So first of all what is it? – this is a small SBC, a development from the Nanopi M1 which I’ve reviewed here before. So is this worth reading? I would say YES. The M1+ comes complete with 8GB of EMMC which as we’ve seen with other boards makes a significant difference to speed. It can of course handle SD.
The most important features are:
- H3-based (which means there is code out there for the GPIO)
- Mali GPU
- 1GB DDR3 RAM
- 8GB eMMC
- WIFI, Bluetooth (4.0 dual mode)
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 3.5mm Audio jack
- Microphone on board
- IR sensor
- 2 USB-2
- 2 USB Type A
- DVP Camera
- Serial Debug port….
As usual 4 serial ports, though one is debug and one will be tied up with Bluetooth – but that still leaves the Pi wanting.
I opened up the box, downloaded the EMMC loader image from the FriendlyArm site onto a 16GB SD and ran it on the hardwired Ethernet connector. A box popped up offering to install one of two operating systems, I picked Debian. Minutes later I turned it off – took out the SD, turned it on and… working complete with LDXE. Size – around 70mm * 65mm.
I don’t remember an easier setup – everything worked including SCP access to both users FA and ROOT. I logged in as root from WinSCP, copied my script across – ran it – it created the Pi user, I logged in as Pi, ran the script and went off for coffee. Exactly 58 minutes later the whole thing was done and dusted with all my favourite software in place.
This time I’d put in a new addition to the script…AVAHI. Once the script finished I popped into the HOSTS file and the HOSTNAME file and changed the name from “friendlyarm” to “m1plus” and rebooted the board. Antonio who gave me this mod had assured me that this would now mean local access to the boards by name – which should work but hasn’t in the past. I went to my browser on the main pc and typed http://m1plus.lan and sure enough – up popped the board. I tested all my main programs – all work. Actually, just http://m1plus works too.
I’ve not done any speed tests other than the script install which at 58 minutes is not bad…. but the whole thing has a good feeling of speed about it. This could be my new favourite board. Up to now it has been the M3 boards but the fan noise is getting on my nerves a bit – need to sort that – the M1+ definitely does not need a fan. I have hardwired Ethernet on one IP, WIFI on another – the WIFI is reporting a good signal WITHOUT an external aerial. I checked the Bluetooth and it immediately found my Bluetooth speakers.
So up to now, all looks good and as we’ve seen the H3 before there should be no horrible surprises anywhere.
I’ll let you know more about speed and reliability as I get into using this little board. Just a shame they’d not put the connector on for their LCDs… but hey – you can’t have everything.