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Orange Pi 3 slims down in new LTS version

Dec 27, 2021 — by Eric Brown 5,097 views

A $35 “Orange Pi 3 LTS” SBC has arrived that runs Linux or Android 9 on a quad -A53 Allwinner H6 and supplies 2GB LPDDR3, 8GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, GbE, HDMI 2.0a, USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and 26-pin GPIO.

In an era of chip and component shortages, the trend of new community backed SBCs adding more features at lower cost than its predecessors has been sidetracked. In a market where SBC prices are rising and you where you may not be able to receive a Raspberry Pi 4 before 2023, competitors can get by with a little fine-tuning. Shenzhen Xunlong has done just that by replacing the Orange Pi 3 with a smaller, slightly cheaper, but less feature-rich Orange Pi 3 LTS. The mini-PCIe slot is gone and there are fewer USB ports.

Orange Pi 3 LTS
(click images to enlarge)

The LTS model sells for $35 with 2GB LPDDR3 and 8GB eMMC at AliExpress and Amazon. The 1GB version is no longer available. The price is the same as the original Orange Pi 3 with 2GB and no eMMC, although a year ago when we were checking prices for our 2021 hacker board catalog, the lowest price we found for the 2GB/no eMMC model was $43.30. The LTS appears to replace the original, as it no longer appears to be available on AliExpress, and the Amazon shopping page lacks a price or shopping link.

The Orange Pi 3 LTS shrinks from 90 × 64mm to a Raspberry Pi like 85 x 56mm. Instead of the USB hub driven 4x USB 3.0 ports and single USB 2.0 port there is a single USB 3.0 and dual USB 2.0 ports. A USB Type-C input replaces both the DC jack and micro-USB OTG port.


As noted by the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the LTS model, the loss of the mini-PCIe slot is no big whoop since it “never really worked well due to a botched implementation in the SoC.” The only other hardware difference is that an Allwinner AW859A has replaced the Ampak AP6256, which similarly furnishes 802.11ac with BT 5.0.

Orange Pi 3 LTS detail view
(click image to enlarge)

As before, there are GbE and 4K-ready HDMI 2.0a ports plus an A/V jack, mic input, 26-pin GPIO, IR, and on the back of the board, a microSD slot. Android support has improved to Android 9, and there are Armbian with Ubuntu 20.04 and Debian 11 images. This is an open spec board that will soon be supported with schematics and other open hardware resources.

Specifications listed for the Orange Pi 3 LTS include:

  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53); ARM Mali-T720 MP2 GPU with OpenGL ES3 and DirectX 11
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage — microSD slot; 8GB eMMC
  • Wireless – Ampak AW859A module with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 5.0; antenna
  • Networking — 10/100/1000Mbit Ethernet port
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0a with audio and HDCP 2.2 output
    • 3.5mm audio output jack with CVBS AV
    • Mic input
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • USB Type-C port for power input
    • Serial debug UART with ground
    • 26-pin GPIO expansion connector with I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIOs
  • Other features — IR receiver; power and status LEDs
  • Power – 5V/3A via USB Type-C; PMU; power button
  • Weight — 45 g
  • Dimensions — 90 × 64mm
  • Operating system — Android 9.0; Ubuntu and Debian images

Further information

The Orange Pi 3 LTS is available for $35 at AliExpress and Amazon. More information may be found on the Orange Pi project’s Orange Pi 3 LTS product page.

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One response to “Orange Pi 3 slims down in new LTS version”

  1. Chip says:

    I’m very happy with the 5 Orange PIs I bought in the past (3x OPi PC, 2x Zero), but I always had to turn to other sellers on Ebay for purchase, thus paying them more, because the manufacturer stubbornly refuses to accept Paypal directly. Had they accepted it, I’d have bought a lot more boards instead of going to the competition (hardkernel, pine64, friendlyarm, etc).

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