LattePanda Single Board Computer Review
Founded in 2008 with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, China. DFRobot designs open-source hardware especially in robot platforms, sensors, and Arduino compatible shields. DFRobot brings together more than 100 staff, 30% of whom are engineers. Over the last 5 years, DFRobot has delivered more than 1 million opensource modules to students, teachers, and researchers. The Company’s ever-growing product catalog boasts over 900 components and widgets from sensors, robotic platforms, communication modules to 3D printers.
The company mission is driving the future of open source platforms, advancing research capabilities including development. Keep innovating and collaborating with various tech giants such as Intel, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments to maximize company potential for global growth by providing electronics tools and training for schools, Hackathon’s and software developer communities worldwide.
LattePanda is a complete single-board computer (SBC) solution. It includes everything a regular PC has and can do anything that a regular PC does. It’s compatible with almost all known peripherals such as printers, joysticks, cameras and more. Any peripherals that work on your PC will work on LattePanda.
It can be used as a low-cost regular Windows computer! 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, an interactive designer, robotics whizz, or a maker, LattePanda can aid your creative process with physical computing projects!
LattePanda Review (TOC)
- Company Introduction
- Product Summary
- Product Overview Video
- Hardware Platform
- Final Notes
LattePanda Specifications (Standard Edition)
- Processor: Intel Cherry Trail Z8300 Quad Core 1.8GHz
- Operation System: Pre-installed pre-activated full edition of Windows 10.
- Ram: 2GB DDR3L
- Storage Capability: 32GB
- USB Hosts: 1x USB 3.0 , 2x USB 2.0
- WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
- Co-processor: ATmega32u4
- GPIOs: 2 GPIOs for Intel chip , 20 GPIOs for Arduino
- Power: 5v/2A
- Dimension: 3.46″ x 2.76″
- Weight: 100g
The LattePanda development board came well packed in sealed anti-static nylon. Item content includes a flexible (wire) type external WiFi antenna, LattePanda Board and a safety precautions quick guide explaining how to handle the board and pointing out the power supply requirements.
- 1x LattePanda 2G/32GB.
- 1x Wire Type WiFi Antenna.
- 1x Safety Precautions Guide.
LattePanda Board platform is based on the Intel Cherry Trail Z8300 Quad Core (Atom x5) SoC that operates at Base Frequency of 1.4 GHz and 1.8 GHz maximum Burst Frequency. The GPU Unit is Intel HD Graphics, which comes with 1GB RAM operating at a clock frequency of 500Mhz. In terms of hardware, performance don’t expect GPU to handle heavy 3D games but it’s more than enough for a low-cost mini-computer solution and can be used as a home workstation for running Microsoft Office suite, Surfing the web, checking email, watching movies trough KODI Media Player, Building a NAS server, Installing Plex Media Server for sharing multimedia content across a local networks and so forth.
CPU-Z (System Information)
The LattePanda Board is available in three main configurations (Editions):
- Enhanced Version: 2 GB / 32 GB eMMC .Comes pre-installed with a pre-activated full edition of Windows 10 plus and development tools: Visual Studio, NodeJS, Java,
- Standard version: 2 GB / 32 GB eMMC
- Advanced Version: 4 GB / 64GB eMMC
Depending on usage type, if you are a software developer or Just planning on using it as a Home Media Player. From my personal impression, Windows 10 system booted fast in a matter of few seconds performed and smooth.
Jumping fast into the Design arena, Company designed this board with Passive Cooling on both sides of the PCB (As Shown in photos below), eliminating the need of adding a heat-sink unit. Which also saves extra space when designing a slim type of housing. Making the unit totally compact and quiet, without a need to install any noisy fans, unless they are really needed.
LattePanda Boards come with pre-installed Windows 10 Home edition. Basically, there two options. First one is buying the LattePanda edition, which cost $109 and includes a fully functional window 10 OS with Microsoft product key, or alternatively buys the cheaper $79 edition without the activation key which may have the following limitations:
- Prompt notice (Activation).
- You don’t get all system updates.
- The watermark in the lower right-hand corner saying Activate Windows
- You cannot use anything under Personalization e.g. change wallpaper, accent colors, lock screen, themes, etc. All options are there, they are just grayed out and inaccessible.
Windows 10 System (Screenshots)
Temperatures were measured in moderate, none heavy CPU without a case using a mini infrared thermometer was very reasonable and measured between ~33C -36C. I expect the temperatures to jump higher at higher CPU Loads, especially inside a closed housing. In this situation, adding extra venting holes and maybe a fan could be the best solution.
When I first powered the board I had random shutdowns during device booting. After checking with a few power adapters, replacing the USB cable with a shorter one solved the problem. As cable length plays an important factor in getting required current (I = V/R) this issue was resolved successfully by using a shorter cable. For power requirements Company recommends using a 5V – 2A (max) power supply, which can also be purchased from the Dfrobot website.
According to my tests, using a voltage / current USB type meter The current measured between ~0.74- 1.13A. Also Important to mention that these values can change and depend on power usage. If the processor usage is higher or other devices connected to the board consume more power then values will change accordingly.
LattePanda Board | Measuring Current
LattePanda Board | Full View
The LattePanda board comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Operating. Dfrobot company currently offers software support for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Other Operation systems are not supported, What could be limiting if you are a Linux distributions fan. That said, all system images containing Windows files are available to download from the Dfrobot website.
The burning (updating process) itself is very easy, you just need to download the correct image file in RAR format according to board version. Extract the file content into a USB Flash drive and power or reset the board. Right after, during the boot process, the software is automatically flash the board eMMC Storage within a matter of minutes.
One of the advantages of the Intel SoC is its great KODI support. The Cherry Trail Z8300 Quad-Core Processor did a great job in playing most of my 2K and 4K video. From a total of 2GB of RAM, Jarvis (KODI) 16.1 utilized 60% of RAM with approximately ~14% CPU usage (IDLE Mode).
LattePanda is an excellent all in one single-board computer that can be used as a Windows workstation at home or office. It is also a great solution for DIY and hobbies that are into robotics, IoT projects, software, and hardware development as well as a home media player fans that can use it to play high bit-rate videos in 2K and 4K quality trough KODI media player.
Mini PCs sold online based on the same hardware specifications are sold online at a starting price of ~USD80 Retail price. With the extra features, this product has to offer, specially tailored for developers it offers more value for money. Bottom line, very recommended buy.
Pros / Cons
- Runs Windows 10.
- Excellent performance.
- Passive Cooling.
- Excellent Kodi Support.
- No Linux OS support.