The ESP32 Thing is chip-maker Espressif’s follow up to their hit from a few years ago, the ESP8266, a microprocessor with built-in Wi-Fi for just a few bucks. For just a few bucks more, the ESP32 adds a lot more horsepower, pins, and built-in sensors. And as before, Sparkfun has put it on a breakout board to make it easier to explore.
The ESP32 is being developed “in the open.” Version 1.0 of the developer software was released at the end of 2016, and rapid updates are still rolling in, with code changes every few days. Beginners may find developing for the ESP32 more intimidating than better-known boards.
The ESP32 Thing can be programmed with the common and easy Arduino editor, but to unlock the advanced features of the board, you’ll need to use a more old-fashioned coding tool, like Eclipse or command like “make”. For those with the developer chops, there’s a lot of power in this mid-priced chip.