It’s no secret that there’s a massive Raspberry Pi shortage right now for consumers due to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s strategy of allocating boards to business and IoT projects first and then official resellers get whatever is left. Since I own one of every Raspberry Pi that has ever been made I ended up buying one of these scalped from eBay for about $57 (all the way from Europe) which is much better than the street price of $80-$90+ I can get it in the United States.
In other words I payed the scalpers to get my hands on this board so you don’t have to and let me tell you folks, it is honestly garbage and literally the dumbest purchase I’ve ever made. Today I will show and explain why the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 is the lamest and most disappointing product release that the Raspberry Pi Foundation has ever done. Let’s get started!
The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is the successor to the Raspberry Pi Zero. It has a quad-core CPU which is substantially faster than the Pi Zero but is otherwise almost identical.
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This won’t take long at all. The CPU was upgraded from a single-core BCM2835 (the CPU of the Raspberry Pi 1) in the Pi Zero W to a quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor.
This is a nice CPU upgrade at least if you can get this board from an authorized reseller at non-scalped prices (you won’t any time soon). Credit where credit is due. The CPU definitely needed an upgrade / refresh.
Missing Expected New Features
Let’s talk about the obvious things that they did not fix in this board from the Pi Zero / Pi Zero W.
One limitation of the Pi Zero W is that it cannot do 5 GHz wireless. It can only do 2.4 GHz wireless. Given how many people use the Pi Zero W in projects that need wireless capabilities this is the #1 fix I was expecting. Did they fix it?
The answer to that question is no they did not. The Pi Zero 2 W *still* cannot do 5 GHz wireless. Ugh.
Okay, well surely they got rid of microUSB given that is 2022 and microUSB is complete garbage. Finally we can have a USB-C Pi Zero 2!
Nope. It’s still microUSB 100%. There’s no USB-C. Ugh.
How about eMMC storage then? An eMMC option is dead obvious to add to this board and makes sense for such a small board like this. They added them in the Compute Module 4 lineup and I’m fully expecting the Raspberry Pi 5 to have available eMMC options as well.
Wrong. There are no eMMC options available for the Pi Zero 2. Ugh.
But…. surely they at least upgraded the RAM past 512 MB. It had 512 MB of RAM 5 years ago in the Pi Zero, there’s no way they didn’t upgrade it!
Wrong again, of course they didn’t! The Pi Zero 2 has 512 MB of RAM AGAIN and there will be no larger options available (according to Raspberry Pi). Don’t believe me? Here it is from their own release information about the board:
Wow. They are saying that producing a board with 1 GB of RAM would be “very challenging”. Is this a joke?
How did the Raspberry Pi Foundation even get this far? You know what is more challenging than that? Creating a credit card sized computer or even smaller in the case of the Raspberry Pi Zero when nobody has ever done it before.
The fact that these things are “very challenging” did not used to stop them. Why is it now? Keep reading and we’ll see if we can figure it out by the end of the article.
There is a visible decline in quality control on the board. It’s very obvious that corners are being cut. I own every Raspberry Pi going back to the very beginning and to be honest you can kind of see the process of this happening over the years. The Pi Zero 2 W though takes this to a whole new level and is a sharp, sharp decline in quality though over some of the other corner cutting.
For an obvious example (that you will be able to find on your board as well from what I’ve seen should you get one of these) take a look at the edges of the board:
I wanted to show the Zero W (top) vs. the Zero 2 W (bottom).
Notice that the Pi Zero W has a much less pronounced and cleaner edge. That is because they actually cared when they made that board and got rid of most of the perforation in the board with a grinder or some tool meant to take off the rough edges.
On the Pi Zero 2 they did not bother to do this. It’s so bad there are hairs fraying off on the board (you can see these hairs hanging down in the above picture not far from the Zero 2 W label). Orange Pi wouldn’t be caught dead shipping even a $6 board that looked like this. I’ve never seen anyone ship a board that looks like this. Ever.
Here’s another look:
Look at all of those “hairs” fraying off the board and how rough and uneven that edge is. Unbelievable. This is the definition of not even trying.
Remember that I paid $57 for this board and you will pay even more if you want one today off eBay.
Pros / Cons
- Quad-core CPU is a nice upgrade from the original (but the only one)
- Extremely expensive to actually get your hands on
- Identical to previous Pi Zero other than the CPU
- Drop in build quality from previous generation
I hate it. I hate that it’s so obvious that the quality continues to decline on these boards and that they no longer take any pride in making them or put forth any effort to make sure it’s clear it’s a higher quality product than their competitors. It really isn’t anymore.
I hate that a company that started out with the goal of providing low cost computers to people now only sells them to industry insiders meaning the street prices are $80-$90. It’s even worse that they have stuck to this even seeing what it has done to the consumer market for Pis.
