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Raspberry Pi Zero W clone offers quad-core power for $15

Oct 31, 2017 — by Eric Brown 19,922 views

SinoVoip’s Linux-friendly, 60 x 30mm Banana Pi M2 Zero (BPI-M2 Zero) SBC closely mimics the Raspberry Pi Zero W, but has a faster Allwinner H2+.

Just as we were trumpeting the $23 BPI-M2 Magic as being the “smallest, cheapest Banana Pi yet,” SinoVoip has launched an even tinier and more affordable Linux/Android hacker board on AliExpress. The WiFi-enabled Banana Pi M2 Zero (BPI-M2 Zero), which was revealed back in July, is now selling for only $15 with the standard 512MB RAM, or $21.53 including shipping to the U.S.

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

The BPI-M2 Zero SBC openly mimics the $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W in both dimensions and features, but offers a 1.2GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner H2+ compared to the RPi Zero W’s single-core, 1GHz ARM11-based Broadcom BCM2836. Like other Banana Pi boards, it is an open source hardware and software design with community support.

The Allwinner H2+ is much like the widely adopted Allwinner H3 SoC except that it tops out at HD resolution instead of 4K. This is the same SoC found on two other RPi Zero W clones: FriendlyElec’s $8 (256MB) to $12 (512MB) NanoPi Duo and Shenzhen Xunlong’s $7 to $12.30 (512MB) Orange Pi Zero.

BPI-M2 Zero (bottom) with Raspberry Pi Zero W (top)
(click image to enlarge)

The BPI-M2 Zero measures 60 x 30m (1,800 square mm) compared to 65 x 30mm (1,950 sq. millimeters) for the RPi Zero W. Since the layout is almost identical, you can use a Zero W case.
By comparison, the NanoPi Duo measures 50 x 25.4mm (1,270 sq. mm) and the Orange Pi Zero is 48 x 46mm (2,208 sq. mm). The recently released BPI-M2 Magic has a footprint of 51 x 51mm (2,500 sq. mm). The BPI-M2 Zero’s 35-gram weight, however, is considerably greater than its rivals.

Key specs of BPI-M2 Zero and RPi Zero W compared


BPI-M2 Zero Raspberry Pi Zero W
SoC Allwinner H2+ Broadcom BCM2836
CPU 4x ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz 1x ARM11 @ 1GHz
GPU ARM Mali-400 MP2 @ 600MHz VideoCore IV @ 250MHz
RAM 512MB 512MB
Storage MicroSD slot MicroSD slot
WiFi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n
BlueTooth BT 4.0 dual-mode BT 4.1 BLE
Display I/F mini-HDMI mini-HDMI
USB micro-USB 2.0 OTG micro-USB 2.0 OTG
Other I/O 3-pin debug UART
Expansion 40-pin Rpi 3-compatible 40-pin Rpi 3-compatible
Power 5V via micro-USB (power only) 5V via micro-USB (power only)
Dimensions 60 x 30 mm 65 x 30 mm
OS support Android, Debian, Ubuntu, Raspbian Raspbian

The BPI-M2 Zero is a much closer clone of the Raspbery Pi Zero W than the other imitators. It has a standard allotment of 512MB RAM rather than a 256MB entry point like the NanoPi Duo and Orange Pi Zero, and unlike those two boards, it offers Bluetooth in addition to WiFi.

BPI-M2 Zero detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The SBC is further equipped with a mini-HDMI port, microSD slot, micro-USB OTG port, and 5V power-only micro-USB port. The BPI-Zero lacks the composite video header of the Zero W, but similarly provides a CSI camera connector. Also like the Zero W, it has a 40-pin GPIO header compared to the 32- and 24-pin headers for the NanoPi Duo and Orange Pi Zero, respectively.

Specifications are listed for the BPI-M2 Zero include:

  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU @600MHz
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage — MicroSD slot for up to 64GB
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11b/g/n plus Bluetooth 4.0 dual mode (Ampak AP6212)
    • Optional dual mode Broadcom AP6335 with 802.11ac and BT 4.0 or Gigafu Tech AP6181 (2.4GHz WiFi and no BT, but low power consumption)
    • RF connector
  • Display — Mini-HDMI port with audio for up to 1080p60
  • Other I/O:
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port (with power support)
    • MIPI-CSI for 5MP cam or 1080p @30 video input
    • Debug UART/ground header with 3x GPIO
    • 40-pin RPi 3-compatible expansion connector
  • Other features — 2x LEDs; power and reset buttons
  • Power — 5V/2A via micro-USB
  • Dimensions — 60 x 30mm
  • Weight — 35 g
  • Operating system — Android, Debian, Ubuntu, Raspbian image

Further information

The Banana Pi M2 Zero (BPI-M2 Zero) is available for $15, or $21.53 including shipping to the U.S. More information may be found on the BPI-M2 Zero AliExpress shopping page and Banana Pi wiki.

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