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Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W boosts the smallest Pi’s power within the same tiny footprint

Not so humble Pi

The first Raspberry Pi kickstarted a revolution in computing. It harked back to a forgotten era that emphasised experimentation and making new things over consumption. But unlike the home micros of the 1980s, the Pi had a pocket-money price-point, coming in at just $35 rather than many hundreds.

Various Pis have come and gone over the years, but one of the most notable has been the Pi Zero. This tiny unit doubled down on affordability, to the point it was once a covermount on the MagPi magazine. Yet it is still capable enough to sit at the heart of countless electronics projects. Now the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W ($15) has arrived to steal the most diminutive Pi’s thunder.

Zero to hero

This fresh take on the Pi Zero is, like its predecessor, a less powerful module than the current flagship Pi – but it’s nonetheless a capable device. The new quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, clocked at 1GHz, gives the dinky computer 40% more single-threaded performance than the single-core Pi Zero – and a whopping 5x more multi-threaded grunt.

The board retains loads of connectivity as well. There’s built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 (with support for Bluetooth low energy), an SD card slot, a CSI-2 camera connector, USB OTG and mini HDMI. For HAT fans, there’s an unpopulated footprint for a HAT-compatible 40-pin GPIO header. And the entire thing is powered by a micro-USB socket.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the device’s size. The board remains 65x30mm, making it a drop-in replacement for the original. That’s handy if you’ve stuffed one inside a bespoke case, such as the GPi, which transforms the Pi Zero into a handheld games console. Easy as Pi, then.