The CrowPi L is a fun educational laptop for those seeking to learn more about coding and how to build a laptop from scratch. It would be a great Saturday project with your kids that can stimulate their interest in playing with a laptop or tablet and their curiosity about everything that goes on behind the screen.
However, in my case, my children are grown up, and I am left alone to fiddle with them. Sadly, I quickly lost interest because I’m an Apple native who likes things that take no effort and work right out of the box, which says more about me than the CrowPi.
To me, the CrowPi L is more like a game than a real laptop. And again, this is more on me because, as a reviewer, I’m spoiled by high-end metal monsters that make me feel a little elite. The idea of a small touchpad near the screen bothers me, but it’s not intended for me; It’s for the little ones I no longer have.
But enough of me waxing about the next blank nesting, let’s take a quick look at the actual CrowPi L, the device I wish I had about 20 years ago so I could teach my kids a little about electronics and the basics of coding.
You can get the CrowPi L for $239 for the base model, but adding a Raspberry Pi-4B 4GB module costs an additional $145, while it costs another $157 for the Raspberry Pi-8GB module.
You can take CrowPi L Amazon (Opens in a new tab) Or at Elcro
The CrowPi L looks like a chunky netbook from the mid-2000s. The all-plastic body is very toy-like, and the chrome-plated CrowPi logo on the lid is a nice touch to the Made by Mattel feel.
When you open it up, your eye meets a small edge-to-edge keyboard.
The small touchpad sits above the keyboard on the right near the power button as we look at the 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768.
The screen is very bright, clocking in at 300 nits during testing.
On the right, we find a USB Type C port that is also used to charge the laptop, an HDMI port, an audio jack, and a 40Pin GPIO expansion port.
On the left are three USB Type-A ports and an Ethernet port.
I have to say that turning on the CrowPi L was a nostalgic moment because it reminded me of my first Canon laptop from the mid-90s. But one of the first things I noticed was the masses. It’s loud and creates a consistent buzz that sounds like an old Tesla coil.
Booting up takes a few moments as the code does its thing, reminding me of my Commodore 64 from back in the day.
I will add that once it is fully operational; You are immediately taken to the Letscode and Python Lessons apps so you can start learning. Both are very intuitive and will teach you how to create code for games or code to control different aspects of your Pi laptop.
It guides you through many projects using Letscode, Thonny, Geany, and other apps. I couldn’t get into it due to lack of time and, frankly, lack of having a child of the right age to share the experience with. It’s a learning tool and experience that I highly recommend to anyone with a tech kid. It reminds me of one of those electrical projects my dad would buy at Radio Shack and then sit with me on a Saturday afternoon, and we’d build a radio or that time he taught me how to take apart a carburetor, fix it, and put it in the car. It’s rich on many levels, but not something I would use as a daily driver.
As a laptop, the CrowPi L compares to a lower-end Chromebook as the operating system seems to be based on Chromium Browser, which is included. I discovered that I could surf the web, check emails, and thanks to its integration webcam you can even use it for a file Google is dead although I don’t suggest it because I’m snooty and the image quality is primitive and sluggish.
The $249 CrowPi L is a great Saturday afternoon project for you and your child, ages 6 to 12 if they’re interested in how technology works and want to learn how to code. If not, it will just be a spare device to slowly check emails. Because of its plastic build, it feels like a toy, but that’s kind of the point rather than letting your kid lose it on the expensive aluminum laptop.
I want to thank CrowPi L for the nostalgia trip. While I may not have the patience to sit down and learn to code with the cool apps available in the CrowPi, I’m glad I took the time to give it a try so I can enjoy that kid-like feeling of wonder again; It was so cathartic and liberating, and it reminded me to cherish every teaching and learning moment that I shared not only with my parents but with my kids.
Pick up the CrowPi L and spend the day with your child. Even if you get bored of it, you will never forget the time you spent together trying to learn something new. Perhaps that is why it is called a learning experience. Embrace your inner child, hug your kids even tighter, and have a great day.
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