The Raspberry Pi Zero is a crazy little wonderful microPC that costs $5

The Raspberry Pi was a marvel of design and versatility, and it was one of the big reasons the maker movement started in the first place. Sure, Arduino and other projects have helped, but the RPi democratized the trend and made anyone a potential hardware tinkerer.

After developing several versions, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has just launched the Raspberry Pi Zero, a mini computer that is astounding in size and capabilities. With a ridiculous small form factor (65 x 30 x 5 mm) this little beast carries specs that should anyone start playing really quick:

  • A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
    • 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)
  • 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • A micro-SD card slot
  • A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
    • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header

But what is more amazing is the price of this little thing: $5! On some countries that could make shipping costs actually more expensive than the device itself. They’ve even included one Raspberry Pi Zero in each issue of the new MagPi magazine! (Sold out already, of course) Crazy.

I think this enables a new kind of projects in which size and affordability is critical. Yes, this device has some limitations (only one microUSB port for data, no Ethernet, “just” 512 MB of RAM) but even that is not a real problem for users of this little miracle of technology thanks to adapters like powered USB hubs.

It’s amazing what you can do with $5.

Javier Pastor is a technology journalist that has been writing about tech since 1999. He started writing for PC Actual in Spain, the leading printed magazine in the country, and in 2006 started to write online. First as the Chief Editor for The Inquirer ES, and after that for MuyComputer until 2013. That year he became senior editor at Xataka, the leading tech news website in Spanish with over 5M uniques/month (Aug'15, comScore). Xataka is part of Weblogs SL, a blog network that gets over 40M uniques/month and that has a wide catalog of publications in Spanish. The Unshut is his new venture and allows him to express his opinions and thoughts on everything touched by technology, and follows what he has been doing at Incognitosis, his personal blog, since 2005.