Notes on the GTZS Pocket Book 7-X133 WOPOW 7-inch mini laptop

On AliExpress, you can find a model of tiny portable computer. They're sold at various price points from various vendors, but they all look like this and have specs varying only in SSD size:

A typical representation of the computer

I bought one to mess around with over the 2021 holidays, and it mostly fully works under Ubuntu 21.10 (Impish Indri). Here's how to get it running, and what's left.

Background

I learned of them from an off-hand comment in Lazy Dev's video review of the ClockworkPi DevTerm from late November 2021:

So if we're here, then why not just get a cute tiny laptop? There are many Chinese manufacturers offering these ultra portable Windows laptops. This one is from a company called TOPOSH. The lowest spec version seems to go for just over 200 bucks. I don't own it, I never used it, I suspect it's rubbish in some way, but it's probably enough for fantasy consoles, light emulation, and whatever you'll use the DevTerm for, right? And you'll get a more portable clamshell design and a bigger screen.

Liliputing reported on one in June 2021 called the Topton L4.

The GPD Pocket 3 had recently launched its crowdfunding campaign. It has a similar physical size but dramatically higher spec, with an interesting expansion port, but I wasn't prepared to drop $800 on it. Anchored there, whatever this laptop was seemed like a much more reasonable experiment.

Specs and price

They all seem to have 8GB of RAM, and vary only in SSD size. You should be able to find a vendor with one for around a USD 300 price point, before shipping and taxes, with a 128GB SSD.

On arrival

Windows 10 Pro arrived pre-installed, but not activated, with a user account with an unknown password. I had to boot a rescue disk to clear the password, and was able to log in fine afterwards.

Several driver installers were present on the desktop, in download folders, and elsewhere on the disk.

The BIOS reports it's an evaluation copy.

The power adapter is 12V 2A center positive, with a 3.5mm x 1.35mm connector.

The vendor I received it from accidentally shipped me a European power adapter, and refunded me enough to purchase a converter.

From within Windows, everything seemed to work, although the touchscreen was non-responsive to my fingers, and I didn't own an active stylus to test with.

I imaged the Windows installation and installed Ubuntu 21.10 over it.

Also, note that microSD cards get inserted upside down.

A note on the pointing device

The pointing device is kinda funny. Or, rather, the pointer itself is what you'd expect from its appearance, it's the buttons that are funny.

The left and right pointer buttons aren't pointer buttons, they're keyboard keys. You have to turn mousekeys on to use them.

The left button is mapped as Begin, which is the 5 on a full-size keyboard's number pad, when Num Lock is off. The right button is mapped as Menu, which you might have as an actual key on your full-size keyboard (it looks like ).

In Windows 10, mousekeys are under "Ease of Access": Make your mouse, keyboard, and other input devices easier to use

In Ubuntu 21.10, mousekeys are per these "Accessibility" instructions: Click and move the mouse pointer using the keypad

Installing Ubuntu 21.10

Installed using a USB stick off the USB 3.0 port. 10/100 ethernet adapter plugged into the USB 2.0 port. Using Tab and Space initially to navigate.

Then, Ctrl-Alt-F2 (Fn-2) to switch to a new virtual terminal, type ubuntu to log in, type gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.a11y.keyboard mousekeys-enable true to enable the pointer buttons, Ctrl-Alt-F1 (Fn-1) to switch back to the installer.

Once installed, turn on mousekeys in the same way, but use F3 to get to a console, F1 and F2 both appear to be GUI desktops.

After rebooting, you might find that mousekeys doesn't persist, same as this reported bug. I made a custom keyboard shortcut that'll reset it for me, such as described here: How to set a keyboard shortcut for toggling 'mouse keys' on/off in universal access, 18.04? (I went with Ctrl-Windows-Alt-Left mouse button since they're all in a row, and the script just turns it off and back on again).

Settings, Keyboard, Customize Shortcuts, Custom Shortcuts, +

The script looks like this:

#!/bin/bash
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.a11y.keyboard mousekeys-enable false
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.a11y.keyboard mousekeys-enable true

Don't forget to make it executable:

$ chmod 755 reset-mousekeys.sh

To get the wireless card working, you need a Realtek RTL8821CU driver:

$ sudo apt install dkms git linux-headers-$(uname -r)
$ git clone https://github.com/brektrou/rtl8821CU
$ cd rtl8821CU
$ sudo ./dkms-install.sh
$ sudo modprobe 8821cu

Everything appears to work except for the speakers/headphone jack, and the touchscreen.

