August 9, 2022
Enlarge / MNT’s “Pocket Reform” is the same open hardware in a smaller enclosure.


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 Pocket Reform's purple case does at least look a bit sleeker than the chunky black enclosure of the full-size Reform.
Enlarge / The Pocket Reform’s purple case does at least look a bit sleeker than the chunky black enclosure of the full-size Reform.


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.

MNT has also taken pains to address a few of our complaints about the big Reform since we reviewed it, including adding reinforced metal side panels to cover the ports and a redesigned battery system that won’t let the batteries fully discharge if the laptop is left unplugged.

See also  Before Google kills free G Suite accounts, why not offer a family email plan?

The version of the 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 the Pocket Reform’s imminent early beta program, there’s a newsletter sign-up link at the bottom of the announcement.