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FriendlyARM NanoPi M1

By Make: Editors / Jun 30, 2016

FriendlyARM NanoPi M1

The NanoPi M1 comes in two versions, one with 512MB of RAM, the other with 1GB of RAM for $5 more. The NanoPi M1 from FriendlyARM is a neat little board, just two-thirds the size of the Raspberry Pi.

Powered by an Allwinner H3 processor, the board is very similar to the Orange Pi One, but with more features and arguably better documentation. It’s worth noting that the folks behind the board at FriendlyARM were the first to react to the recent Allwinner sun8i legacy kernal security alert, providing a fix for a potentially huge security hole ahead of most other vendors.

The board comes with a 40-pin GPIO header which is pin-compatible with the Raspberry Pi, and while there is no onboard wireless, it does have an onboard IR sensor, an unusual selling point for single board computers in this class. If your project depends on IR, or you want to control audio/visual equipment that still uses IR remote controls, this board might well be the right choice.

Specs
FriendlyARM NanoPi M1 FriendlyARM
Type:Single Board Computer
Price:$11 with 512MB, $16 for 1GB
Software:Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Core, Debian or Armbian, also supports Android(Jacer)
Clock Speed:1 GHz
Processor:Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7
I/O Pins (digital):40 (pin compatible with Raspberry Pi header)
I/O Pins (analog):No
WiFi?:No
Video?:HDMI, 3.5mm jack for composite video and stereo audio
Bluetooth?:No
Ethernet?:Yes, 10/100 Mbps
Operating Voltage:5V (input power), 3.3V (pin logic)
Dimension:64 x 50 mm
Memory:512MB, or 1GB
Additional Features:3 USB, on-board microphone, IR receiver, Camera DVP interface, microSD

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Why To Buy

The NextThingCo C.H.I.P famously shipped the first $9 computer, but FriendlyARM’s NanoPi M1 comes close at $11. While it doesn’t have the onboard Wi-Fi or Bluetooth of the C.H.I.P, the NanoPi does have an Ethernet jack, more GPIO pins (and a Raspberry Pi compatible headers), two more USB ports, an onboard microphone, and an IR sensor. This is a solid, affordable Pi replacement, and if you don’t need wireless it could be better suited to your needs than the C.H.I.P., and while like the C.H.I.P. shipping costs for the board were high, FriendlyARM now ships using CHINA Post and shipping to most countries for (multiple) boards is as low as $5.

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