Exploring the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

By Abhishek Jadhav

Freelance Tech Writer

November 18, 2021

Blog

Exploring the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has introduced the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

 

It started six years ago with the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, followed by an upgrade of wireless connectivity with the $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W in 2017. Also, with the existing device performance of Raspberry Pi Zero W, makers were looking for some performance upgrades for the existing projects.

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W claims to deliver five times the performance of its predecessor through the same Broadcom BCM2710A1 SoC (integrated in the RP3A0 system in package (SiP)) seen in the Raspberry Pi 3. The BCM2710A1 includes a quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 clocking at 1 GHz whereas the BCM2835 on the Raspberry Pi Zero W contains a single-core, 700 Mhz ARM11 processor.

There are also some other differences between Zero W and Zero 2 W, which can be seen in the table below.

Parameters

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

SoC

Broadcom BCM2835

RP3A0 System in Package

Memory

512MB DDR2

512MB SDRAM

Wireless connectivity

IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 and Bluetooth LE

2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth Low Energy  

GPU

VideoCore IV

VideoCore IV

I/Os

1x microSD slot, 1x mini-HDMI port, 1x micro-USB OTG port, 1x micro-USB port, 1x CSI connector

1x mini-CSI connector, 1x microSD card reader, 1x micro-USB power input, 1x micro-USB data port, 1x mini-HDMI display port

Interface

Micro USB OTG port

USB 2.0 interface with OTG

Power supply

5V via micro-USB port

5V/2.5A via micro-USB port

Dimensions

65mm x 30mm x 5mm

65mm × 30mm

 

One thing you will note when looking at the two boards side by side is the extra copper layers on the 2 W, there to support the updated higher-speed memory.

Performance of Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

Benchmarks are already emerging for the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W as developers peek under the hood at performance, power consumption, and other metrics. Surprisingly, despite its upgraded performance, reviewers have found that the new Pi’s power requirements have not increased that much.

 

(Image Credit: Gareth Halfacree)

The above benchmarks, courtesy Gareth Halfacree, show that the idle power of the Raspberry Pi 2 W is almost the same as the predecessor. However, the load power is twice what Zero W demanded.

Things You Should Know Before Buying

If you are looking to upgrade an existing project based on Pi Zero W, the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W could be the drop-in replacement you’re looking for as it supports all of the same accessories and add-on hardware at a higher-performance clip.

But you should be aware that even though it comes with a more robust processor there are still some performance limitations for workloads like video, where the Zero 2 W isn’t capable of 30 fps at 1080p. For that, you’ll need a bigger Pi.

Still, all of that functionality isn’t bad for just $15. You can find more information or order one for yourself on the Raspberry Pi Foundation website at www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-zero-w.