Nov 262015
Raspberry Pi Zero - FREE with the MagPi Magazine

Raspberry Pi Zero FREE on the cover of this month’s MagPi magazine. Yes you read that correctly. Raspberry Pi have pulled another world first out of the bag. Back in the pre-internet days when I used to buy PC magazines, they used to have a cover disk. Well Raspberry Pi have come up with a ‘cover computer’. It’s an absolutely awesome idea and is sure to cause ‘quite a stir*‘.

Raspberry Pi Zero, a brand new spin of the Raspberry Pi, is designed to be as inexpensive as possible. A year ago the model A+ launched at $20, now the Zero launches at just $5 (UK £4 inc. VAT). This is what it looks like…

Raspberry Pi Zero

Raspberry Pi Zero

I counted 88 components on the PCB (counting the PoP as 2).

How On Earth Did They Get The Price So Low?

“We sweated every component to see what we could leave off,” said Eben Upton when I talked to him at Pi Towers last week. “All the components are on one side of the board, which makes it cheaper to manufacture.”

Raspberry Pi Zero - no components on the back

Raspberry Pi Zero – no components on the back

Here’s my traditional video walk-round…

Smaller Board, Less Connectors

It’s also a much smaller board with less connectors than its bigger brothers and sisters. The Zero has…

  • an unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header (in the standard B+/A+/Pi2B layout)
  • micro-USB power port
  • micro-USB OTG host port
  • mini-HDMI port
  • unpopulated composite header (TV)
  • unpopulated reset header (RUN)

There are no; CSI (camera) or DSI (screen) ports, no analogue audio, no ethernet and no full-size USB ports. The power circuit is simplified too, since there’s no need to power a camera and multiple USB ports.

The other big surprise is that it’s got 512 Megabytes of RAM, compared with the A+’s 256 MB.

Aside from being extraordinarily cheap, I’d say it’s got “wearables and small embedded applications” written all over it.


Weight, dimensions and power usage were all measured in the RasPi.TV lab.

Dimensions: 65mm x 30mm (31mm including micro-USB port overhang) x 5.4mm (mini-HDMI)
Weight: 9g
Processor: BCM2835 with VC4
Default Clock Speed: 1GHz with L2 cache overclock giving about 30-40% more processing power by default
Memory: 512MB RAM
Power Consumption: 0.5-0.7W (100-140mA at 5.09V)
Revision Number: 900092

It’s Half-HAT Sized

Raspberry Pi Zero is half the size of the A+ (or a standard HAT)…

Raspberry Pi Zero with A+

Raspberry Pi Zero with A+

It’s A Special Edition Model

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a special edition model, so nothing (long-term availability, price stability, feature set or form factor) is guaranteed past the initial production run(s). However, if it’s popular enough, it’s quite possible that more will be made.

It might not be wise to bet your livelihood on developing a ‘Pi Zero-only’ add-on though. But all 40-pin compatible Pi add-ons should work well with it (if you solder a header on).

What’s It Like In Use?

It’s a lot like a model A+, but faster because of the extra RAM and the 1GHz overclock. To use it with an HDMI screen, you’ll need either a mini-HDMI to HDMI lead or an adaptor. You’ll also need an OTG USB cable if you want to use the USB port. The Pi Hut has put together a little “Zero Essentials Kit” which includes the Pi Zero, all the adaptors and a choice of headers, along with a nice tin to keep it all in…

Raspberry Pi Zero - Essentials Kit from

Raspberry Pi Zero – Essentials Kit from

Other than that, it’s your normal Raspberry Pi experience in a smaller, lighter, much cheaper but eminently more hackable and wearable format.

Where Can I Buy One?

  • ThePiHut
  • MagPi subscription
  • Raspberry Pi SWAG store
  • Buy this month’s MagPi magazine from a shop or news-stand
  • There will no doubt be other vendors too that are as yet unknown to me

I have a feeling the MagPi is going to sell ‘a lot of copies’* this month.

* Classic British understatement.

More Photos For Your Perusal

Raspberry Pi Zero with RasPiO Portsplus

Raspberry Pi Zero with RasPiO Portsplus

Raspberry Pi Zero with Pi2B

Raspberry Pi Zero with Pi2B

I will update my Pi family photo in due course and publish that when it’s done.

  45 Responses to “Raspberry Pi Zero FREE on the cover of this month’s MagPi magazine.”

  1. Is it possible to add wifi to this? With a micro usb to USB adapter or some other way?

  2. Yeah it’s good new ! I have already to buy on !
    I look forward to receive it!

  3. Picamera support?

  4. Two ordered at PiHut! No chance of getting the magazine in the Netherlands alas.

  5. Is there any way of connecting it to HDMI and a USB wifi at the same time to connect to my TV or will i need an older PI?

  6. I’m with Hans! :-)

  7. Hi Alex.I notice that you use a WiFi dongle that lets you connect the Pi Zero to the internet yet you also are able to type and use a mouse BUT without a keyboard and mouse plugged in. How do you do that? Do you use a WiFi keyboard and mouse so that the WiFi dongle does all 3 things? Keyboard + Mouse + internet.
    Ps Thanks for the informative video.

  8. can i just connect usb hub to the USBOTG cable to use wifi dongle and mouse with keyboard?

  9. The only thing I miss is an on board wifi module.

  10. That would be FEWER connectors, not “less” connectors

  11. No analog audio?! There are a lot of projects that could of been made with analog audio. Might need to go the usb sound card route I guess.

  12. Hi Alex
    What makes you say this is a limited edition board at a limited edition price?


  13. Finally a tool for my minions to take over an ad rule the world! 😏HAHAHAHAHA!

  14. I love the picture of the Pi Zero next to your Ports Plus – truly tiny!

  15. Is it possible to add drivers for multi-touch function for a 10 points multi touch screen? That would be amazing to add and to use

  16. Anybody know what J5 is on the unpopulated side of the board?

    • It’s the JTAG header, used for the RPi engineers to communicate directly with the BCM chip. Not much use to us though. It’s for dev work. You’ll find it’s on Pi2B under the HDMI port as well.

  17. Hardware decode video?

  18. You know Alex, this Pi Zero is an interesting diversion but for some reason the designers have not worked out what we customers really want in a useful Pi. The ideal Pi would have a full sized HDMI port, 2 proper USB ports for keyboard and mouse and the most important feature – reliable onboard Wifi. Wifi dongle reliability is the weak point of the Pi in my experience.

  19. Wonder why the ?header(s)? have to be soldered on. There is no way to make a snap on version of the ?header(s)?

    I just ordered the 2B and am thinking that if that works out I might try the zero if/when there are more available. I don’t know a whole lot about electronics. I know just enough about a computer to repair it (after I get done breaking it, which I do on a regular basis). I can figure out and set up most electronic devices. The Pi sounds like it is on a whole new level then what I am used to.

    It will be very interesting, I think/hope.

    • Don’t worry – there will be plenty of people willing to solder some headers on for you – just put a tweet out or go along to a local Raspberry Jam and ask someone

  20. I am new to Pi. I must compile a C++ program on the Pi and run it remotely from a laptop. Can I do this on this Pi??? Does it have a compiler? I will send it the data that should sit on the cache I guess.

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