Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W vs Radxa Zero – Features and benchmarks comparison

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W vs Radxa ZeroThe just-announced Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is not the first quad-core Arm SBC following Raspberry Pi Zero form factor, and back in 2017, the Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero was introduced for $15, and the Radxa Zero was unveiled last June with an Amlogic S905Y2 SoC with price starting at $15 as well.

With its Allwinner H2+ quad-core Cortex-A7 processor clocked at 1 GHz and a price bumped up to $23, the Banana Pi M2 Zero has mostly become irrelevant, but the Radxa Zero may still be considered by some people with a 1.8 GHz processor, and options for up to 4GB RAM, so let’s see how features compare against Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, followed by some benchmark numbers.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W vs Raxda Zero – Features

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W
Radxa Zero
Raspberry Pi RP3A0 with Broadcom BCM2710A1, 512MB RAM
Amlogic S905Y2
Quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1 GHz (overclockable to 1.2 GHz)
Quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.8/2.0 GHz
VideoCore IV
Arm Mali-G31 MP2
512MB DDR2
512MB to 4GB LPDDR4
MicroSD card
MicroSD card
optional 8GB to 128GB eMMC flash
Video & Audio Output
Mini HDMI up to 1080p60
Micro HDMI up to 4Kp60
MIPI CSI-2 camera connector
Decoding - H.264 and MPEG-4 up to 1080p30
Encoding - H.264 up to 1080p30
Decoding - H.265 & VP9 up to 4Kp75, AVS2 & H.264 up to 4Kp30
Encoding - H.265, H.264 up to 1080p60
802.11 b/g/n WiFi 4, Bluetooth 4.2 LE with PCB antenna
802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 & Bluetooth 4.0 ( Ampak AP6212) OR
802.11n/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 ( Ampak AP6256)
Micro USB OTG port
1x USB-C 2.0 OTG port
1x USB-C 3.0 host port
40-pin GPIO header (unpopulated)
Optional color-coded 40-pin GPIO header
Power Supply
5V/2.5A (recommended)
via Micro USB port
5V/1A (minimum) via USB-C port
65 x 30 mm
$15 to $85 depending on options
Release date
28 October 2021
June 2021
Official operating system
Raspberry Pi OS
Android 9.0, Ubuntu 20.04, Debian 10
Target markets
Novices, education, makers, industrial
with extensive documentation and education materials
Makers and industrial
with documentation in a wiki.

If we just look at the comparison table, the Radxa Zero is equivalent or superior in almost every way, except for people wanting to use the Raspberry Pi camera. We also need to look into the details as Radxa Zero comes in many forms, while there’s only one Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W model.

Radxa Zero variants
Radxa Zero variants

The RS102-D0H is the closest we have to Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, and it’s still better with the 2 GHz processor, support for 4Kp60 video decoding and output, and the USB 3.0 host port while lacking the MIPI CSI camera. It also sells for the same $15 price tag, but the distribution network is not as extensive as for the Raspberry Pi boards, and some of the SKUs may not be available, especially the $15 model… For instance, Ameridroid is only listing parts with 1GB RAM or more ($21.95), and the next batch is scheduled for early December, while every model is sold out on Allnet.china except for the  RS102-DE16T (2GB/16GB/no GPIO header) for $45.80, and RS102-D4E32H with 4GB RAM, 32GB flash, GPIO header for $55.80. In all fairness, the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is not available worldwide just yet, and I can see the board is only up for pre-order on Sparkfun with a limit to one per person, and no availability ETA. So each board has its own supply issues, and to some extend Radxa Zero has the advantage of being in (limited?) stock for some of the most expensive parts.

While most CNX Software readers will probably have no problem using either board, novices may want to start with the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W since there are more resources to get started, and they will be more course materials for educators.