I hate that they passed over the most obvious upgrades for the board such as 1 GB of RAM, 5 GHz WiFi and USB-C. It annoys me even more that they said it was because it would “very challenging”. Again, there is no Raspberry Pi Foundation if they can’t take on “very challenging” problems anymore. It’s just another company milking us dry with a name brand.
I honestly see the terrible new NVIDIA 4000 series GPUs as a really similar problem to what is happening to Raspberry Pi. They’ve had people willing to buy their stuff at any price for so long no matter how many they produce that they don’t really have to try. And they aren’t.
If you are going to try to defend this board to me (and Raspberry Pi’s current practices) I’d really challenge you to ask yourself if you are looking at this board objectively or if you are a fanboy. I didn’t write this because I hate Raspberry Pi and I’ve done tons of Pi work over the years. It’s just objectively a lazy and bad product with some rookie quality control issues going on. I wrote this because I want them to do better and it makes me sick to see releases like this.
The main problem with this board is that unless you pre-ordered it you are not going to get it for $15 unless you are using the tools that let you know which authorized resellers have them in stock (and by using I mean constantly throughout the day because when they come in stock they’re gone in minutes often times).
If you got this board for $15 you will probably be pretty happy. spinspin on reddit pointed out to me (after giving me a proper reddit trolling, which I forgive him for after our discussion) in a fair criticism of my review that “separating disappointment from the process of judging what the product actually is makes more sense.”.
Well, it’s hard to deny I didn’t separate my disappointment from what the product actually is. He’s right. I’d like to add this section to explain what the product actually is, dispassionately. It’s essentially a Pi Zero W with a quad-core processor. It doesn’t really have any additional capabilities. I don’t recommend getting it unless you are running very heavy loads and absolutely require the quad-core to make your project/use case work.
The reason I don’t recommend it is that the Pi Zero 2 is roughly twice as expensive as the Pi Zero and is not an upgrade that justifies the cost outside of the specific quad-core CPU benefiting a heavy-load project. If you are able to get it for $15 through an authorized reseller (now or in the future) then this is a nicely refreshed Pi Zero W (but with no additional capabilities) albeit with some build quality corner cutting (perhaps justified for whatever reasons). I covered all the things that they did not add in the Pi Zero 2 but I suspect we will see these in the Pi Zero 3 (or at least some of them).
The quality control issues are concerning but shouldn’t impact the functionality of the board. Let’s just hope they don’t continue in that direction as part of the reason I love Raspberry Pi’s was their build quality (especially historically, all my old ones still work 100%).
It’s pretty clear to me that Raspberry Pi has become like Apple and NVIDIA. Most people seem to be willing to defend this. I’m not. I think this board is my breakup with Raspberry Pi. I’ll likely not be doing a lot of Raspberry Pi content going forward as it’s just no longer a community I recognize or respect. They apparently *love* what Raspberry Pi is doing no matter what it is. I’m the first one off the train when things get cultish and are no longer about the hardware or technology.
This site is about technology and hardware though. I’ll be doing my best to bring attention to alternative products and ecosystems here as well as supporting projects to provide an affordable and quality alternative to the Raspberry Pi. See the “Other Resources” section for work already done on this.
Unfortunately Raspberry Pi is not where interesting developments are happening anymore in the SBC world for now. If the Raspberry Pi 5 looks a lot better then I’ll definitely cover that but I’m definitely a “wait and see” at this point for Raspberry Pi. I’ve made my voice heard on this board and the direction of Raspberry Pi. I don’t intend to keep talking about it though (that was just to try to help them correct course).
Now it’s time to move past them just like any other bad breakup. You just have to leave them and their people that are too far gone behind. I have to do it all the time in technology when people won’t adapt and change. The internet and reddit was just as angry about my warning about the GPU market and mining. Most people totally lost their minds and ignored the warning and now anyone who didn’t listen got left behind (or worse). Those people are now bankrupt or (it’s dark, but true especially in the case of crypto) are no longer with us. It did not help them to downvote me and lose their minds for telling them the reality of the situation and it won’t here either.
I’m totally used to this unfortunately. It’s really hard to give people bad news / tell them what they don’t want to hear and the internet/algorithms generally punish you for this (if not outright suppress/censor you especially in the case of reddit). I’ll always try though for the people who are truly open to new information and don’t just need their existing ideas/biases stroked. So far over the years there are enough of you out there to make the site work without me trying to appeal to crowds/cults like this and to just try to give you my honest review/perspective. That’s all I really know how to do and it has generally worked out for me so far.
I’d recommend the Orange Pi Zero 2 any day over the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 (at least the Orange Pi has USB-C)
If you want a dirt cheap board (about $6-$7 + shipping and yes you can actually buy it for MSRP) I recently revamped the image for the Orange Pi i96. It’s not as powerful as the Pi Zero or Pi Zero 2 but it is actually cheaper and more important available for the cheap price to actually buy.
