Picking hardware

We support a number of different hardware platforms, ranging in power and price to suit your needs. They are ordered here starting with the cheapest through to the most expensive:

We also provide a Raspberry Pi 2 image and Raspberry Pi 3 image for those who already have the hardware. We do not recommend buying a Pi 2 or 3 however, but to instead buy the Pi 4 due to its improved features at around the same cost, which is why the Pi 2 and 3 are not included in this documentation.

While there are lots to distinguish between the hardware, here is an overview of what we deem to be particularly noteworthy:

Power

Value

Availability

Features

Durability

Wi-Fi

Storage

Approximate cost (before shipping)

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Dated hardware, which no longer provides much bang for your buck.

Incredibly low cost, for those really needing to cut costs

Good distribution, but limited in the quantities you can order at once

Provides the bare minimum needed to run the Block

Tried and tested, produced by a reliable manufacturer

Built in Wi-Fi, but with no aerial impacts the range

SD Card

$10USD

Orange Pi Zero LTS 512MB

Its Quad-Core processer makes this a significant improvement over the Raspberry Pi Zero W

Excellent value for money, although more per unit that the Raspberry Pi Zero

Shipping from China means this may take longer to arrive. But it will post to a wide range of countries making the availability good.

An Ethernet Port and USB Port make this feature rich hardware expanding the possibilities for your Learner's Block

Runs a little hotter than other units, that may result in slowdowns if in extreme heats and direct sunlight.

An included aerial gives the range a healthy boost

SD Card

$17USD

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 2GB

A powerful system which is a significant step up from the others. Unlikely to really benefit from all of its power, but does provide future proofing and a snappier response.

A step up from the Orange Pi Zero LTS may feel worth the splurge, but will begin to add up if buying a large number of units

Good distribution, but limited in the quantities you can order at once

Quad-Core processor, 2GB of RAM (no need to go higher) and a Gigabit Ethernet port means this hardware could be plugged into a school network to handle larger numbers. it does mean a larger form factor that won't fit in your pocket like the others.

Tried and tested, produced by a reliable manufacturer

No aerial, but the newer hardware and technologies provide a good range. Ethernet connectivity will allow for more users, but Wi-Fi is unlikely to support more users than the Orange Pi Zero LTS 512MB.

SD Card

$30USD

Balena Fin

An industrial powerhouse, designed for professional use in high-end manufacturer. Very few will benefit from this sort of power.

Unlikely that the majority of users will need what this offers.

Supports large orders, but distribution overseas more limited that the others as units will often come from the US.

Ethernet and USB Ports

Among the best in class

Designed for Internet of Things devices, Wi-Fi connectivity is central to its design

Built in 8/16/32/64 GB options.

$200USD+ (will require additional hardware on top of this cost)

You can find places to buy each by clicking on the links above which will take you to the manufacturer's website.

A little indecisive? Our personal choice is the Orange Pi Zero LTS 512MB, for its well-rounded features and power for a relatively low cost.

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