This R200 computer is the best gadget for hackers

We have written quite a few articles about the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi 3 variants and their uses in entertainment, IoT applications, and home security.

While the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and B+ are powerful and compact, they can be priced at around R600 in South Africa – which may make them too expensive for more modest and experimental projects.

This is where the Pi 3’s cheaper and smaller counterpart comes in – the Raspberry Pi Zero W.

The chipset is the size of a RAM module and was first launched two years ago for only $10. In South Africa, this has translated to a retail price of around R200.

Despite its comparably low price, the Pi Zero W is an impressive piece of hardware which is a must-have for aspiring hackers and DIY enthusiasts.

Tiny but powerful

This useful piece of hardware is similar to a Raspberry Pi 3 in many ways, including its full 40-pin GPIO layout which makes it compatible with the same breakout boards as the more expensive chipset.

It sports a single-core 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and does not include any built-in storage, relying instead on a microSD card for operating system installation.

When it comes to running software, the Pi Zero W supports a wide variety of operating systems, including Raspbian, Kodi, and various Linux-based interfaces.

This, paired with the chipset’s ARMv6 processor, makes the Pi Zero W an extremely useful gadget for any project.

The device is powered over a microUSB connection and includes a Mini HDMI port along with a composite video header for display output.

Output connections can be wired up from the unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header or connected via the second microUSB OTG port on the device.

Most importantly, however, the Raspberry Pi Zero W boasts both 802.11n Wi-Fi capabilities and Bluetooth 4.1 support. This turns the device into a mobile chipset which can be used in a variety of applications.

Below are the full specifications of the Raspberry Pi Zero W.

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Raspberry Pi Zero W
CPU 1GHz single-core BCM2835
RAM 512MB
Storage microSD
Ports 1x Mini HDMI, 1x microUSB (Power), 1x microUSB (OTG)
GPIO HAT-compatible 40-pin header
Connectors Composite video header, CSI camera connector
Wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Dimensions 65 x 30 x 5 mm
Price R208

Endless projects

The beauty of a Raspberry Pi chipset is that you can use it to build anything you want, provided you have the coding and hardware knowledge required.

The Raspberry Pi Zero W can be used for a number of conventional projects, many of which do not require much technical knowledge.

Possible projects for a Raspberry Pi Zero W include everything from smart speakers and media players, to DIY cellphones and drones.

With the device packing so much hardware capability in such a small form factor, the possibilities are almost endless.

The low price of the Pi Zero W also makes it ideal for smart home installations, as multiple devices could communicate wirelessly to each other over the same Wi-Fi network and be configured remotely.

Whether you end up using it to build a portable console with emulators installed or create a penetration testing tool for bypassing a system security, the Raspberry Pi Zero W is a great chip to have on hand.

Now read: Windows 10 can now run on a Raspberry Pi

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This R200 computer is the best gadget for hackers