Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ retains the power of the Model B+ in a smaller, cheaper package
The Raspberry Pi has been so popular among consumers and educators that the name is now synonymous with the term “single-board computer.” There’s a good reason for that; the microcomputer line has always managed to pack a lot of power and versatility in a relatively small and cheap board. That trend shows no sign of stopping, either; the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ crams many of the same features of the powerful Pi 3 Model B+ in a smaller and cheaper package.
The Pi 3 Model A+ has the same 1.4 GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, the same 802.11ac WiFi, and the same Bluetooth 4.2/Low Energy that made the larger Pi 3 Model B+ so enticing to tinkerers. The big draw for the Model A+ lies in its even more compact size and lower price tag. Compared to the Model B+ (85.6 mm x 56.5 mm), the Model A+ has a noticeably smaller footprint (65 mm x 56.5 mm). The Model A+ is also quite a bit shorter than the Model B+. (We could not find exact measurements for the Model A+’s height at the time of publication.)
Of course, shaving off size always comes with compromise. The Model A+ has half the RAM of the Model B+ (512 MB vs. 1 GB) and much less I/O. The Model A+ loses three of the Model B+’s four USB 2.0 ports and eschews the Ethernet jack. These losses may be deal breakers for some, but other users may find the compact size and the $25 cost more appealing than the relatively bulky $35 Model B+. The model A+ also boasts “improved thermal management” and is better able to boot from a connected USB drive.
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is on sale through the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s website now for $25.