If you do attempt to buy one of these see my Raspberry Pi shortage guide for some tips on how to potentially get this cheaper or from an authorized reseller
stumbled across your blog a month ago and decided to leave a reaction 🙂
I’m a beginner in electronics, bright eyed and still naively enthousiastic about all the building possibilities. Also, I’m studying for a degree in IT, took a break now to stand by my mom because she has cancer (JFYI). In my spare time that I have now, I can dedicate it to electronics, which has always been where my heart lies.
Everywhere I look, the raspberry pi boards still get recommended for their distros and community.
I had to pay for a Raspi Zero 2W kit, lost about 80€=80$! And indeed, serious fraying of the edges.
Thinking about selling this and one Raspi 4b 8gb of the 2 I have laying around. (got those before the shortage)
This shortage and lack of progress is a good thing, it pushes people to other boards so their communities can grow. Those companies should fully exploit this and encourage fan base. Like corona in my country, it was a huuuuuge online shop boom.
In the past months I’ve been searching the web for alternative boards to experiment.
I’m interested in learning a lot of things but 3d scanning for my 3d printer, home automation, robots 😀 are tumbling around in my head. And replacing my current Raspi media box for my dumb tv. Suggestions? I’ve been eyeing the ODROID-H3+.
I recently ordered the Orange Pi Zero2, Radxa Zero and the ‘fresh from the oven’ Orange Pi 5 Plus.
ESP32 is also on my list, certainly for it’s Matter capabilities.
I just wanted to say that it is a delight to read your findings, musings, opinions and suggestions. They seem honest among all those other voices.
Keep on keeping on,
from a belgian fan.
Thanks for the kind words! I did end up selling a few of my extra Pis during this shortage and don’t regret it. The ODROID H3+ would be a pretty great choice. It’s a really powerful SBC!
I think you’ll really enjoy the Orange Pi 5 Plus as well. I’ve been hugely impressed by the Orange Pi boards.
You’re welcome any time, take care!
Been waiting for the RPi Zero 2 for a while now since I think I still might’ve wanted a CSI port and especially since the price went up on the Radxa Zeros, but holy FUCK, IT. IS. A. FUCKING. LIIIIIIIIIE.
Fifteen bux plus shipping from one of these authorized websites (you can only buy one!) to support essentially a dead fucking platform and a shit-ass company? God it really does suck ’cause I was totally bought in on the little boards and their ecosystem. They were perfect for cheap klipper instances and the CPU upgrade might’ve let them actually configure input shaping without bombing themselves – and for only five more dollars! But nah, fuck me I guess, I just have a shitload of Zeros and their accessories that I was lucky enough to buy before THEIR price hike that I’ll never be able to upgrade, awesome.
Sorry for the vent. The MangoPi MQ-Quads look VERY cool as an alternative. They’ve still got a camera port and can be found shipped pretty cheaply. Maybe I could scalp my current Zeros and get them as a replacement? Although a part of me still wants to hold on to them since even getting my Zeros in the first place was a pain.
this is truly the Raspberry Zero (stock) 2: Electric Boogaloo of all time
You’re one of the few people that has commented here that truly gets it. I 100% understand what you’re feeling here. You’re absolutely right that it’s a dead platform. We know they can’t produce this board for this anymore since they just had to recently raise the price if the original Zero to $15 so obviously they can’t make the Pi Zero 2W for $15. It’s all lies. The fact they didn’t raise the price along with the original Zero price increase (which we still aren’t really seeing those hit the streets with Raspberry Pi’s promised supply dump) tells us that they aren’t even trying to produce the Pi Zero 2W anymore otherwise they would have raised the price at the same time.
This was the board that really woke me up / snapped me out of it. I had a lot of the realizations you had about Raspberry Pi here. It was easy to not see any of this stuff when things were good and the Pis were available and plentiful for cheap. It was easy to turn a blind eye to things like all of the camera modules / firmware / other parts being closed-source to lock out competition. What were you going to switch to that was going to be cheaper and more compatible back then? Even with their suspicious practices they still made the most sense as an ecosystem.
Then the supply crunch happened. They’ve never recovered even though literally every other company out there has recovered (years ago for most of them). Raspberry Pi has never been the same. The Pi Zero 2W was a disappointing board but if it was well-supported and was ever realistically available for MSRP for anyone other than a pre-order it probably could have done okay. All of Raspberry Pis sins that we had been ignoring also started to haunt us when we realized all of our hats/accessories/etc. were basically worthless and we’d have to start over in a lot of cases. We got burned.
It’s the fact that these have never really been able to be provided in any type of real quantity that makes the whole thing a lie and a dead platform. It’s honestly unbelievable how much Raspberry Pi has squandered their unquestionable #1 leader position in the SBC market. If they think people will keep tolerating it they are sorely mistaken. More and more people have the realizations you and I have now already had every day.
I think you are on the right track and thinking about this the right way. The Mango Pi MQ Quad could very well fit the bill depending on what you are doing. They are as cheap as they look too. I have the MQ Quad and the MQ Pro (RISC-V) and they’re both good boards hardware-wise. It just depends on if they meet your requirements. If you can use a Debian/Ubuntu-based distribution I’m sure they’ll be just fine.
