Raspberry Pi is a tiny, single-board computer that allows people to do things such as develop software, watch movies, mine cryptocurrency, and many other things. You’re probably thinking that your smartphone can do all that, but then your smartphone probably costs a lot more than $35 (roughly Rs. 2,300). The Raspberry Pi is an awesome computer for the price, but it is not the only single-board computer in the market.
There are six Raspberry Pi variants available as of now, with the Raspberry Pi Zero being the cheapest at $10 (roughly Rs. 650) and the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B being the most powerful at $35. You can also get the Raspberry Pi Zero W if all you need is a basic computer with Wi-Fi capability for slightly more than the Zero.
If you want more power, or something that costs even less, there are a lot of alternatives out there. We found alternatives that cost as much as $239 (roughly Rs. 15,500) but that’s probably too costly for those who want a Raspberry Pi. Here are five good single-board computers you might want to consider if Raspberry Pi isn’t available easily.
Asus Tinker Board
Asus Tinker Board is a pretty balanced choice overall as it supports UHD video playback in a really compact form factor. As the name suggests, the Asus Tinker Board is quite customisable too.
It's powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It runs Asus TinkerOS, which is a variant of Debian-based Linux and supports Android as well. Asus says the Tinker Board features plug-and-play support for NTFS hard drives and flash drives. Asus Tinker Board is available offline via Acro Engineering at the price mentioned below. If you buy online you may end up shelling out a lot more.
Price: Rs. 4,750
Where to buy Asus Tinker Board: Offline via Acro Engineering
Orange Pi Zero
If you want an affordable, open-source single-board computer that is available easily in India, the Orange Pi Zero might interest you. It has a quad-core Cortex A7 processor, a Mali 400 MP2 GPU, 256MB of RAM, apart from support for Wi-Fi and up to 64GB storage via a TF card.
This should be good enough to run 1080p videos that use H.265 video formats. The Orange Pi Zero can run Android 4.4 and Ubuntu. There’s a 512MB RAM version that’s available for Rs. 1,290.
Price: Rs. 990
Where to buy Orange Pi Zero: Crazy Pi
BBC’s Micro:bit is a tiny computer targeted at 11-12 year old kids, which makes it a good choice if you’re looking to buy this computer as a gift. It has mobile apps that let you send code to the Micro:bit via Bluetooth, which is great for kids who’ve grown up with smartphones.
BBC says the Micro:bit can be used to create robots and musical instruments, apart from as a controller for games or songs. This is quite affordable too but not directly available in India.
Price: $15 (roughly Rs. 970)
Where to buy BBC Micro:bit: Various sellers
Odroid XU4 can run several variants of Linux including Ubuntu 16.04, apart from various versions of Android, which includes Android 7.1 Nougat. Odroid claims that the XU4 can function as a home theatre set-top box or a computer for browsing the Web and basic office work.
The Odroid XU4 has an octa-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, and supports lots of connectivity options such as eMMC5.0 HS400 flash storage, 2 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI 1.4a port and an Ethernet port.
Which is your favourite Raspberry Pi alternative? Let us know via the comments.