Once again, the Raspberry Pi foundation surprised the world. They just announced the Raspberry Pi Zero. But don’t let the name fool you. It’s essentially a stripped-down Raspberry Pi, with a price to match: each costs just $5. And no, it not typo.
So is it good? What can it do? What compromises were made to get it at such a low price. And more importantly, how can you get one? Read on to find out all these things and more.
What is inside?
While there are some fairly significant differences from the mainstream Raspberry Pi line, it feels deeply familiar.
Basically, it’s a Raspberry Pi. But there are some really important differences that make it stand out. I’m not only talking about its low price, although in itself it innovative .
Admittedly a bit obvious, it’s worth emphasizing how incomprehensibly the tiny Raspberry Pi Zero is. It measures 30mm (3cm) by 65mm (6.5cm), roughly the size of a box of matches. It’s hard to believe that a fully Linux-compatible machine can take up such a small physical footprint.
Of course, it goes without saying that a number of compromises have been made to make the Raspberry Pi Zero so small and so affordable.
What is missing?
Perhaps the most notable absence is the lack of wired network and analog audio output. If you want to connect to the Internet, you’ll need to connect a USB Wi-Fi dongle via the built-in MicroUSB connection. Similarly, if you’re hoping to listen to music on your Raspberry Pi Zero, you’ll need to stream it through the mini-HDMI port. This means that your monitor must have built-in speakers.
The official Raspberry Pi store sells a kit consisting of a mini-HDMI and MicroUSB adapter. This will set you back £4 or around $7. While you can easily get each of these products on Amazon separately for roughly the same price, give or take a few dollars.
But these are minor inconveniences. Especially when you put them next to a decision to use a Broadcom BCM2835 processor.