Raspberry Pi Zero: a computer for £4

This new stripped-down Pi retains only the bare necessities of previous boards, but costs less than a pint

It might be Thanksgiving, the day that Americans tuck into pumpkin pie – but it’s a Welsh-built Raspberry Pi that’s got us salivating. The brand new Raspberry Pi Zero, to be precise.

It’s a tiny, stripped-back version of the already-small Pi computer, and it costs just £4 in the UK (and $5 in the US).

At the heart of the Pi Zero sits the same single core processor that was used in the previous generation of Raspberry Pi computers, but it’s been clocked at 1GHz – 40 percent faster than the original Pi.

Add in the 512MB of RAM and you’ve got overall performance that’s about three times faster than the original model. It still lags some way behind the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B released earlier this year, which has a quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM, but that costs £25. For £4, the Pi Zero provides plenty of grunt.

There’s a microSD card slot for storage (you’ll have to pay extra for the card, natch), a mini HDMI port for connecting to a display (it’s still capable of full 1080p HD output) and two micro USB ports. One is for power input – you can use a mobile phone charger for that – while the other functions as a regular USB output, used for connecting items like a keyboard, mouse or Wi-Fi dongle. That’s it on the interface front, although you’ll be able to solder on a GPIO header and pins for a composite video output if you wish.

All the above is squeezed onto a board just 65 x 30 x 5mm in size and 9g in weight. One side is almost totally flat too, which makes the Pi Zero ideal for embedding inside projects and things you make.

It looks like a pretty incredible deal for £4. In fact, you don’t even have to pay that much for it: buy a copy of Raspberry Pi’s official magazine MagPi and you’ll get a Pi Zero thrown in for free.

Computers that cost less than a pint of beer, and being given away with magazines. What would Alan Turing make of it, we wonder?

You can order a Raspberry Pi Zero here.

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