Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W launched! More processor power in a small package!

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 close-up, front side

Fans of the Raspberry Pi Zero can today get excited about a new Raspberry Pi product – the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

TL;DR – it’s got the Pi 3B processor, 512MB of RAM and is a lot speedier than the original Zero/Zero W.

New processor

The big headline improvement to the Zero is that the Pi Zero 2 W uses the same processor as the Raspberry Pi 3.

In technical terms, RP3A0 is a SiP that combines the BCM2710A1 die used in BCM2837A1 – which was used in the Raspberry Pi 3 – and a 4Gbit Micron LPDDR2 die along with the decoupling capacitors required to smooth the core supply voltage.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 - chip package

The new Zero 2 chip is a quad-core, 64-bit processor, a massive increase in processor power over the original Zero/Zero W which uses the single core Raspberry Pi 1 processor. The processor is only set to 1 GHz to avoid overheating issues, but could be overclocked to 1.4 GHz (the same as the Pi 3B) with adequate heat dissipation. I’m sure someone will come out with a case that will allow you to do just that!

Same memory size, new package

Also on-board is 512MB of RAM. This has been packed into a new “substrate package” developed by Raspberry Pi to allow it to work with the new processor, making it their second home-grown silicon package (after the Raspberry Pi Pico).

The Pi Zero 2 W has WiFi onboard, but this time it is packaged into a “can” which means the whole Pi Zero 2 is conformance-tested, making it much easier to develop full products with the Zero 2 W embedded. As you can see from the image above, because the silicon package was developed by Raspberry Pi, you get the Pi logo on top, which is nice.

The board comes without a 40-pin header (so blame me for the soldering below!).

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 close up, reverse

Same form-factor

The form-factor of the Pi Zero 2 W is the same, although some components have moved so cases that expect components not to move (like the Pimoroni PiBow) might not fit properly. My usual choice for the Zero (the £6 “Premium Raspberry Pi Zero Case” from The Pi Hut) housed the new board nicely, however, because it allows for flexibility of components.

I was also happy to see the continued inclusion of the Zero-sized camera connector. This is still a very fragile connector, although necessary because of the board size.

Existing models

It’s expected that the original Pi Zero and Pi Zero W will still be available to purchase for the near future.

Cost and getting the board

The baseline price of the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is $15 (because they source the parts in dollars, in case you didn’t know!). That works out to just over £13 in the UK. They are limited to one-per-customer, as per usual with the Zero. This stops eBay scammers grabbing them all and makes things fairer, although this may be frustrating for some people, also as per usual with the Zero.

For those buying in the UK:

For those buying in the EU:

For those buying in North America:

For those buying in the Rest of the World

(I will add other resellers as I pick up their website addresses).


In practice

When I used the Pi Zero 2 W, I first of all did a full update/upgrade. Once that was done, it took less than 30 seconds to boot up into the desktop. Impressive considering the amount of memory on-board. Web browsing felt sluggish (because of the lack of memory), but I’m told that the Zero 2 isn’t really built for that (although it would do it at a push – I managed to post to the Raspberry Pi Forums from it without much bother!). I tested out the GPIO pins, including an I2C and SPI test and everything “just worked”.

I do wish that the Pi Zero 2 had 1GB, but maybe that would make it “too capable” and eat into the usage and sales of the Pi 4.

Bottom line: A very nice little board and is well worth the extra cost.

Other opinions and blog posts

As usual, I’ll pick up other coverage and link to it as the day progresses. Check back later for links to more opinions!

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