Zero 2 W vs Raxda Zero Benchmarks

I’ll use benchmarks results from sbc-bench script acquired during my Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W review, while the numbers for Radxa Zero come from sbc-bench’s results “database”.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W @ 1 GHz
Radxa Zero @ 1.8 GHz
(Radxa/Pi Zero)
1302.7 MB/s
1600 MB/s
1635.5 MB/s
5370 MB/s
AES-256 (16 KB block)

Memory bandwidth is higher, 21% higher for memcpy probably due to the LPDDR4 used in the Radxa board (vs DDR2 in Pi 0 2), and much higher for memset, although I’m not sure why it’s that much, and comments are welcome. 7-zip is “only”  51% faster despite the 80% higher CPU frequency, while AES-256 is almost 28 times faster. That’s not a mistake, and can be easily be explained as Armv8 crypto extensions are not part of Broadcom BCM2xxx processors used in Raspberry Pi boards, albeit found in most other 64-bit Arm processors on the market. It can impact any using encryption including the use of VPN browsing.

As we’ve seen in the review, the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W can easily be overclocked to 1.2 GHz gaining 20% in CPU performance, but it does not affect memory bandwidth (memcpy). The Amlogic S905Y2 might also be able to run up to 2.0 with proper cooling. I’ll update the table above with graphics benchmarks once/if I have data, but I’d expect the recent Arm Mali-G31 MP2 to perform better than the older VideoCore IV GPU, to what extent I don’t know yet.

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27 Replies to “Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W vs Radxa Zero – Features and benchmarks comparison”

  1. The main reason to use a Pi Zero would in my oponion be some where power consumption is important. Looking at the specs I would assume that the A53 consumes about 20% more power than the A7. But with the A7 running under serious load and the A53 running at half load on 1 core the comparison seems off.

    One application I know of is the pypilot. There the extra power might result in extra features which are currently not feasible with an A7. However the more important feature would be the power consumption. Since the Pi Zero comes with 0,5GB instead of 1GB memory the extra power consumption of the SBC might be neglectable.

    I think, next to the performance, the power consumption under near zero load might be a very important feature for the pi zero 2. When using under low load the extra kWh used might make it necessary to invest in extra batteries, a solar panel or a windmill in the case of pypilot (typically it runs 2 days straight, optimally without recharging the batteries). It just might be enough to replace the pi zero by something more recent, like a A35 or a A55.

    Looking at the specs the pi zero 2 seems only optimized for price. I still can’t say if the low power consumption has been preserved (and unfortunately I haven’t been able to get one with the current low stock).

    1. > Looking at the specs I would assume that the A53 consumes

      The ‘specs’ or especially the ‘2.5A power requirement’ is BS. Jeff Gerling did some measurements and he was not able to let the board consume more than ~2.2W (though with a rather lightweight load: stress-ng with default settings and no VPU/GPU usage in parallel). If power consumption is a concern for you but you need the extra performance I would think about locking down cpufreq to 600 MHz on the board. Currently preparing some measurements for my Zero 2 that is on its way…

      1. At 600 MHz and with only one core enabled, the Pi Zero 2 W might as well consume less than the Pi Zero W, while delivering slightly more performance.

        The 2.5A recommendation might be to sell more power adapters, or they just want to be covered with some people connecting one hard drive to the device.

      2. Some other site claims an A35 is 10% more effcient than a A7 and 35% more effcient than an A53.

        This means the A53 core uses about 20% more than the A7 core.
        But this is without memory and peripherals.

        1. The original Pi Zero is using an Arm11 core, not a Cortex-A7 core. Not sure about the efficiency of the former.

        2. A53 is nearly a decade old but is there any return on investment to producing a ‘Zero’ board with an A35 such as the RK3326?
          My understanding was these are so cheap because Broadcom/Raspberry Pi were able to retool whatever manufacturing they had left over from the superseded RPi 3.

    2. > The main reason to use a Pi Zero would in my oponion be some where power consumption is important

      It’s the opposite. If the other board is 1.3 to 27 times faster depending on the use cases, it means you can significantly lower its frequency and generate considerable power savings this way, and even reduce the peak power consumption, which will also bring more stability.

    1. The cheapest one you can buy is $46. The $15 512GB version is vaporware and unavailable anywhere. We have been trying to buy a batch for testing for over 6 months and its not available to anyone except youtubers and press members it seems (who seem to get them sent for free)

      I did once see the $15 version on amazon. The seller wanted $49 for it and only had 3 in stock and when asked was unable to get more

  2. I am happy with my quad core Orange pi zero(bought 2-3 years back). It can be powered using a power bank with 2.4amp output rather than my quad core pi(rated 2.4) which sometime shows under powered even with 3amp power supply.