The Radxa stuff does seem to be getting more expensive across the board unfortunately. That’s not too surprising that the Radxa Zero has gone up in price I suppose given how terribly Raspberry Pi is doing (and how much they cost scalped). The Radxa boards are still cheaper than the scalpers even though they’re a lot more than Raspberry Pi’s pretend/mythical MSRP prices. There are other alternatives that are viable though like the Mango Pi MQ Quad you mentioned would be a decent alternative (especially if you are comfortable with a regular Debian-style distro which most people probably will be especially coming from Raspberry Pi).
Best of luck and take care!
Oh gods, I totally forgot about the hats. I guess I’m gonna have to hold on to some of these Zeros after all; I have no idea if these other boards are electrically compatible, if not software compatible.
Not only did they kill the accessories, but potentially even the components made with this form factor in mind as well.
Absolutely. Unfortunately using Raspberry Pi is just like using Apple products. You’re signing up for an ecosystem that is incompatible with everything *by design*. They go out of their way to make it impossible to work with other boards / competitors.
The funny thing is that most Raspberry Pi and Linux fans probably look down on Apple. They’re exactly the same though. It’s just an ecosystem meant to lock you in. It’s just become incredibly obvious with their supply chain issues and really difficult for their fans to explain away.
The other funny thing is that all of the alternative board manufacturers work a lot harder to make their boards open to other accessories. Like I said though before it’s basically like starting over. All of that existing Pi gear you have? Basically worthless on any other board but once you switch and start buying accessories that are more compatible (and compatible with multiple manufacturers) you can escape and leave it behind.
However, just like switching away from Apple make no mistake, it is starting over from scratch if you want to escape slavery. It’s why it’s so evil (and so effective). My advice to everyone is to start using alternative boards going forward and building up your set of accessories/gear that are more compatible. Unless you have unlimited funds though if you have a lot invested in Raspberry Pi it’s not going to be easy to escape them. The best you can do is recognize what they are (a hardware lock-in manufacturer just like Apple), start looking at the scam for what it is and start slowly moving away on projects / builds where you can.
If you do that then eventually you’ll find that not only are you becoming less and less dependent on them but at a certain point you’ll probably never use one again. That’s the point I’m at now but it took years (and a lot of $$$). Best of luck and take care!
Does the better Zero 2 CPU mean that it will work a bit better as a cool but weak mini PC? I think the first Zero was just a little bit too weak for moving windows around and things like that. I wonder if this little bit more power will make all the difference, thanks.
Absolutely! It’s definitely a big improvement to have the quad-core. It feels more like a Pi 4 as far as power goes.
Moving windows and things like that around won’t have anything to do with the CPU though unfortunately. That is the GPU and the GPU is exactly the same:
Raspberry Pi Zero W - Broadcom VideoCore IV
Raspberry Pi Zero 2W - Broadcom VideoCore IV
This is where things get complicated. The GPU is exactly the same even though the CPU has 4 cores. I would not expect things like dragging windows around or 3D video acceleration to be substantially better than the Pi Zero W. It doesn’t have a more powerful GPU and window manager / browser acceleration / all of those actually depend on your GPU more than your CPU.
Hopefully that helps!
$15 was always going to be a loss leader, but it definitely drummed up interest and got it into enough hands to show what’s possible. These are capable of replacing the Pi3 B, which is no longer being made, and in some cases is pretty crucial for the success of a project.
Here’s the thing: you’re knocking on this thing for not being innovative or forward-thinking enough, but what do you honestly want? Do you want this teensy little board to run 4GB RAM and 5Ghz wifi with 3Ghz CPU? Because none of that is realistic unless you’ve got a 5.0A power supply at least, not to mention a badass SD card with very good throughput reliability, as well as solid heat dissipation- oops, and now the whole thing is $200 out the door.
More powerful = more power needed = more heat generated. If you really need faster wifi and more RAM, then you are probably working on a more power-hungry project and need a Pi 4.
This new Zero W 2 fixes some of the things that caused issues for projects developed around the original Zero, namely processing performance. The CPU is faster with more cores, so now proper multi-threading is possible. The RAM is the same quantity yes, but it’s faster RAM, meaning, again, those numbers get crunched more effectively without causing a pinch point. The USB port is not a USB 2.0 OTG port, offering better throughput with more connectivity options. On top of it all, this one is more efficient. Running stock out of the box, it’s actually COOLER than its older brother running the same processes. All that for only $5 more than its predecessor??? SOLD. I don’t care if it’s $10 more now; EVERYTHING is more expensive right now, what rock have you been hiding under???
This little fella is what you get when you balance your costs against performance. Did you not notice how throughout a large chunk of Samsung’s flagship tablet line, for the longest time, they all maxed out at 2GB onboard RAM and 32GB SDCard max, while others were capable of far better? That embedded RAM is EXPENSIVE compared to other components, and modern wifi chips, while not quite as bad in terms of cost, are power-hungry as heck.
