A few months ago, we reviewed the MNT Reform, which attempts to bring the dream of entirely open source hardware to an audience that doesn’t want to design and build a laptop totally from scratch. Now, MNT is bringing its open-hardware ethos to a second PC, a 7-inch “Pocket Reform” laptop that recalls the design of old clamshell Pocket PCs, just like the big Reform references the design of chunky ’90s ThinkPads.
The Pocket Reform borrows many of the big Reform laptop’s design impulses, including a low-profile mechanical keyboard and trackball-based pointing device and a chunky, retro-throwback design. The device includes 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 connecting to a display when you’re at your desk.
The full-size Reform is an interesting exercise in open source hardware and software, though 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 miserably slow ARM processor, which won’t change for the Pocket Reform even though MNT continues to work on slightly more powerful processor options. You’ll at least be able to augment the device’s default 802.11ac Wi-Fi with a cellular modem and SIM card.