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hgTerm Converts a Raspberry Pi into a Versatile Mini Laptop

For almost the entire time that Raspberry Pi was selling tiny single board computers, people turned them into tiny personal computers. But the hgTerm handheld computer is one of the most impressive self-made mini-PCs ever assembled by enthusiasts.

It’s a pocket-sized computer with a 4-inch touchscreen display, a 270-degree hinge that lets you flip it around backward, a thumb keyboard, and a 3D printed case. The whole thing runs on battery power for hours at a time, and the brains of the operation is a Raspberry Pi 3.

hgTerm

hgTerm

Igor Brkić, the developer of the project, has posted a series of videos showing the hgTerm being used for activities ranging from Arduino programming to running PlayStation games.

In order to make the hgTerm as small as possible, the developer actually stripped away from a few Raspberry Pi components including the Ethernet port, HDMI port, and most of the USB ports, since they aren’t needed when using the mini laptop. There’s also a tiny copper heatsink placed atop the processor to help with thermal management.

The 4 inch, 800 x 480-pixel capacitive touchscreen display connects to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins. And the device’s tiny backlit keyboard connects via Bluetooth.

Power comes from a Xiaomi 5,000 mAh power bank which was ripped apart, scavenged for pieces, and reassembled inside the case. It accounts for much of the little computer’s weight.

You can find more details about the construction, software, and performance at the hgTerm project website.