Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W - Episode 272 - Show Notes

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W - Episode 272

Sunday Oct 31, 2021 (00:17:39)


Over the past few weeks, there has been a bit of a roller coaster over at Raspberry Pi. Most recently, last week the organization announced that Raspberry Pi 4 boards would be going up in price by $10. But, this week, they are back with some good news - a brand new entry in the Zero family: the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

This is an upgrade over the existing Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W. All three have the same board layout with the same ports and structure. This is important to the Raspberry Pi family, as it allows for one model to be switched out for another as new hardware is introduced, or inventory is made available. These days, the inventory levels would be the biggest concern. All of the boards support an SD card for storage and booting, mini HDMI for external display, and USB for power.

The original Zero, which sells for $5, comes with no wireless connectivity. The Zero W adds Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the mix and brings the price to $10. The new Zero 2 W maintains the wireless options, though only Wi-Fi N 2.4 GHz, but improves the on-board processing. This board takes the processor from a single-core processor to a quad-core ARM Cortex 853. Clearly, this is going to add a lot of new capabilities to the small form factor board that was simply not available before. This upgrade will only bring the price to $15. Unfortunately, the upgrade in processor does not come with an upgrade in RAM, leaving you at 512 MB.

For example, while the older boards were simply not powerful enough to do any on-board AI processing, the new Zero 2 W can. In fact, it can process more than a single frame per second in object and facial recognition. The older boards were capable of some minor game emulation, but the new board is capable of getting up into the realm of a PlayStation 1. This makes it great for small game systems, even portable and handheld systems.

But, why a Zero rather than the more powerful Raspberry Pi 4? The Zero family uses a lot less power, both in idle and in stressed circumstances. This means that your portable game system can run longer. It is also smaller, so it can be used in tight spaces, such as in a robot. It's also significantly cheaper, with the new model coming in at $15, versus the current $35 for the 1GB model of Raspberry Pi 4.

The Zero 2 W joins a growing list of boards from the Raspberry Pi family. Currently, they have sold over 40 million of these boards around the world in the last 9+ years, since they first board debuted. As they grow in popularity, it is expected that the number will grow quicker. Avram has long said that everyone interested in electronics should own a Raspberry Pi, and this new model is in a great sweet spot for capabilities and price.


Scott Ertz


Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.

Avram Piltch


Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

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