Banana Pi BPI-M4 Zero Allwinner H618 SBC follows Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W form factor

Banana Pi BPI-M4 Zero is another Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W alternative with an Allwinner H618 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB LPDDR4, 8GB eMMC flash, mini HDMI video output, two USB-C ports, WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 wireless connectivity and the usual 40-pin GPIO header as well as a 24-pin “Misc” FPC header.

It succeeds the Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero launched in 2017 with an Allwinner H2+ quad-core Cortex A7 processor with basically the same form factor but a more powerful 64-bit Arm processor, more memory (2GB vs 512MB), built-in eMMC flash, dual-band WiFi 5, and the 24-pin MIPI CSI connector is now a “Misc” connector with USB 2.0, Fast Ethernet, and other I/Os.

Banana Pi BPI-M4 Zero

Banana Pi BPI-M4 Zero specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H618
    • CPU – Quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.5GHz with 1MB L2 cache
    • GPU – Arm Mali-G31 MP2 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.0/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1
    • VPU
      • VP9-10 Profile-2 up to 6Kp30
      • H.265 HEVC MP-10 @ L5.1 up to 6Kp30
      • H.264 AVC HP @ L5.1 up to 4Kp30
      • H.264 MVC up to 1080p60
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, microSD card slot
  • Video & Audio Output – Mini HDMI 2.0a up to 4Kp60
  • Connectivity – Dual-band WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 with external antenna connector
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 Type-C port including one OTG capable
  • Expansion
    • 40-pin Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO header with I2C, SPI, UART, up to 28x GPIOs, etc…
    • 24-pin Misc FPC connector with USB 2.0, 100Mbps Ethernet, IR Rx, up to 9x GPIOs, UART, I2C, PWM, PCM/I2S
  • Debugging – 3-pin debug UART (3.3V)
  • Misc – Power and Act LEDs; FEL and Reset buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via USB Type-C port
  • Dimensions – 65 x 30 mm

Allwinner H618 Raspberry Pi Zero alternative

Banana Pi says they will provide a Ubuntu Desktop image for the board but have yet to provide a link in the board’s wiki. It may not matter that much because besides being an alternative to the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W (unless you want to use a MIPI CSI camera), it’s also a close carbon copy of the Orange Pi Zero 2W with the only difference between the 8GB eMMC flash used instead of a 16MB SPI flash, and the Orange Pi board have memory options from 512MB to 4GB. Nevertheless, that means that software for the Orange Pi board (Debian, Ubuntu, Android TV) should also work on the Banana Pi Board with minimal to no modifications.

The Banana Pi BPI-M4 can be purchased now on Aliexpress for $28.90 plus shipping. For reference, the Orange Pi Zero 2W (2GB RAM) is available on Amazon for $26.99 and even lower prices on Aliexpress.

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2 Replies to “Banana Pi BPI-M4 Zero Allwinner H618 SBC follows Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W form factor”

  1. I guess that at $28.90 it will have a hard time against Radxa’s Zero 3W.
    For $31 you get same amount of RAM but 16GB eMMC, a stronger processor, better WiFi, USB 3.0, etc.
    It’s major advantage at the moment is that the AliExpress shipping is much cheaper compared to Arace, where the shipping adds ~ 10$ more compared with AE shipping.

    It’s interesting to note that while AE shipping price increases with each unit, while Arace shipping stays the same, at least for 3-4 units, so if you buy more than one unit, even this price advantage for BPI diminishes.

  2. There are quite a a few boards/peripherals available to extend the Raspberry Pi Zero boards by using pogo pins. So far it appears that only the Mango Pi MQ Quad and Mango Pi MQ Pro appear to have taken the extra step of placing pads in the appropriate location to take advantage of these.

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