Pi Zero – first impressions

For a headless robotics platform for Phoebe and Chloe, it’s nigh on perfect.  I have no idea how the A+ PCB has been shrunk by a factor of two, while providing the same function with more memory. It’s also really thin due to shrunk / removed connectors. And more flexible by not preinstalling the GPIO connector and leaving that up to the user to best fit their application. There’s really nothing more to say*; for the next generation quadcopter, it’s amazing.

However, for a fully fledged desktop computer, I’d still go for the RPi2.  Although the Pi Zero is only £4 compared to the Pi2 at £30, once you’ve thrown in the necessary USB and HDMI adapters (£4), a 4-way powered USB hub for keyboard, mouse and WiFi (£12 for a decent branded one) and perhaps a USB ethernet adapter (£8), you’re looking at £28 total.  For the extra £2, the RPi2 gives you all that along with double the memory (1GB) and 4 CPUs too!

*Being picky, there is more to say – because the Pi Zero fails miserably to fulfil the super cheap desktop role, I’d rather pay more for a Pi Zero as a better headless robotics platform, and get a 1GB, 4-core version. Also, even for the headless usage, you still need the powered USB hub to give you keyboard, mouse and internet access for all the initial configuration and app installation. But at least that’s a one-off – a single hub can be used to install however many Pi Zeros you want. And as always, in my rats nest of spares I have a couple of 10-port USB hubs kicking around.

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