeit the exact accessories list differs a bit – to the “CrowPi2 Starter Kit” with RPi 4 SBC going for $240, but if you’d like to use your own Raspberry Pi board and get fewer accessories, you could also get the Basic Kit for around $170.

Continue reading CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Education Laptop Review.

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