    1. Most probably the cable you’re using between RPi and powerbank sucks (unfortunately this applies to +99.9% of all Micro USB cables on this planet).

      Vast majority of RPi/SBC users are not aware that amperage ratings aren’t the problem if those more powerful thingies are powered with something as silly as 5V… but voltage drops are the issue due to contact/cable resistance: https://www.cnx-software.com/2017/04/27/selecting-a-micro-usb-cable-to-power-development-boards-or-charge-phones/

      1. Indeed right. Another is low power auto shut down function of power bank. A headache while using pi zero or other low power devices. connection is cut off while not much processes are running. Always have to put something else on other port to keep it alive. Other than that 512mb ram of pi limits the use to retrogaming and headless projects. And that is the target of pi zero. But power supply needed is 2.4amp that’s a bit disappointing. When mostly proper power source option for pi are not easily available everywhere. Also available are not cheap either. Thus will increase the cost of project.

        1. > pi zero… power supply needed is 2.4amp that’s a bit disappointing

          No, that’s just plain BS spread by RPi Trading Ltd. most probably to sell their Micro USB wall warts for RPi 3B/3B+ together with every Zero 2. Read through the comments here to get a realistic idea what this new board is able to consume…

    2. Same. I have a couple of them as well. And if one needs more grunt, there’s the One plus.

      Funny that the Orange Pi Zero family isn’t mentioned anywhere in the recent Rpi Zero 2 W articles.

      1. The Orange Pi Zero has a different form factor. If I start mentioning all small Arm Linux boards the list would be really long.

  3. Not the same board format but how does it compare, to still on sale, 512mb Orange Pi Zero plus H5 , 1GB H616

  4. As with all other SBCs I have purchased over the years, price (including shipping!), popularity (and therefore community support), and value (best bang for the buck) is important. Prices have become unreasonable for my preferred ‘Orange Pi’ choice, so I also narrowed down on these two board choices. The Radxa is clearly the best ‘tech’ choice, but availability is the problem: AliExpress seems to lack the low-end models. So I have opted for the 2nd choice, which gives me reasonable prices and community support, and the option to purchase now.

    1. I have to say that the best community support is the Orange Pi and other Allwinner boards due to the heavy lifiting of the #linux-sunxi developers and the folks at Armbian. The best vendor supported boards have to be the Odroid boards from Hardkernel.

      The Raspberry pi board’s main feature is their relative ubiquity. Their vendor support is poor and their community is more of a liability than a benefit. You can design a great project using some other board and some water head will complain that you should have used an Rpi. They’re almost as bad as the “why didn’t you use an NE555” people.

      1. It is worth remembering Andahammer for OEM

        ARMWorks has ceased web site retail sales. The shopping cart is disabled until we figure a better way to display. The web site will stay up without a shopping cart as a product information source for OEM customers. Our retail inventory is going to Amazon for Prime Fulfillment and the links will be on the product pages. Our business model is changing to work with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufactures) who buy in volume or need customized systems, with shipping direct from FriendlyELEC in Guangzhou. “

  5. Now all I’d need after this post is a power consumption of these benchmarks, maybe some others as well, just to have a good performance per watt indication.

  6. Yesterday I looks for Radxa distributors, but the public list did not seem up-to-date.
    Radxa has just answered they have three distributors now:

    • Allnet for EU
    • Ameridroid for North America
    • 3 Logic for Russia
  7. I use my radxa zero with the motorola lapdock Jean, it’s a beast for light desktop and emulating x86 and x86_64 games too. I have some demos of that on my channel microlinux.

  8. I only found out about Radxa Zero while looking into Raspberry Pi 2 Zero W. I ordered a RPi 2 Zero W to create my own dashcam (I had a cheap one that broke). Radxa Zero 2 is not a bad SBC, but it has too many variants and no CSI interface. I have waaay too many SBCs that don’t do anything (XU4 and RPi 3B+ are just gathering dust). RPi 4 is out of reach and second hand ones are waaay too expensive. On the other hand I love the fact that SBCs are still being produced. The more, the happier we are.

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