Banana Pi Zero

Does this look familiar to you?  I’ve not had a chance to test one of these but I thought it worth bringing the Banana Pi Zero to your attention and can make some preliminary comments..

Banana Pi Zero

In many quarters the Banana Pi is held in high regard.  I tested the Raspberry Pi Zero elsewhere in this blog and while being small, light and cheap, it was also a slow as a dead snail, taking many, many hours just to run my normal install script – WAY slower than anything else I’d used in the past.

However there is no doubt that there is interest in a super small Linux machine by the interest in the Pi Zero which despite being sluggish is very popular.  Depending on price which I’ve not yet been able to find, the Banana Pi Zero then – which seems almost identical in size to the Raspberry Pi Zero, could be a winner. Yes, it has Bluetooth and WIFI on-board, yes it is also limited to 512Mb RAM and yes it has mini-HDMI out and is powered by an H2+ chip.  However according to the spec, it does not have audio in or out. 

Part of the success or failure of this Banana Pi Zero device, as it does not have Ethernet – will be the sensitivity and reliability of the WIFI and that will have to wait for a future date to test.

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10 thoughts on “Banana Pi Zero

  1. For the camera connector the same applies as with their other device directly targeting RPi sales: incompatible: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/4864-banana-pi-m2-berry/

    Same with software of course but since it's based on H2+ (which is pretty much the same as H3) software support is already pretty mature: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/4801-banana-pi-zero/&do=findComment&comment=36464

    With a board that small heat dissipation is always an issue so we'll have to see at which voltage they feed the H2+ SoC -- with their other H3 board (BPi M2+) they 'forgot' voltage regulation feeding the SoC all the time with 1.3V which results in poor performance since throttling way too early.

    Wi-Fi shouldn't be an issue, it's AP6212 (same chip as on RPi 3 or Zero W) so combined with an external antenna and with powermanagement deactivated (important!) you will get fairly good ping times and the usual 40 Mbits/sec over short distances.

    ALLNET is german distributor and this is their direct shop so you get already an idea about pricing: https://www.innet24.de/Makerspace/Single-Board-Computer/Banana-PI/Banana-Pi-Board-BPi-M2-Zero::146315.html

    Wrt 'script performance': choose a good SD card with high random IOPS and it will be fast, take a crappy card and it can take ages. 🙂

      1. Yeah, EVO+ with 32 or 64 GB seems still to be best choice for reasonable (random) IO performance at a good price on most SBC (where the SD card interface is a bottleneck anyways).

        But the recommendation to test them immediately and to buy only where you can return the goods or get a refund with 'no questions asked' seems also important since we had some reports recently of EVO/EVO+ behaving very strange with SBC (too slow, getting corrupt) so maybe fraudsters reached next level and concentrate more on Samsung counterfeit cards these days since they got so popular?

    1. Hi Tkiser

      I tried many Friendlyarm boards with armbian at all of them works like a charm.
      Unfortunately there is no tool like omxplayer for those boards. Is it possible to port it, or can you suggest a similar player (hardware acceleration is mandatory) ?
      I tried VLC but it's performances are far away from omxplayer

      1. Use an Ubuntu Xenial 'desktop image' (only those contain all the necessary software bits/packages to get HW accelerated video decoding) and then use mpv or one of its frontends (smplayer, smtube for example). This works only on H3 boards of course, other SoCs lack the necessary software support (cedrus/vdpau).

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