Look, your review seems to smack of outrage for getting so little after spending so much, but then again, you’re the one that waited until they were out of stock to buy one at scalper prices for your review. I got two of the suckers at the $15 price point (though I had to go through two different vendors because they were limiting them to one-per-customer initially). It wasn’t hard to buy one when I first saw they were released and read some existing reviews. They’re absolutely worth $15. They’re still well worth $25 too!
I mean, you paid $57 for something the manufacturer holds its vendors to selling for no more than $15 initially, and now $25 to help cover increased build costs. If I were completely oblivious to the whole global chip shortage and the prior pandemic, yeah I’d be pissed too, since I got a Pi 4B 4GB for $55 easily, before all hell broke loose. Yeah things are different now, but they’ll settle back down in a little while, and when they do, I have a retro computer emulation project that runs its very best specifically on the Pi 3. They don’t make those anymore. Know what replaced it? This thing. And even at the new pricing scheme, I’m getting it for $10 CHEAPER than the 3B sold for, with more modern hardware? SOLD.
My point is you’re looking at the very entry point of the product line and getting upset that the updated version didn’t go far enough for your liking, and cost too much for what it is. You’re completely ignoring the intangible benefits in the process. I dare you to design, build and release better at a cheaper price point, with software that keeps pace with the current supported Linux base.
Go ahead, I work from home, have almost nothing but free time to design and develop my electronics projects, and always set aside funds for them with each pay cycle. I would happily throw many hundreds of dollars your way if I could get my hands on better specs than the Pi Zero W 2 for $15 or cheaper.
Welcome, and thanks for your post! It’s actually really refreshing after some of the recent ones.
I at least believe you because you specified that you had to order these from separate authorized resellers. That was actually true for the Raspberry Pi Zero W until very recently and it will be true for the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W for a very long time. Some of the people arguing against me in bad faith don’t understand that there’s buyer restrictions so I can immediately tell they’re lying just from that. I believe you.
You can’t really be as serious of a creator as your post is coming across here though. I mean you got two of these. You aren’t moving products or none of this would be viable for you. Nobody is shipping products with a Pi Zero 2W in it.
I think you’re really out of touch here. Creators moved on from this board a long time ago CMack. We had to. We had no choice. We can’t ship our designs for 2 people like you where 2 Raspberry Pi Zero 2Ws is going to be enough.
I’d recommend you stick with the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W. I’m sure that will be a great and scalable choice for your designs. I’m sure that won’t hurt your projects (or the people trying to use them) at all. I’m sure they’ll agree with you that this is a $15 or $25 board.
Like I said you can’t be very big. There just aren’t enough Pis for you to be able to operate this way. You’re a hobbyist frankly. It’s literally impossible for you to be what you’re presenting yourself as. There aren’t enough Pis for that. Did you see the numbers I showed of how many of these were shipped in 2021 and 2022? You’re not even targeting a million people with this board. Not even close. You would be so much better off making your designs for the older Pi Zero W that there are 5+ million of out there already (and more expected soon but only for the old model).
Why are you pretending this is a $15 board that people can buy? Everyone knows it’s not. You can’t get these CMack. Where have you been?! You have TWO after all this time. Good luck with your business! I really hope you have some backup plans because you have clearly not accepted the supply chain reality of this board.
Haven’t you noticed how lonely it is around you lately? That’s because we’ve all moved on. We were your peers. We can’t use these boards though. They’re too expensive and too unavailable. It’s garbage. I need to cover boards that people can actually buy and use. You can keep staying in your bubble comfortable with your support level and it’s clear that’s the choice you’ve decided to make. There *are* plenty of cheap alternatives available today though. I cover them all the time.
How many times do I need to mention the Radxa Zero? It’s in exactly that $20-$25 price range you’re saying. It’s actually $19.90 for the cheapest variant. Have you ever even tried one? Which kernels have you tried? Did you try the Armbian kernel or the official kernel? There’s lots of choices. I doubt you’ve ever even touched one. The alternative you’re looking for is available *today*. I bought mine from allnetchina as linked. The 1GB model is only $26 and is basically equivalent to a Pi Zero 2W.
It meets your requirements you just laid out for me to design and produce. Are you going to buy one now? Of course not. You will say how much better the kernel is for the Raspberry Pi without ever having even touched a Radxa Zero or having any idea what the kernel state is for those devices. For you to still be this ignorant in 2023 you’ve made a conscious choice that you’re sticking with Raspberry Pi no matter what. There’s no convincing you honestly if you don’t see this yourself at this point. All I can do is try telling you everything you’re looking for is already available.
