The New US$15 Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W: Five Times Faster

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A top view of a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W single-board computer. The board is green with a distinctive yellow GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) header area, and it features a central processor with the Raspberry Pi logo, a rectangular black chip to its right, a mini HDMI port, a micro USB power port, and two micro USB ports for peripherals. The components are mounted on the surface of the circuit board, which has printed labels for various connections.

The name Raspberry Pi is well-known in the tech world for single-board computers that offer a remarkable price to performance ratio. The latest in their compact line-up, the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, is no exception. With processing speeds up to five times faster than its predecessor, the Pi Zero W, and a shielded Wi-Fi enclosure, this small device has plenty to offer. It's an excellent choice for applications like room-assistant, delivering impressive performance despite its tiny size.

Image of a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, a small single-board computer. It features a green printed circuit board with various components, including a microSD card slot, a Broadcom BCM2710A1 chip with a Raspberry Pi logo, a silver metal shield covering the RAM, two micro-USB ports labeled USB and PWR IN, and a mini HDMI port. There are also several pins for GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) along the top edge of the board.


How the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Compares

Despite its modest dimensions of just 65 mm × 30 mm, the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is a powerful device. In terms of processing power and cost, it fits between an ESP32 and the latest Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. However, its ability to run Linux-based operating systems places it closer to the latter, proving that size is not an indicator of capability.

Raspberry Pi Hardware with a System-in-Package

Raspberry Pi's journey into custom-built microcontrollers began with the Raspberry Pi Pico, featuring the RP2040 microcontroller. The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W continues this trend by using the RP3A0, Raspberry Pi's first home-grown system-in-package (SiP) designed in the UK. It consists of a Broadcom BCM2710A1 — the silicon die inside the Broadcom BCM2837 chip used in the Raspberry Pi 3 — along with 512 MB of DRAM.

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W's SiP features four ARM Cortex-A53 cores, a significant upgrade from the single ARM11 core of its predecessor. Although these cores are a decade old, they represent a substantial enhancement, showing Raspberry Pi's commitment to continuous improvement. The same cores are found in Roku streaming media players, the ODROID-C2, and various Amazon Echo Show models.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 02

Improved but Not the Best Bluetooth

This new model also upgrades its Bluetooth capabilities, moving from Bluetooth 4.1 to Bluetooth 4.2 with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Despite this, Bluetooth 4.2 is somewhat outdated, leaving room for future upgrades, potentially to Bluetooth 5.X, which would increase the range of room-assistant nodes.

The remaining specifications are typical for a computer at this price point (US$15), including 512 MB of RAM, two Micro-USB ports (one for data, one for power), a Mini-HDMI port, a MIPI camera interface (CSI), and a microSDHC slot. The Wi-Fi connection may see improvements due to the new enclosure enhancing RF compliance, though it remains limited to Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n).

Conclusion: The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is a Worthy Successor

In conclusion, the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is a valuable enhancement to the Raspberry Pi range. It's an ideal solution for those needing to run room-assistant or similar applications round the clock. It can currently be purchased from CanaKit, SparkFun, and MicroCenter.

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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