The CrowPi L is a Raspberry Pi-powered laptop designed to educate, engage, and entertain young minds while introducing them to programming and electronics. It combines enjoyable activities and engaging courses to educate children how to code. The kit includes a number of instructions to try as well as projects that will appeal to a wide range of interests. There’s a lot for youngsters to learn and enjoy, from lessons on how to build and programme games to hands-on projects that teach electronic ideas and how circuitry works.
The CrowPi L costs $239 (now on sale for $203(opens in new tab)) and includes a USB wireless mouse, a 32 GB microSD card preloaded with the custom OS, educational applications, and a unique GPIO expansion shield for hardware projects.
Pricing and Inventory
The CrowPi L comes in a variety of configurations. You may pick between the basic and advanced models, which are roughly $60 more expensive because they include the Crowtail Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi. This kit contains the various motors and sensors required for the Letscode (Elecrow’s modified version of the Scratch programming language) and Python hardware projects. It is shipped in a separate package.
The laptop is only available in matte white, however you may choose between a white or black keyboard. If you don’t already have one, you can add a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB or 8GB to your order on Elecrow’s website.
Our review sample was an advanced model that included a white keyboard and the Crowtail Starter Kit but no Raspberry Pi.
It’s worth noting that the CrowPi L isn’t compatible with Raspberry Pi 3 or older, so if you don’t have a Raspberry Pi 4, you’ll have to buy it as an add-on (or buy one elsewhere). The business states that this option was introduced to help with the chip scarcity. The Raspberry Pi 4 remains far above its original MSRP, however Elecrow’s site currently sells it for significantly less than Amazon(opens in new tab).
|Basic Model||Advance Model|
|Without Raspberry Pi||$239*||$299|
|Add Raspberry Pi 4B – 4GB||$145||$145|
|Add Raspberry Pi 4B – 8GB||$157||$157|
*At the moment, Elecrow is offering a 15% discount on their website, bringing the most basic model down to $200.
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The CrowPi L’s design
While previous CrowPi models included built-in modules, the CrowPi L’s design has been streamlined to resemble a standard laptop. The outside is completely white, with a light grey interior surrounding the 11.6-inch display and white keyboard keys. It’s a small, stylish gadget that might easily serve as a child’s first laptop.
The CrowPi L is precisely the appropriate size for a child’s lap, measuring 11.46 x 7.5 x 1.8 inches and weighing just more than 2 pounds. The plastic chassis has a sturdy and solid feel about it. However, it is not a silent system. You may hear the fan whirring underneath, so be careful not to position it in a way that would restrict airflow.
The CrowPi L features a 40-pin GPIO port slot on the right side of the laptop. Attach the custom extension shield here, which will be used for all of the hardware programming projects in the package. It’s a neat feature, but it’s only helpful if you upgrade to the advanced model, buy the Crowtail kit separately, or want to conduct your own electronics projects with jumper wires.
The CrowPi L also offers an HDMI connector for connecting another monitor for more screen real estate. This was a very beneficial feature for me because the tutorials themselves take up half the screen and leave such a small space for the coding apps. This is especially true with the Letscode programme, which allows you to code by dragging and dropping blocks. I found myself frequently using the bottom slider to see the blocks.
Even though it is not designed to be a formidable productivity laptop, the CrowPi L can be used for everyday chores such as accessing the internet, producing documents, viewing YouTube videos, or participating in video conference sessions. There are also pre-installed games that you can play whenever you want.
CrowPi L Keyboard
The CrowPi L includes a built-in keyboard that may be customized with black or white keys. Our prototype has white keys. The keyboard layout, with the tiny trackpad situated over the keys, proved to be more than an inconvenience and, on sometimes, an annoyance. This is where the provided wireless USB mouse proved to be not only handy but also vital for efficient laptop operation.
Display on the CrowPi L
The CrowPi L sports an 11.6-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768. Although certain Chromebooks, such as the Samsung Chromebook 4, have the same display resolution as the CrowPi2, it feels like a step down from the CrowPi2’s 1080p display. When we were following along with coding tutorials, the screen quality was adequate, but more space for apps and code would have been beneficial.
Playing YouTube videos, like any Raspberry Pi-powered device, can be a little problematic. When streaming videos in 720p, we experienced slowness. We also attempted to watch a Livestream of The Pi Cast at 1080p and encountered periodic stuttering on the screen, as well as audio and video sync issues, particularly when viewing the video in full screen.