Eventually you’ll wake up here and realize no, this isn’t really a $15 board. It’s an unavailable board and it’s really bad business to design your own products/business around products nobody can buy. That’s why we’re all abandoning them. You can be the last off the ship if you’d like. That’s your right. All I can do is explain to you why everyone else is abandoning this company. If you really don’t get why not being able to buy these for years at a time without having to go through scalpers is killing the scene then I’m content to let you learn it for yourself.
My goodness, it’s not even viable to make a product with the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W. Did you consider people who are trying to make more than 2 products with the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W? How is that going to work CMack? The Radxa Zero can do it. You can use the Radxa Zero for what you’re doing *OR* to ship commercial products! This board is literally not commercially viable to use in a project so what in the hell are you even designing for it? Who is going to use it? Do you understand normal people can’t get this board that find your projects and might be interested?
What a luxury to live in your bubble here. Unfortunately anyone who wants to make more than 1 of something can’t do this CMack. There is no commercial/business case to be made for using this board in a product. It’s only useful for hobbyists to play around with their one or two of them they got if they ordered from multiple resellers like you. This isn’t going to change any time soon. It probably won’t change before the end of the product lifetime of the 2W would by my guess.
I don’t know the details of your business but I’ll tell you the details of my business and most businesses related to the Raspberry Pi: If I didn’t literally turn and run from this company when I did I would be bankrupt. Period. I’m still seriously harmed by it but I’ll be alright. Most of the people who didn’t turn and run from this company are bankrupt. Period. Any creators still covering this company? Stalled or gone if they didn’t change their content strategy. Any businesses holding out hope to ship a 2W as the core of their product? Both insane and doomed.
This article and Raspberry Pi aren’t paying the bills at this point CMack. I don’t know how you guys even find this article other than it’s probably still popping up in Google News or something. All of my traffic is on stuff not related to the Raspberry Pi anymore and boy am I glad after seeing how right I was about where things were going when I wrote this. I’d already be finished otherwise. The only reason you are seeing this is because I’ve been top ranked for Raspberry Pi keywords for 5+ years. Google News probably thinks I like them (or it doesn’t care because it knows controversy drives engagement). I did for a very long time until they started performing horribly as a company for multiple years straight.
You might not know where all the makers/creators are going but I do and it is *not* this board. None of the creators/makers are happy about this. I’m not. You shouldn’t be either. I wasn’t hoping for this to happen. I already was top ranking on Raspberry Pi related content. I still am but that traffic drops every week because every week that nobody can buy a Raspberry Pi more people try alternatives and realize they aren’t as far off from the Pi as they’ve been told basically forever. Once that happens I don’t have to have conversations like this with them which is why I know you’ve never touched a Radxa Zero or good alternative board.
I think you have the missed the point of the rpi, it is supposed to have a low price point.
There is no real need for 5ghz wifi, all APs support both frequencies.
The only fair point in this article is the amount of ram. But then again the reason for it is quite fair too.
Hey Tore André rosander,
Is it? Do you know that they can’t even make the Raspberry Pi Zero W without selling it for $15 anymore? You don’t have to take my word for it. Read Raspberry Pi’s own announcement:
if we kept to the old price we’d be making a loss on every single Zero we sell. We have therefore reluctantly decided to increase the price of Zero from $5 to $10, and Zero W from $10 to $15.
And guess what? This board is also *not coming* for the upcoming availability dump. Only the old Raspberry Pi Zero W will be available for $15.
What does that make this board? Unavailable. It’s not coming in the upcoming availability dump. This is never going to be a board you will get for $15 unless you pre-ordered one long ago.
Do you know how many of them they made? I have a source for that too:
Upton said that the company hopes to ship about 200,000 Pi Zero 2 W boards in the remainder of 2021 and an additional 250,000 in the first half of 2022.
Wow, they didn’t even make half a million of these before they used up all the available parts supply. It will now cost them a lot more than $15 to make it again. Which they aren’t. Read their own announcement. They didn’t raise the price of the Pi Zero 2W because it is not going to be available in the upcoming Raspberry Pi availability dump.
I was right about this board. It’s going to age like milk. You can confirm it yourself by reading their ANNOUNCED plans. Not that many of these were ever made and it costs them more than they sold this for to even produce the *OLD* model without taking a loss (their own words)!
Keep thinking it’s a cheap $15 board just because Raspberry Pi says it is. I would say they are playing you for a fool but if you would read their announcement you would realize that if they had to raise the price of the 5+ year old Zero W model to even produce it in 2023 then of course this board with a quad-core CPU can’t be produced for $15 either. You would also realize that since they didn’t raise the price of the Zero 2W that it isn’t going to be a model that is going to be offered in the near future or they would have raised the price at that time. It’s just going to be the old ones.
Ask them if they’ll sell you one. You will never get your hands on one of these if you don’t have one already unless you buy it from a scalper. Period.
Realistically if this board is ever made and sold again (I doubt it, it would make more sense to design a new model with better parts availability) it would HAVE to cost more than $15 because the Pi Zero W from 5+ years ago now costs $15. That is assuming that they’re able to produce even their 4-5+ year old models in a quantity that anybody will even notice. That remains to be seen. It’s not happening yet.
