After years of neglect, the Raspberry Pi Zero has an upgrade in the form of the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. It’s been 6 years since the initial release, with the W edition adding WiFi and Bluetooth in 2017. Now the 2 W has 512MB of SDRAM, a 1 GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and… that’s it in terms of upgraded features. All the ports are the same, meaning no USB-C on this one compared to the Raspberry Pi 4.
However, that additional power has given the Raspberry Pi Foundation a new selling point—it says the new Zero 2 is 5x faster than the Zero and offers roughly the same processing power as the Raspberry Pi 3 but with half the RAM.
When you’re using a Pi Zero, odds are that you’re making a small project, and maybe even one that’s going to run on batteries. The old Pi Zero was great for these self-contained, probably headless, embedded projects: sipping the milliamps slowly. But the cost was significantly slower computation than its bigger brothers. That’s the gap that the Pi Zero 2 W is trying to fill. Can it pull this trick off? Can it run faster, without burning up the batteries? […] The answer turns out to be a qualified “yes”. If you look at mixed CPU-and-memory tasks, the extra efficiency of the RP3A0 lets the Pi Zero 2 W run faster per watt than any of the other Raspberry boards we tested. Most of the time, it runs almost like a Raspberry Pi 3B+, but uses significantly less power.
Is there anything the Raspberry Pi can’t do?