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The CrowPi L’s battery
The CrowPi L has an internal battery that should last three hours. In comparison to standard laptops nowadays, that’s not a very long battery life, but it’s plenty to try out a few activities without being plugged in. When we were just going through the various classes and tutorials, we found that the battery lasted about three hours (sometimes longer). Naturally, the battery did not last as long when we were watching YouTube videos or utilizing an external monitor. You should be connected nonetheless when undertaking those things.
CrowPi L Software/Operating Systems
Having access to two operating systems on MicroSD cards, which can be swapped out via the toggle switch, is simple and allows for additional storage if needed.
CrowPi L supports Raspbian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Windows IOT, Kali, Pidora, ArchLinux, FreeBSD, Kodi, OpenWrt, RISC OS, RetroPie, LAKKA, Recalbox, LibreELEC, and OSMC in addition to the bundled custom OS.
|Compatibility||Compatible with Raspberry Pi 4B 4GB or 8GB|
|Display||11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution, IPS screen|
|Networking||Raspberry Pi ethernet port|
|Ports||Right Side: HDMI, 40-pin GPIO port, USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Left Side: Ethernet Port, 3x Raspberry Pi USB ports|
|Camera||2MP camera with built-in microphone|
|Battery||Built-in 5V USB-C|
|Power Adapter||12V DC|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||291 x 190 x 46mm (11.46 x 7.5 x 1.8 inches)|
|Weight||1.1kg (2.4 pounds)|
|Warranty 1 Year|
The first thing you’ll need to do after taking the CrowPi L out of the package is installed your Raspberry Pi. The CrowPi L, as previously stated, is only compatible with Raspberry Pi 4 models, which you may acquire with your kit if you don’t already have one. The kit also contains all of the remaining assembly components: 4x screws, 4x pillars, GPIO adapter board with fan, 32 GB MicroSD card with custom OS installed, and a 2-in-1 system adapter board (where you insert an additional MicroSD card).
Assembling the CrowPi L was a rather simple and painless operation. The compact, folded instruction that comes with it came in handy and was surprisingly simple to use.
We had some minor problems getting the system to boot the first time, but it turned out that the HDMI expansion card was not properly connected to the Pi. As a result, after installation, ensure that all components are flush against the board. You should also make sure that the dual system toggle switch is set to boot the OS you want to use, preferably CrowPi’s custom OS, which includes the lessons.
CrowPi L for Learning
When you boot up the machine with the custom OS, the Pi Panel window appears, acting as the starting point for the CrowPi L programming tutorials, which are separated into two categories: Lets code and Python. The kit is compatible with a variety of programs and IDEs, including Arduino, Geany, and Thonny.
Lets code and Python classes begin with teaching basic functions and operations, followed by activities to practice them. The lessons become increasingly difficult as the course progresses. However, if you have prior experience with Scratch (on which Lets code is based) or Python, you can choose your own speed and begin from anywhere you like. This was not the case with CrowPi2, where you couldn’t move on to the next lesson until you finished the previous one, so it’s a pleasant change.
If you have the Advanced Kit, as we did, you may follow along with any of the 24 existing hardware projects and edit the code to develop your own applications. Attaching the GPIO extension shield board to the CrowPi L’s 40-pin GPIO port slot is required here.
Letscode is a block-based programme that requires no actual coding and is simple enough for even younger children to learn and use. Despite the fact that the programme instructions say that it was designed for teens.
The use of game design to teach coding is a successful method that appeals to both children and teenagers. It caught my daughter’s interest, and she was anxious to begin the software programming training.
Fortunately, CrowPi L has a wide choice of projects and activities that appeal to a wide spectrum of children. Despite being in various age groups, with varied programming ability levels, and with distinct interests, both of my girls discovered something that spoke to them.
There is no better time than the present to spend time with your children and involve them in activities that will spark their creativity and help them acquire valuable skills like coding while having fun. The CrowPi L combines learning with the fun of spending time with them. Despite some small modifications in the documentation, the Lets code and Python courses are ideal for encouraging creativity and learning.
The CrowPi L is an excellent instructional platform for children and adults who wish to learn the fundamentals of programming and electronics. The CrowPi L is available straight from the Elecrow website for $239 for the base model, but to fully take advantage of everything this Raspberry Pi-powered laptop has to offer, you’ll need to spend an extra $60 on the Crowtail Kit and a Raspberry Pi 4 if you don’t already have one.
Aside from Elecrow, no other vendor offers Raspberry Pi-powered Laptop kits with a comprehensive programming suite. If you like the ease of having the modules and sensors built into the kit, the company’s CrowPi2(opens in a new tab) (priced at $315) could be a choice for you.
However, if you like the appearance and feel of a genuine laptop, the CrowPi L is filled with features and learning possibilities that are designed to take any child’s STEM study to the next level.