Malinka’s competitor from China. What is he capable of?

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Raspberry Pi killers are created almost every month. As a result, the “raspberry” still remains one of the most popular single-board cards in the world, and practically any model. But in some cases, third-party manufacturers produce truly successful competitors. One of them is Orange Pi Zero 2W, which appeared quite recently. We’ll talk about it and its capabilities today.



Let’s remember the characteristics of Raspberry Pi Zero 2W

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Here are the key points:

• Processor: Broadcom BCM2710A1 (BCM2837) (4× 1GHz Cortex-A53)
• Graphics: Broadcom VideoCore IV
• RAM: 512MB LPDDR2
• Memory: MicroSD
• Network interfaces: 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
• Ports: Mini-HDMI, Micro-USB 2.0 OTG, CSI (camera connection), 40-pin GPIO
• Power supply: micro-USB, the device consumes 0.1 A with a maximum load of 0.35 A.
• Dimensions: 65×30 mm, weight – 9 g.

What As for the platform, it is the Raspberry Pi RP3A0, which combines Broadcom SoC and RAM. This was done as a solution to the problem of increasing the size of the SoC. It would not have been possible to place the RAM separately, so we had to look for a way to combine the two subsystems.

The GPU supports OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0, making tools available to accelerate decoding of H.264 and MPEG-4 video formats with 1080p30 quality. There is also the ability to encode for H.264. This means the ability to connect to various video surveillance systems, including, of course, smart homes, etc.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W can be considered an intermediate link between microcontrollers from the Raspberry Pi Foundation and single-board Raspberry Pi 3 and previous versions. Performance is limited, for example, by a small amount of RAM without the possibility of an upgrade.

Well, now – about the new product


Orange Pi Zero 2W is made in the “raspberry” form factor, which, in fact, has long become a standard. The dimensions of both boards are absolutely identical. But the characteristics of the “competitor” from the Chinese are better than those of Raspberry. And the price is good – the device costs about $13.

As for Raspberry, when the board appeared, the recommended price was said to be $15, but since then prices have risen quite significantly. At the same time, it is not easy to buy a Raspberry Pi Zero 2W – unless at second hand, which means at a discount.

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And here are the characteristics of Orange Pi Zero 2W:

– SoC – Allwinner H618 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor clocked at up to 1.5 GHz with 1 MB L2 cache and Arm Mali-G31 MP2 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.0/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1
– System memory – 1 GB, 1.5 GB, 2 GB or 4 GB LPDDR4.
– Memory – 16 MB SPI flash memory, microSD card slot
— Video output:

— Audio

— Network and other features

— Extensions

40-pin Raspberry Pi GPIO header with I2C, SPI, UART, PWM, GPIO (see pinout diagram below for details)

24-pin 10/100M Ethernet function header, audio out, 2x USB 2.0 ports, TV out, IR receiver in, signals for power button and 2x user buttons

– Debugging – 3-pin UART for debugging

— Power supply – 5V/2A via USB Type-C port; AXP313a PMU

— Dimensions – 65 x 30 x 1.2 mm.

– Weight – 12.5 grams.

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The developers presented four device models at once – with 1 GB, 1.5 GB, 2 GB or 4 GB of RAM. Accordingly, the cost of these models differs. If you need internal memory, there is a slot for microSD.

I’m glad that there is also a wireless connection, with support for Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0 (with BLE capabilities).

The device also supports video output with resolutions up to 4K up to 60 fps.

As for the operating systems that this board supports, the choice is quite extensive. This is Orange Pi OS based on Linux, popular general purpose Linux distributions Debian 11, Debian 12, Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 20.04, as well as Google Android TV 12 OS.

By the way, the “native” Orange Pi OS has a bonus – software support for Windows, as well as the absence of compatibility problems with various PC components. Almost any modules are supported. At the same time, the OS can be used by both beginners, regular PC users, and advanced Linux users.

What’s the result?


The Chinese have released a completely worthy competitor for the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W. The new board is superior to the system released in 2021 in a number of characteristics. In addition, the new product supports new communication standards, plus it is capable of decoding video in hardware, outputting it in 1080p quality at 30 fps.

Well, the price mentioned above also speaks for itself. Plus, with the availability of Orange Pi Zero 2W it should be better than in the case of the Raspberry. In any case, that’s what the developers promise.

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