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Asus’ Tinker tailored to shoulder-charge Pi

More power and 4K video… but your Raspberry Pi friends will disown you

I’m guess this is another build-your-own PC board? Yippee!

What, you’re tired of tinkering and tweaking with mini-computers? Where would you rather be, outside playing with a bat and ball? Cripes, anyone would think you’ve got too much tech in your life.

Well, I am wearing a smartwatch while pairing my iPad with my smartphone…

Put them down and do something useful, then – like bodging together your own at-home PC with this dinky circuit panel from Asus. Yes, you’ve seen it’s sort before – in the form of the Raspberry Pi – but this one packs more of a punch, courtesy of a quad core 1.8GHz CPU and 2GB RAM. In fact, it’s pretty much twice as powerful as the Pi 3 Model B.

So I can make myself a better media centre?

Admittedly, yes, the media centre does seem to be a favourite among micro-computer makers, but that’s because small circuit boards are just so good at handling films and fun.

In any case, there’s all sorts of other things that these nifty boards can do – from IFTTT controls to stereo systems. And, if it is a media centre you want to make, the 4K-ready HDMI port – coupled with speedy Wi-Fi – should make it one pretty streamer.

But how will I know how to make it?

Well, while it’s the Pi that’s famed for its host of tutorials and an active online community, the Tinker Board plays nice with Debian Linux – with support for the likes of Ubuntu and Kodi on the way – so programming and projects should be relatively straightforward, if you’re happy to do some online searching.

Hmm, sounds relatively straightforward. What else can it do?

Oh, the Board is not enough? Well, it’s a perfect place to start – especially with Bluetooth 4.0 on board, together with a microSD slot, a 3.5mm audio port and Gigabit LAN capacity. Stick it to, well, anything for a serious helping of smart possibilities. Basically, it’s a Raspberry Pi 3, but a bunch more powerful – and more expensive.

How expensive? Like a gaming PC?

Erm, not quite. Asus’ Tinker Board will be available for £55, which is almost double the Pi 3 Model B, but still a darn sight less than a barebones motherboard bundle – not to mention a whole lot smaller, measuring just 8.5cm by 5.3cm.

Sure, it might lack the feel-good fun of Raspberry’s kit – what with being made by Asus – but it’s easily the most capable mini computer to date.