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Orange Pi SBCs offer a choice of 32- or 64-bit SoCs for under $20

Mar 28, 2017 — by Eric Brown 5,106 views

The open spec “Orange Pi Zero Plus 2” SBC provides WiFi, BT, HDMI, MIPI-CSI, and a choice of quad-core Allwinner H3 (Cortex-A7) or H5 (-A53) SoCs.

Shortly after launching an Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 with a 32-bit, Cortex-A7 Allwinner H3, Shenzhen Xunlong’s open source Orange Pi project shipped an Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 model. The Linux- and Android-ready hacker board is identical except for the change to a similarly quad-core, but 64-bit, Cortex-A53 Allwinner H5 SoC. The open spec boards are shipping now on AliExpress, for $18.90 and $19.90, respectively, but have yet to appear on the Orange Pi website.

Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 (left) and Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5
(click images to enlarge)

Both boards have the same 48 x 46mm dimensions and some of the same features as the $7 Orange Pi Zero, which was one of six open source Orange Pi SBCs included in our year-end roundup up of 90 hacker boards. The Orange Pi Zero uses the rarely seen Allwinner H2, which is almost identical to the H3 with its four 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 cores and Mali-400 MP2 GPU. The main difference is that the H3 supports 4K video while the H2 is limited to 1080p.

Orange Pi Zero Plus 2, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Allwinner H5 SoC has previously been used by the larger, $20 Orange Pi PC 2 SBC, as well as FriendlyElec’s recently launched NanoPi Neo2, which has an even smaller footprint than the Zero Plus 2 boards at 40 x 40mm, but has no video port. The Allwinner H5 SoC offers a faster Mali-450 MP2 GPU compared to the H2 and H3, and similarly clocks to 1.2GHz, but with 64-bit performance.

Aside from the processors, differences include the removal of the USB 2.0 host and 10/100 Ethernet ports, as well as the dedicated mic interface. Yet while the headless Zero was limited to a AV-out interface grouped along with other I/O on the still-available 13-pin function header, the Zero Plus adds an HDMI port and MIPI-CSI camera interface.

Orange Pi Plus 2 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 boards also add Bluetooth 4.2, which is provided on an Ampak AP6212 module along with the previously supplied WiFi radio. According to a CNXSoft post that alerted us to the new boards, this should solve the Orange Pi Zero’s WiFi problems, which often resulted in lower throughput.


Like the Orange Pi Zero, the Zero Plus 2 boards supply a 26-pin expansion header that is compatible with the first 26 pins of the 40-pin headers on Raspberry Pi SBCs. The board’s weight has dropped from 26 to 20 grams. OS support appears to be the same, although there’s no longer mention of Armbian.

Specifications listed for the Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 and Zero Plus 2 H5 include:

  • Processor – Choice of two Allwinner SoCs:
    • Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
    • Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage — MicroSD slot up to 64GB; 8GB eMMC
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 (Ampak AP6212 module); antenna
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI port with 4K, HDCP, CEC, and HDMI 30 support
    • MIPI-CSI interface
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port (with power input)
    • GPIO (1×3) pin
    • Serial debug interface
    • 13-pin function interface (TV out, mic, earphone, mic, 2x USB 2.0, IR)
    • 26-pin header compatible with Raspberry Pi B+
  • Other features — power & status LEDs
  • Power — via micro-USB OTG
  • Dimensions — 48 x 46mm
  • Weight — 20 g
  • Operating systems — Android, Ubuntu, Debian, Raspbian

Further information

The Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 and Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 are available now at $18.90 ($22.25 with delivery to the U.S.) and $19.90 ($23.25 with delivery), respectively. More information may be found on the Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 and Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 AliExpress shopping pages. More information should eventually appear on Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi community website.

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One response to “Orange Pi SBCs offer a choice of 32- or 64-bit SoCs for under $20”

  1. Ashok Iyer says:

    Ampak AP6212 seems to be BT 4.0 only. Not BT 4.2 as stated in your article as well as on the AliExpress listing.

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