They didn’t even make half a million of them before they realized they’ll lose money if they keep making it. Compare that to the Raspberry Pi Zero W which has sold over 5 million. Their prices are already higher than you realize. That’s been officially announced. They’re really not that far out of line with the competitor boards I’ve outlined here.
Since I’ve just shown you the Pi Zero W was raised to $15 if this board is ever sold again what do you think the price would need to be? $20? Probably closer to $25? That’s how much a Radxa Zero costs. That’s not cheap anymore. You can also buy a Radxa Zero today. So what is the point again Tore? They can’t compete on price. They can’t compete on availability. They can’t compete on performance either.
What are your thoughts on the banana pi m2 zero?
I just recently discovered the lovely pi shortage and scalping, as I had a plenty not being used until recently. Unfortunately, the lesser popularity of alternatives makes it hard to gauge expectations.
I ordered a banana pi m2 zero, radxa zero, and orange pi zero to test as pi zero replacements. You vouched for the latter two, just curious if you’ve used the banana pi version as well. China shipping, so it’ll be a hot minute until I can test them myself.
Great question! I actually have reviewed the Banana Pi M2 Zero here. The biggest issue I had with that one is that most of the images were really old. You can see all of the available images here.
I think you’ll find the Radxa Zero images to be a bit fresher as well as the hardware. The Banana Pi M2 though benchmarked extremely well! The hardware is great.
The images were where I had the most issue for sure. For example there is actually Raspbian available for the Banana Pi M2 Zero. Unfortunately it’s this version:
2020-04-10 update Raspbian Stretch, kernel 4.4
Raspbian Stretch is pretty old at this point. It is nice that they still have some version of it available though.
It’s going to come down to what you are trying to do. If you are able to get by using this board with something like a Debian/Armbian/Ubuntu environment you will be totally fine with these boards. You’ll actually be pretty happy I think because all 3 of those choices benchmarked really well. They’re all quad-core boards for sure.
Most of what I do with these boards it doesn’t really matter for me. For example something I might use one of these boards for is to run Docker for my Minecraft server container. All of these boards have pretty standard Linux distributions available that will all have things like Docker. That’s just a sudo apt-get install docker.io away and I’m pretty much good to go.
I’d say most things are like that but there are some exceptions like trying to use the official Raspberry Pi accessories such as the official camera. Some hats may have compatibility issues as well. If you are trying to use hats / overlays I’d strongly recommend checking out my Libre Computers article on boards that can actually run Raspberry Pi OS (and you can even switch the SD card between a Pi and one of the Libre boards). They don’t come in as small of a form factor as the Zero unfortunately but they do as the Pi 4 and might be worth checking out (especially if you want to use Pi overlays/hats).
I think you’ll find Orange Pi will probably have the most wide image options available followed by Radxa second and then the Banana Pi M2 Zero last. This can be convenient if you’re trying to do things like make a game emulation setup for example as there will be images specifically available for boards like the Orange Pi Zero / Zero 2 a lot of the time.
Like I said though depending on what you are doing that may make no practical difference whatsoever. I think you’ll find all 3 choices to be capable and quality hardware. The image support will vary a bit between them as I’ve mentioned but if you only need standard packages from apt to do what you’re trying to do that could have virtually no impact (as it usually does for a lot of my use cases). Hopefully that helps!
Being you are so dis-satisfied with the Pi Zero 2W, I will gladly take it off your hands for $15.00 US.
Nobody is getting this board for $15 unless they pre-ordered it long ago. Just keep waiting, I’m sure they’ll come back in stock any time! Everything will go just back to how it was. Everything will be great!
Don’t waste your time. Get a Radxa Zero. It has really cool advanced technologies that didn’t make it into the Pi Zero 2W such as USB-C. It’s a nice technology that has been on other boards for 4+ years.
I paid 55 euros for this piece of garbage (a lower price than you’ll find them for now) and the Radxa Zero absolutely obliterates it. My Radxa Zero cost a fraction of that.
Radxa has obsoleted the Pi 4 with the Rock 5B (as well as Orange Pi with the Orange Pi 5). They’ve obsoleted the Pi Zero and Pi Zero 2W with the Radxa Zero. They’re going to obsolete the CM4 with the Radxa CM5 soon as well.
It’s not going to be fun to be a fan of that company this year. It’s going to be nothing but pain for you. It has been nothing but pain for you for a while though hasn’t it Ron? Don’t you ever get tired of it? Do you ever get tired of defending a board manufacturer’s honor that doesn’t even know your name? Do you ever get tired of carrying the water for a company that can’t provide any of their products for years at a time? When was Raspberry Pi’s last “win”? I don’t even remember. It has been years. They’ve been floundering/flailing for years.
