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Raspberry Pi Zero W hands-on review

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Raspberry Pi Zero W hands-on review

Raspberry Pi Zero W hands-on review

WELL THIS IS A FINE THING INDEED. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched the Raspberry Pi Zero W, a welcome addition to its mini PC range that adds support for wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. 

I do not do many reviews, but I expect that this is not your first Raspberry Pi review, nor your first Raspberry Pi, so you already know a lot about it already. 

If you already have a Raspberry Pi Zero, then you already know a lot of this already – the big addition here is the wireless and Bluetooth onboard business.

In case you are new to the whole thing there are a couple of bits and pieces that you need to know. You are unlikely to be able to unpack a Pi Zero and start playing with it. You will need a couple of cables and adapters. A miniUSB to normal USB is a must, preferably one with multiple normal USB connections, and you will need the same for HDMI connections. 

I had these, well half of these, and I got them on the high street, but online specialist stores are available. Also needed is a microUSB power cable, and if you have an Android phone you probably have one of these too. 

These connect to your Pi Zero Wireless, or Pi Zero W for short, in the obvious slots and you power up. The Raspberry operating system starts and there you go. The one new thing that you will have to do is set up your wireless and Bluetooth connections, without first going through an adapter. A small, but perhaps necessary, and ultimately excellent addition to the pocket wonder.

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What the Pi Zero has gained is what the Raspberry Pi 3 got before it, 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.0. This opens up a real world of connectivity opportunities. 

Of course, the existing options are there and you still get an HAT-compatible 40-pin header, CSI camera connector, Composite video and reset headers. You’ll also find a 1Ghz, single-core CPU paired with 512MB RAM, and you can fit it into the tiny pocket that you get free with jeans* but that doesn’t really make any sense.

The Rasberry Pi home screen remains familiar, as do the menu options. There is a good range of games, including Minecraft, and a series of Python titles including at least 3 Tetris clones and a version of Snake to save you from buying a stupid Nokia 3310 reboot. 

Libre Office will take care of your productivity needs, and before anyone starts panicking you also get tools like a calculator, image viewer, file manager and a Paint-like thing.

I got a case with mine. It is tiny and very neat and looks a bit like a seashell. Mine came in raspberry red and white which I thought was nice. Eben Upton told me that the lids are interchangeable and that he was particularly excited about that feature. 

“There’s also a sweet new injection moulded case with interchangeable lids. We’re quite excited about this one,” he said.

The Pi Zero Wireless is out now and costs just £9.60. 

Other things that cost around a tenner: a KFC Bargain Bucket, three MP3 downloads of Robbie Williams’ Angels album, 40 Freddo bars at the current 25p market rate, 1/16th of a pair of Apple AirPods and two pints of lager in London. µ

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