Audio

Bluetooth headphones/speakers work, as does audio over the HDMI output. The speakers/headphone jack do not.

The sound card appears to be an ES8336, for which support appears to be coming in Linux kernel 5.16, but when I compiled and installed the changed code in a custom kernel, it didn't recognize the card. Installing the mainline 5.16-rc4 (where support first landed) through 5.16-rc7 kernels provided by Ubuntu didn't boot at all.

Touchscreen

The screen doesn't respond to either fingers or an active stylus.

dmesg reports: Goodix-TS i2c-GDIX1002:00: ID 9111, version: 2030 and Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen, but there are a couple of suspicious messages about dummy loads, so I suspect while recognized, support isn't really there. There appear to be Goodix touchscreen-related fixes in 5.16-rc7 and onward, so maybe that will change in the future.

Ubuntu reported specs

Ubuntu's "About" screen shows:

inxi reports:

Machine:
  Type: Desktop System: GTZS product: GTZS v: N/A serial: <filter>
  Mobo: MEDIACOM model: GTZS serial: <filter> UEFI: American Megatrends
  v: X133T.E.E.L3B256.EKK8D.S1W10.AMI.MIPI002 date: 06/19/2021

Battery:
  ID-1: BAT0 charge: 20.9 Wh (94.1%) condition: 22.2/22.2 Wh (100.0%)
  volts: 7.6 min: N/A model: N/A type: Unknown serial: <filter>
  status: Charging

CPU:
  Info: Quad Core model: Intel Celeron J3455 bits: 64 type: MCP
  arch: Goldmont family: 6 model-id: 5C (92) stepping: A (10) microcode: 20
  cache: L2: 1024 KiB
  flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 11980
  Speed: 2196 MHz min/max: 800/2300 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 2196 2: 2196
  3: 2277 4: 2196
  Vulnerabilities: Type: itlb_multihit status: Not affected
  Type: l1tf status: Not affected
  Type: mds status: Not affected
  Type: meltdown status: Not affected
  Type: spec_store_bypass
  mitigation: Speculative Store Bypass disabled via prctl and seccomp
  Type: spectre_v1
  mitigation: usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer sanitization
  Type: spectre_v2 mitigation: Full generic retpoline, IBPB: conditional,
  IBRS_FW, STIBP: disabled, RSB filling
  Type: srbds status: Not affected
  Type: tsx_async_abort status: Not affected

Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel HD Graphics 500 driver: i915 v: kernel bus-ID: 00:02.0
  chip-ID: 8086:5a85 class-ID: 0300
  Device-2: USB2.0 Webcamera USB2.0 Webcamera type: USB driver: uvcvideo
  bus-ID: 1-8:4 chip-ID: 32e6:9005 class-ID: 0e02
  Display: wayland server: X.Org 1.21.1.2 compositor: gnome-shell driver:
  loaded: i915 note: n/a (using device driver) display-ID: :0 screens: 1
  Screen-1: 0 s-res: 1024x600 s-dpi: 96 s-size: 271x159mm (10.7x6.3")
  s-diag: 314mm (12.4")
  Monitor-1: XWAYLAND0 res: 1024x600 hz: 62 dpi: 169
  size: 154x86mm (6.1x3.4") diag: 176mm (6.9")
  OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel HD Graphics 500 (APL 2) v: 4.6 Mesa 21.2.2
  direct render: Yes

Bluetooth:
  Device-1: Realtek 802.11ac NIC type: USB driver: btusb v: 0.8
  bus-ID: 1-7:3 chip-ID: 0bda:c820 class-ID: e001 serial: <filter>
  Report: hciconfig ID: hci0 rfk-id: 0 state: up address: <filter> bt-v: 2.1
  lmp-v: 4.2 sub-v: 7644 hci-v: 4.2 rev: 829a
  Info: acl-mtu: 1021:8 sco-mtu: 255:12 link-policy: rswitch hold sniff park
  link-mode: slave accept
  service-classes: rendering, capturing, audio, telephony

Open questions

Will the final 5.16 kernel support the sound card and touchscreen properly?

Why didn't the touchscreen respond to my fingers under Windows? Does it need specific application support? Did something need to be installed or enabled?

Does the active stylus I bought work under Windows? If not, is it the stylus, or the screen?


I'm Vitorio, it's January 3, 2022, thanks for your time.