How did this happen to you? It’s so sad you would come here and write this. You aren’t getting paid. You aren’t even getting love and acknowledgement from them. You certainly aren’t getting access to good boards. Do you really not know that this isn’t really a $15 board? Do you really not know that nobody would sell this to you? Don’t you understand that is my point and what is so bad about it? Goodness it’s not that hard.
You can’t get this for $15 Ron. I’m sorry to tell you. I don’t know how you missed it but that was my entire point in this review (that the availability was so poor). The quality of the board just added insult to injury but I’ve acknowledged many times if it was really a $15 board it would be fine. It’s not Ron. Wake up. This isn’t even one of their planned boards for the increased availability. Do you not know that either? This board isn’t going to be available any time soon.
Again, want to buy a better board than the Pi Zero 2 today? It’s the Radxa Zero. Want to be like Ron? Go ahead. Keep waiting until hell freezes over to get a computer a dozen other companies make now for less money and with more power. You’re literally just going to end up with nothing. I bet you’re using that 5 year old Pi Zero still aren’t you?
It must be infuriating seeing me have this board when you so desperately want one. $100 for you Ron. That’s the standard street price. Why haven’t you paid the price like me to get one if you’re such a fan? You think I got mine for $15? I didn’t and you won’t either because it’s laughable to call this a $15 board. Nobody believes that.
If you pay the price you really have to to get this board you’ll regret it. I guarantee it. You’re just sitting there crying about how you don’t have one like it’s some kind of point against my article. No Ron, THAT IS THE POINT! You CAN’T get one for $15. You STILL don’t have one and this is not a new release! Nobody can that didn’t pre-order the 50 of these that were made (at least it seems). This is why it’s a terrible release. You’re so close to getting it other than managing to take away completely the opposite conclusion and missing the point entirely.
I’ll really sell it to you for $100 if you want Ron. I was planning to sell it on eBay like I did most of my other extra Pis because you guys are absolute morons and will buy it for that. I’ll still profit by about $40 or so and I got to write this article trashing it. Why would I want this board around when I have the Radxa Zero? It’s already obsolete. It’s only valuable because it has the Raspberry Pi name on it and that has very little value to me at this point. I know I will never use this board or any of my Raspberry Pis ever again at this point so I might as well sell them all. I have better more modern hardware than that now that I’ve been covering on the site.
You’re just frankly priced out of the Raspberry Pi market at this point Ron. You can’t afford to be a Raspberry Pi fan anymore. If you could you would have had this already just like me and like any true fan would. I’ll have no trouble selling this to a real fan with a fear of missing out on this board (the really true fans pre-ordered and some of them have commented here saying they were happy with the $15 price and they should be if they’re one of the lucky few that got it for that). You can’t afford it though.
I know you were trying to make a really sad point but just to state the obvious and address it: nobody will sell this to you for $15. It doesn’t matter if they like it or not. They will sell it for market price if they have one. This is just a board with piss poor availability and it has been since day 1. Welcome to reality Ron. You are going to have nothing 6 months from now too being the way you are. I can actually guarantee that if you’re waiting for the Pi Zero 2W (it’s not coming, they told us it would *not* be in the Raspberry Pi dump):
For the first time since its launch in 2015, the Raspberry Pi Zero will be available for multiple purchases. There was no indication of improved availability of the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, a board that has been out for over a year and faced constant shortages.
You see? It’s not even coming. You are defending the most sad board launch in the world. You missed it. Switch to another board. Or keep waiting until time stands still. Again, this board is not even *planned* for the giant Raspberry Pi availability dump. Only the ancient Pi Zero model will be in the dump. It’s gone.
This has been a fun article. I’ve been getting push back just like this since I published it and *nothing* has changed other than there’s actually more and better alternatives available now. I’d imagine some of the people that argued with me originally feel stupid now and the rest of them will feel stupid in about 6 months when the same thing will still be true. Nothing will have changed with Raspberry Pi or the availability with this board but there will be even more and better alternatives. That’s the reality you have to look forward to as a Raspberry Pi fan.
Well said, James!! It’s been a year, I gave them more than a year, came back to check, still no stock everywhere. This is unacceptable, the foundation is as good as being non-existent. I have to design a series of personalized gifts as products for sale, I just can’t count on these kinds of unpredictability. I’m not certain if Radxa is gonna be stable in larger quantities, but at least I am now unblocked to proceed with product design when I can actually get my hands on one! 😁
Welcome back! Yes, I was expecting them to start getting their old models out but not even that has happened. Orange Pi has been able to provide in pretty large quantities for the Orange Pi 5 which has been a great board as well. I haven’t really ever seen that unavailable. It may be a bit easier to get those than the Radxa boards but both are a good choice. The Rock 5B uses the RK3588 while the Orange Pi 5 uses the RK3588S. Both are 8-core CPUs and come with a minimum of 4GB of RAM available.
Either way I think you are making the right choice by moving forward. Absolutely nothing has changed as far as Raspberry Pi goes since the last time we talked (which is pretty amazing).
Take care and let me know how it goes when you get yours!