Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W and Zero W features comparison

Rapsberry Pi Zero W vs Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W quad-core board has just launched, and in this post, we’ll look at how the new board compares to the original Raspberry Pi Zero W SBC. From the photos above they are nearly identical, but looking at the detailed specifications, we’ll find some interesting differences.

Raspberry Pi Zero W
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W
Broadcom BCM2835
Raspberry Pi RP3A0 with Broadcom BCM2710A1, 512MB RAM
Single-core Arm11 @ 1 GHz
Quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1 GHz (overclockable to 1.2 GHz)
VideoCore IV
512MB DDR2 PoP
512MB DDR2 wire-bond
MicroSD card
Video & Audio Output
MIPI CSI-2 camera connector
Decoding - H.264 and MPEG-4 up to 1080p30
Encoding - H.264 up to 1080p30
802.11 b/g/n WiFi 4, Bluetooth 4.1 LE with PCB antenna
802.11 b/g/n WiFi 4, Bluetooth 4.2 LE with PCB antenna, but improved design
Micro USB OTG port
40-pin GPIO header (unpopulated)
Power Supply
65 x 30 x 13 mm
Release date
28 February 2017
28 October 2021
Recommended operating system
Raspberry Pi OS

So the main reasons to get a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W over a Raspberry Pi Zero W is the extra performance enabled by the quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and possibly better wireless performance. The downsides are at the new board costs $5 more, and power consumption might be higher, but this would have to be tested under various scenarios. Another reason you may end up getting the Zero 2 W board that is not shown in the specifications is the recent shortage of chips, so the new board may be more likely to be in stock at your local distributor.

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18 Replies to “Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W and Zero W features comparison”

  1. > 40nm … the new board may be more likely to be in stock at your local distributor

    Do you have a confirmation that BCM2710A1 is made in 28nm?

    1. I had sent an email about that, but I did not get any confirmation or contradiction yet.
      Maybe I made the wrong assumption here.

      1. Thank you, looks reasonable to take RPi 3 leftovers and repackage them for the Zero 2 🙂

        I hope Jean-Luc will do a short Zero 2 benchmark also with cpufreq locked down to 600 MHz since I would believe the Zero 2 will be a lot more efficient at the lowest DVFS opp.

  2. It’s really nice they invented the quad core small computer. Have been waiting for a 4core small scale computer for years, maybe with poe.

    1. > 2.5A at that size?

      Why do you believe in these numbers? Seriously: that’s the same SoC die as on the RPi 3 but there’s neither an internal USB hub nor an USB Ethernet controller. Basic idle consumption at (below) 100mA seems reasonable without wireless.

      The A53s fully loaded at 1GHz will add probably 500mA. Wireless stuff will need some mA, the VideoCore IV being busy encoding/decoding video as well (no idea how much) and an USB2 consumer might want to pull up to another 500mA.

      1. > the VideoCore IV being busy encoding/decoding video as well (no idea how much)

        According to their documentation ‘video playback (H.264)’ means 30mA-250mA (consumption difference of a whole RPi 3B vs. idle) so if they manage to let this thing idle at 100mA we’re talking about max consumption slightly above 1A if the Zero is not supposed to power other stuff (like an USB connected SSD in our use case here).

        The 2.5A are written to sell RPi Trading Ltd’s Micro USB PSUs which will at least result in somewhat stable 5V arriving at the board.

        1. Yeah, and just because they want a 2.4A supply doesn’t mean they will USE it all … presumably rPi just decided it needed more than 1.2A. Since it’s going from single to quad core I don’t see why that would be a surprise. And that is at max workload.

          Idle should be much lower draw. +I am sure you can limit clock speeds and maybe disable cores or components. If you can overclock it you can underclock it 😀

          1. The original power supply was just a badged versíon of another companies device, so yes you are right, it is just to sell more RPI stuff.

  3. As an update of the Pi Zero to get rid of RPi3 chips long term, it makes some sense.

    A true successor would have 2 GB of memory and switch to USB-C ports. 2 GB should be enough for most barebones desktop usage, LibreELEC, and anything else it’s capable of running. USB-C ports can replace both micro-USB and mini-HDMI.

    Switch to Cortex-A55 on a new node, and it can stay that way for the next 10 years until magic 3D chips become cheap.

    1. > switch to USB-C ports

      This might happen once the truckloads of old RPi 3B/3B+ PSUs RPi Trading Ltd. is sitting on are all sold. That’s also the main reason for the weird 2.5A ‘power requirement’ they write in datasheets and on their website.

    2. There are third-parties that build Pi Zeros into their product, changing ports would have been an issue down the line for those that incorporate it into their design.

      I don’t know that 2 GB would have fit UNDER the CPU layer inside the SoC.

      For those thinking otherwise, the silicon on the Zero 2W is new, the die for the CPU is BASED on the RPi 3 chip, but it is a new chip (two dies sandwiched inside one SoC package).

  4. Love this. But I recently considered and did NOT buy a Zero W because of … the ports. Don’t want to buy and manage mini HDMI/USB adapters each time I plug it in. Instead got a pi model A.

    The A splits the difference between Zero and Model 3. Only 512 RAM and 1USB port, but full size ports and the processor from the Model 3B. Lower power draw also a minor bonus if you didn’t need the hardware from the 3B.

    1. It’s a quad core computer with wifi and bluetooth for $15, and a lot faster than the old W. What’s not to like?

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