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Smallest, cheapest Banana Pi yet ships for $23

Oct 24, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 3,232 views
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SinoVoip has launched an open source “Banana Pi M2 Magic” SBC with a quad -A7 Allwinner A33, WiFi and BT, a 40-pin RPi header, and a 51 x 51mm footprint.

SinoVoip has introduced its smallest and lowest cost Banana Pi hacker board to date. The open-spec, 51 x 51mm Banana Pi M2 Magic — also referred to as the BPI-M2 Magic or BPI-M2M — is now selling for $23 on AliExpress, making it competitive with other tiny, low-cost hacker boards with Raspberry Pi style 40-pin headers such as FriendlyElec’s $25, 40 x 40mm NanoPi Neo Plus2 or Shenzhen Xunlong’s $14, 60 x 45mm Orange Pi R1.



BPI-M2 Magic, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Orange Pi R1, the BPI-M2 Magic runs Linux or Android on a quad-core, Cortex-A7 SoC, in this case an Allwinner A33 instead of the similar Allwinner H2. Yet, the SBC started out with a different Allwinner SoC, according to the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the board’s arrival. Back in February, the board was revealed with virtually identical specs except for its similarly quad -A7 Allwinner R16 SoC. That R16 version has yet to go on sale, but according to a Time4EE post, it will soon ship as the BPI-M2 Magic Plus.

The same processor confusion also accompanied the June launch of the Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry, a variation of SinoVoip’s $40 Banana Pi M2 Ultra hacker SBC with a smaller, Raspberry Pi like, 85 x 56mm footprint instead of the Ultra’s 92 x 60mm. The Berry was originally tipped with an Allwinner V40, but appears to now run a similarly quad -A7 Allwinner R40. Like all these SinoVoip models, the design follows in the steps of the Banana Pi M2, which runs on a quad -A7 Allwinner A31.



Detail views for the earlier Allwinner R16 version of the BPI-M2 Magic. The now shipping Allwinner A33 version should be identical except for the processor and the standard eMMC.
(click images to enlarge)

The BPI-M2 Magic can run Android and the usual mix of Linux distributions on the Allwinner A33. As usual, it’s supported with a Banana Pi community site.

This IoT oriented boardlet ships with 512MB DDR3 and a microSD slot. The AliExpress page suggests that like the original R16 based model, it ships standard with 8GB eMMC, with up to 64GB available as an option. However, the wiki and both the CNX and Time4EE posts say that the $23 does not include any standard eMMC. We’re guessing AliExpress is wrong here, but this is a rather important issue for a low-cost board, and SinoVoip needs to clarify matters immediately.

WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 with BLE are onboard, and there are MIPI-DSI and -CSI interfaces for an HD display and camera output, respectively. The AliExpress intro also mentions LVDS, but this is not listed elsewhere.

The BPI-M2 Magic is further equipped with USB 2.0 host and micro-USB OTG ports. There’s also a 5V DC jack so the OTG port is free for other tasks. Other features include a 3.5mm jack, an onboard mic, and a Raspberry Pi compatible 40-pin expansion header.

Specifications listed for the Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic include:

  • Processor — Allwinner A33 (4x Cortex-A7); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • RAM — 512MB DDR3
  • Storage:
    • MicroSD slot
    • Optional 8GB 16GB, 32GB or 64GB eMMC
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 BLE; antenna connector (AP 6212)
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • 4-lane MIPI-DSI out
    • MIPI-CSI in
    • 3.5mm audio jack
    • Onboard mic
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port for power
    • 40-pin, RPi-compatible header with 28x GPIO, including UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, etc.
  • Other features — 3x LEDs; reset, power buttons
  • Power — 5V/2A DC jack; 3.7V lithium battery support; AXP223 PMIC
  • Weight — 40 g
  • Dimensions — 51 x 51mm
  • Operating system — Debian, Ubuntu, Raspbian image, etc.; Android

 
Further information

The BPI-M2 Magic is available for $23 at AliExpress, or $25.74 with shipment to the U.S. More information may be found in SinoVoip’s BPI-M2 Magic wiki.
 

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