Odd Inputs And Peculiar Peripherals: The Simplest Of Pi 400 Cyberdecks

The trend for making cyberdecks has seen the Raspberry Pi emerge as a favourite for these home-made computer workstations, with the all-in-one Raspberry Pi 400 providing a particularly handy shortcut to integrating the computer and keyboard components. There’s still the question of the cyberdeck chassis and screen though, and it’s one that [bobricius] has answered in what may be the simplest manner possible, by means of a riser PCB from the expansion port holding a 320×240 SPI display.

If this is starting to look familiar, then you’d be right to recognise it as a slightly higher-quality version of those cheap LCD screens that have been available for the Pi for quite a few years. Alongside the screen is a pair of speakers, and the whole thing extends upwards from the back of the Pi 400. We’d question how much load can be taken by the expansion connector, but in practice it seems not to be taking too much.

The device in use can be seen in the video below the break. It’s definitely not the largest of displays, and when used as a desktop, it’s rather cramped, but it seems adequate for a terminal. It has the advantage over many cyberdecks that when the novelty has waned, it can be removed, and the Pi 400 used with a conventional display.

The Pi 400 has been with us for nearly a couple of years now, and perhaps hasn’t had the recognition it deserves. If you’ve never tried one, take a look at our review from when it came out.

14 thoughts on “Odd Inputs And Peculiar Peripherals: The Simplest Of Pi 400 Cyberdecks

  1. Cyberdecks are definitely one of those fads I just cannot comprehend, as they are very much a case of form over function. Seems more like somebody needed an excuse to use a bunch of leftover TFTs from previous Pi projects. There are so many drawbacks to using this as your daily.

    You sacrifice your GPIO ports by attaching one of these. Using HDMI keeps those pins free, and if you still crave a tiny screen you could attach a HDMI capture card to a smartphone and use that as your display.

    You are supposed to sit up straight while using a keyboard, but without a magnifying glass this causes you to hunch over to be able to read anything.

    You can’t flip the screen down like you would with a laptop screen, so you can’t use any existing laptop carrying bags without first disconnecting the whole thing, and you can’t safely disconnect it while the Pi is on.

    You can’t use the riser cards with any other device. They’re built to a single display angle that can’t be adjusted.

    You can’t drive a high resolution display.

    I just don’t get it.

    1. There are other ways to use a computer than sitting at a desk, this looks like it would probably be good enough ergonomically for the laying on the chest crowd (which is something I used to do sometimes on my bed till I got too long to fit me and the computer). Though it seems to me the whole point of this isn’t to be a particularly practical display and speaker but to allow you to have all the functionality on your Pi 400 when you don’t have a real display – its so thin and small its more like carrying a bookmark than a book, yet turns your usually monitor/tv constrained keyboard into a fully functional and usable computer basically anywhere…

      Also while many ‘cyber decks’ are either very nostalgic form factors or from the form over function, coolness is all school of thought there are also many done that really are very practical, and some done that wouldn’t be practical for everyone but are very good for the specific task/user! Its not like the laptops and tablets most folks use are ergonomically good at all either, many of them are outright criminally bad to really use ‘as your daily’, forcing massive wrist deviations and serious hunching over, and even the best ones are far from perfect, and have to be larger and heavier so less convenient to carry – So its not like the oddities of this sort that are created are really any different – if ergonomics is your thing you MUST have a real desk of perfect size, with a real monitor on a proper stand so its at exactly the right height for you, with the custom ergo keyboard that best suits your body shape etc – everything even remotely trying for portability has to make compromises..

      Or in short you are about as wrong as you can be on ‘Cyberdecks’ as a whole, and even if you were entirely correct and they were all entirely stupid the learning new or maintaining of skills on something small, often from the spare parts bin (Or as I like to call it ‘the its not e-waste yet bin’) that is stupidly impractical and just for fun has real merits too!

    2. I don’t see these as workstations for all-day use, but they could be great for traveling light. In the past I’ve gone on motorcycle trips and wanted a keyboard and better I/O than a smartphone so I could dump photos off my camera and write a quick journal entry, but manufactured options are limited probably because it’s such a small market.

  2. Before we say anything related to “hacking” when we are talking about raspberry pi products, remember that the moderators of the pi forums hate hackers, pi hardware comes with proprietary blobs, and they have been caught secretly installing Microsoft shit in their Raspberry Pi OS

    1. meh. i’m more negative towards pi than most — especially this cyberdeck fad, which i think is just a way to turn silicon into clicks on its way to the dumpster. but “secretly installing microsoft” isn’t really accurate. they just added the repo so you could apt install to get virtual studio. i don’t like virtual studio. in fact, i generally don’t like reprocessed debian OSes (i have come to hate almost every choice made in armbian, for example). but putting non-free repos (even from microsoft) in /etc/apt/sources.list.d or whatever is totally par for the course. it’s not a nefarious thing.

  3. I would buy the Pi 400 in a heartbeat, if it had a slot for the Compute Module instead of its own internal Raspberry Pi. That way you could choose the spec of your machine, or upgrade when a newer Compute Module comes out.

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