First RISC-V mini laptops emerge: Sipeed Lichee Console 4A available for pre-order

First RISC-V mini laptops emerge: Sipeed Lichee Console 4A available for pre-order
RISC-V expands to mini laptops. (Image Source: AliExpress)
RISC-V expands to mini laptops. (Image Source: AliExpress)

Sipeed’s new Lichee Console 4A mini laptop features a 7-inch IPS touchscreen with 1280 x 800 resolution and is powered by a RISC-V CPU with 4 cores produced by Alibaba. It also supports up to 16 GB LPDDR4x RAM plus up to 2 GB NVMe SSD and 128 GB eMMC storage.

Mini laptops like the GPD Win Max 2 have been a thing for several years now, and the trend even led to the emergence of Windows-based handheld consoles. Naturally, all these devices are equipped with X86 processors from Intel and AMD to ensure maximum compatibility with the OS. Since RISC-V processors are now almost matching the X86 ones performance-wise but come at a more affordable price point, mini laptop makers are now expanding their portfolios to include this alternative architecture, as well. Among the first to offer RISC-V mini laptops and handheld consoles is the Chinese company Sipeed that now has the Lichee Console 4A up for pre-orders.

Featuring a 7-inch display, miniature QWERTY keyboard plus trackpoint, RAM capacity of up to 16 GB, storage space of up to 2 TB and a T-Head TH1520 RISC-V-based processor produced by Alibaba integrated on an LM4A single board,  the Lichee Console 4A mini laptop presents itself as a decent alternative to similar X86 models. The TH1520 CPU packs four cores that boost to 1.85 GHz, while the display integrates a 1280 x 800 IPS LCD touchscreen, and the feature list also includes a 1080p webcam, 3,000 mAh battery and Wi-Fi 6 + BT 5.4 wireless connectivity.

Port selection is solid for a small 1.6 lbs (720 g) device like this, but the USB ports are a bit outdated. It comes with USB-C 3.0, USB-A 3.0, USB 2.0, mini HDMI, GbE, audio and a microSD card reader.

On the software side, Sipeed is supplying a Linux Debian-based OS that supports programming with VSCode and is able to handle office workloads, as well 4K video decoding and some retrogaming action plus Steam support.

Sipeed offers a barebones version without the single board, RAM and storage for $252. An additional $100 gets you a version with  the RISC-V processor, 8 GB LPDDR4x RAM and 32 GB eMMC storage. The most decked out version comes with 16 GB RAM and 128 GB eMMC + 1 TB M.2 SSD for $459. All variants are expected to ship in late December.

Buy the Sipeed RV Dock Allwinner D1 single board computer RISC-V Linux starter kit on Amazon

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