A few months ago, we reviewed MNT Reform, which attempts to bring the dream of fully open source hardware to an audience that doesn’t want to design and build laptops entirely from scratch. Now, MNT is bringing its open-hardware ethos to the Second PC, a 7-inch “Pocket Reform” laptop that recalls the design of the old clamshell pocket PC, just like the big Reformed chunky ’90s ThinkPads. Refer to the design.
The Pocket Reform borrows the design impulses of many of the larger Reform laptops, including a low-profile mechanical keyboard and trackball-based pointing device, and a chunky, retro-throwback design. The device features a 7-inch 1080p screen, a pair of USB-C ports (one of which is used for charging), a microSD slot for storage expansion, and a micro HDMI port for when you’re at your home. So join to connect to the display. table.
Full-size improvements to open source hardware and software is an interesting exercise, although a computer built around openness makes a lot of compromises that you don’t have to make with a “closed” system. Our main complaint about the Big Reform was its extremely slow ARM processor, which wouldn’t change for the Pocket Reform, even if the MNT continued to operate on slightly more powerful processor options. You’ll be able to enhance the device’s default 802.11ac Wi-Fi, at least with a cellular modem and SIM card.
The MNT has also taken pains to address some of our complaints about major improvements as we reviewed it, which include reinforced metal side panels to cover the ports and a redesigned battery system that powers laptops. Will not allow the battery to fully discharge when left on. Unplugged.
The version of Pocket Reform in the announcement isn’t ready to launch yet, and MNT says it represents “near-final specs and design.” For users interested in Pocket Reform’s impending early beta program, there’s a newsletter sign-up link at the bottom of the announcement.