A look at the new Raspberry Pi 3 A+

posted in: Hardware | 2

A new member of the Raspberry Pi family was unveiled this week. The Raspberry Pi 3 model A+ features the same 1.4GHz ARMv8 Cortex-A53 processor as the existing Pi 3 model B+ – but instead is more focused on the embedded market, with a smaller form factor and 512MB of RAM instead of 1GB.

Bluetooth 4.2 is supported as well as 2.4GHz and 5Ghz b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi. Power is still taken in through a micro USB connector as well as graphics coming from the usual HDMI slot and storage via a micro SD. The GPIO header as well camera and touchscreen ports are still present.

There is only one USB 2.0 port with this board, which instantly makes it less attractive for the desktop user as you’d need a USB hub to use a mouse and keyboard in conjunction with it. The Ethernet port is gone too, although Internet connectivity should be achievable through a USB-to-Ethernet adapter providing you’re using an up-to-date version of RISC OS 5.

ROOL have confirmed that RISC OS 5.26 and above is already compatible with the board should you want to tinker about with it for a lower price of £23 instead of the £32 price point that the Pi 3 B+ goes for.

Probably not an ideal board for most RISC OS users unless you have a specific requirement for a cheap, small RISC OS system – but nevertheless, this board does offer a good amount of bang for your buck.

Specs:

  • Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 1.4GHz processor
  • 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz IEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.2/BLE
  • Extended 40-pin GPIO header
  • 1 × full size HDMI port
  • MIPI DSI display port
  • MIPI CSI camera port
  • 4 pole stereo output and composite video port
  • Micro SD format for loading operating system and data storage
  • 5 V/2.5 A DC via micro USB connector

2 Responses

  1. Levi

    I didn’t realise this board had wifi. No use to RISC OS users, of course, while code to use that network device hasn’t been published, but given Eben and others were talking about this being for embedded applications I assumed it was the kind of thing you’d build into a larger device and leave there. The fact this has wifi actually makes it less interesting for that kind of use to me, because it makes it yet another IoT problem device that rarely if ever receives updates yet still runs a network stack, which at least is an issue if you’re running a linux distro on it; luckily RISC OS users still don’t have to worry about that so much.

    • Sion

      Sadly it does appear that boards like this will feed into the awful ‘minimum viable product’ habit some device manufacturers have got into where they’ll barely get a product over the finish line, not think at all about security, ship the device out to consumers/retailers then just forget about it.

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