Banana Pi: The £35 mini PC twice as powerful as a Raspberry Pi revealed
The Raspberry Pi took the tech world by storm when it first launched two years ago – after all, what self-respecting gadget lover wouldn’t want a teeny, super-affordable and almost infinitely customisable computer? Imagine if it had more power though; perhaps it could be the ideal pocket-sized gaming machine! Good news: such a super-gadget exists, in the form of the aptly-named Banana Pi.
As the fruity name suggests, the Banana Pi offers a similar concept to the Raspberry Pi. It’s an incredibly small, bare-bones PC, packing in the essentials and not a lot else. It means you’ll be able to customise to your heart’s content – coding specific programmes to carry out functions for your home entertainment systems, or adding different features like cameras – but it also means you’ll need to know what you’re doing if you want to get the best out of either the Raspberry or the brand new Banana Pi.
So what does the latest fruit have to offer? More performance, for a start, with a faster processor and double the memory of the Raspberry Pi. That means the Banana Pi gets a zippy 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor and the 1GB of RAM.
Granted, it’s not enough to turn the Banana Pi into something capable of rivalling your MacBook Pro for power, but we’ve already seen Broadcom Titanfall here we come! (OK, perhaps not, but we can always dream…).
You can hook up a big display using the HDMI port or composite video jack, and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can connect speakers or a pair of cans. Add in an SD card reader, a couple of USB 2.0 ports and a SATA connection and there’s a lot to like. Like the Raspberry, there’s Gigabit Ethernet, an IR receiver and a 26-pin connector that lets you add a Raspberry Pi compatible camera.
Granted, none of these features truly move the Banana Pi on from the original Raspberry Pi – outright performance aside – but the Raspberry has proved incredibly popular for a reason, so why change the major ingredients?
If you do fancy a step up in power, the Banana Pi costs just $57 (£34) – slightly more than the £25 needed for the Raspberry, but still a true bargain if you’re looking to set up the heart of a home entertainment system or more.
What do you use your Raspberry Pi for? Leave a comment and let us know.