- Very cheap
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth integration
- Perfect for small projects
- Nice case available
- Slower than other Raspberry Pi models
- Needs adaptors for the ports
Raspberry Pi Zero W – Design & Specs
The Raspberry Pi Zero W is a tiny device, it measures just 3.4” x 2.3” x 0.8”. Packed on this tiny circuit board is a 1GHz BCM2835 CPU, 512MB of RAM and a wireless chip making the Pi Zero W able to use Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi. It is amazing how much is built on this tiny circuit board and how it is so cheap.
Along with the chips and RAM there are several ports allowing you to connect a screen and other peripherals. Due to the size of the Pi Zero W, the ports are mini one. So there is a mini HDMI port and two Micro USB ports (one for power and one for peripherals). This means that adapters are needed to plug in a keyboard and screen. While this may be annoying to some people, it’s what allows the Raspberry Pi computers to be so small so it really isn’t a problem. It is recommended to connect a powered USB hub to the Micro USB port for peripherals so that you can connect more than one peripheral at the time.
Also on the circuit board you will find a microSD card slot where you will need to put an SD card loaded with an operating system. The Linux distribution, Raspbian, is recommended as it is made specifically for Raspberry Pi computers. The SD card needs to have 8GB or more storage.
Unlike the previous Pi Zero model, a camera can be connected to this one but you will need an adapter to connect one as it is a smaller connector than on the other Pi models. If you want some functions including audio and composite video output, then you will need to solder the connectors in. There are plenty of how to guides online though.
For a computer that costs under $30, the specs really aren’t bad at all and they’re perfect for small projects and playing around, which is what the Raspberry Pi is for.
With this latest model of the Raspberry Pi, you can order it with a case. The Pi fits perfectly in the case and has holes for the ports so that it won’t need to be removed to connect something. The case also makes it feel much more finished and will help to protect the circuit board . It really helps to complete the Pi Zero W and makes it feel like a high quality product.
Raspberry Pi Zero W – Performance
If you have used one of the larger Raspberry Pi computers like the 3 then this little Zero W will feel quite a bit slower. It has much less impressive specs than the 3 . The 3 has a quad-core processor and the Zero W only has a single core CPU.
Even though the Pi 3 is faster and smoother, they’re different computers intended for different uses. The Pi 3 can be used more like a normal computer whereas the Zero W is perfect for building small electronic devices. One example of how you could use a Raspberry Pi Zero W is to make a ‘smart mirror’ and have the Pi power it. You can see how someone made one of those on a blog here. Note that the Pi used isn’t a Zero W but the same could be done using a Zero W. This is what the Pi Zero W is made for, cool little project like that.
Using the Pi Zero W as a computer is difficult because it is really slow. It will take nearly 1 minute to boot up to a usable state. Once it is booted up, the single core processor will struggle with simple tasks and complete them slowly. It isn’t great as a computer in the traditional sense but that is not how the Pi Zero W is meant to be used.
Overall, the performance of the Raspberry Pi Zero W isn’t great when you try and use it as a computer. It is however, perfect for creating an electronics project. Keep this in mind when buying one.
Is It Worth Buying a Raspberry Pi Zero W?
The Raspberry Pi Zero W isn’t for everyone. It is for people that are interested in building things that need a small computer to work and for people that enjoy tinkering with computers and seeing how they work. For things like that, the Raspberry Pi is an amazing bit if kit at a great price. Regardless of what it’s for, a computer that has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for under $30 is just incredible. When you think about it and take the price into account it’s hard to find a fault with the Pi Zero W. Yes, it is slow when you try and use it as a normal computer. It will be for such a cheap gadget!
I think that this is a brilliant bit of tech and it is every tinkerer’s dream come true to get such a great device for this little money. The things you can build with this computer are endless. If you get one, make sure to build something cool with it. I definitely recommend this micro computer.
Check out the Raspberry Pi Zero W & Essentials Kit with on Amazon using the button below. The essentials kit comes with adaptors for the ports so you can plug in normal USB devices and use the HDMI port as you normally would. It also comes with rubber feet to protect the Pi Zero W.