The Raspberry Pi has become almost synonymous with single-board computers today. The $35 computer has amassed enthusiasts around the globe to make some really cool projects. While the Raspberry Pi 3 should be well-suited for most of us, some of us may want a more powerful Raspberry Pi alternative or want to try something outside of the mainstream community. The ever-growing popularity of Raspberry Pi makes sure that it hogs the limelight pretty much all the time, so much so that people aren’t even aware that there are some great Raspberry Pi 3 alternatives available in the market today. So, if you are someone who has been looking for an alternative to Raspberry Pi 3, we have you covered.
Best Raspberry Pi 3 Alternative in 2019
Before we discuss Raspberry Pi 3 alternatives, let’s do a recap of the actual Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ specifications, so that you can understand the disparities between these products and choose one for you. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ comes with a Broadcom BCM2837B0 SoC clocked at 1.4 GHz (ARMv8) and 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM. It has inbuilt support for WiFI and Bluetooth 4.2, supports microSD storage and has 4 USB 2.0 ports. Now that you are familiar with the specs of the Raspberry Pi 3, here are the 10 best Raspberry Pi 3 alternatives you can buy.
List of Best Raspberry Pi 3 Alternatives
1. Raspberry Pi 4
Raspberry Pi 4 has been released and it’s going to solve all the performance woes you had with Raspberry Pi 3. The Raspberry Pi 4 is not just an incremental upgrade, but brings a whole new powerful processor, more RAM, and a multitude of ports. Talking about the specs, Raspberry Pi 4 is packed with a quad-core Broadcom SoC clocked at 1.5 GHz, but this time it has Cortex A72 core which is known for its great performance and energy efficiency. Also, now you get an option for 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB of DDR4 RAM. That’s amazing, right? Wait, it’s not over, now RPi 4 can output two 4K monitors at once without breaking any sweat.
Now talking about the external ports, you have two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. Apart from that, you have the usual Ethernet port, two micro HDMI ports, and a type C port for power supply. For communications, there is WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac with support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz band. Another surprise addition is that now you have the latest Bluetooth 5.0. That’s a long list of awesome hardware packed into this tiny shell. But wait, RPi 4 costs the same as RPi 3 and starts at $35. So without any hesitation, go ahead and buy Raspberry Pi 4.
Buy from Raspberry: Starts at $35
2. Asus Tinker Board S
Asus Tinker Board S quite similar to Raspberry Pi 3 and offers some great specifications for the price. On the hardware side of things, it is equipped with a quad-core Rockchip RK3288 SoC clocked at 1.8 GHz, Mali-T764 GPU, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 4 USB 2.0 ports, GPIO connectivity, and an HDMI port. The Tinker Board S comes with a custom OS named TinkerboardOS, which is based on Debian. The headline feature is the support for 4K video playback for videos encoded with H.264 or H.265. It also supports WiFi and Bluetooth 4.
The Tinker Board S beats Raspberry Pi 3 by miles in benchmarks, thanks to its more powerful processor and an extra gig of RAM. The Tinker Board S brings support for 4K videos, whereas Raspberry Pi 3 Model B supports (only!) 1080p videos. It also brings support for 192k/24bit audio playback support compared to Pi’s 48k/16bit. It consumes a little more power than Pi, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem because it’s very marginal. The Tinker Board S is also HDMI CEC hardware ready and comes with an additional 2-pin power-on header, along with support for low voltage input detection.
The only drawback of this product is the lack of a manufacture supported community. This makes it hard for users to get support from other users. For a product which is made for tinkering and exploring, the lack of a real community is a bit hard to swallow.
Buy from Amazon: $91.99
3. Banana Pi M4
The Banana Pi M4 is the latest 64-bit single-board Banana Pi and runs Android, Debian, Ubuntu among several other operating systems. It’s packed with Realtek RTD1395 ARM Cortex-A53 processor, a Mali 470 MP4 GPU, coupled with 2 GB of DDR4 RAM. It has on-board 8 GB of eMMC memory and also supports expansion via microSD card. Besides that, it has four USB 2.0 ports and one Type C port. Further, the M4 is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2. On multimedia front, the M4 is housed with 3.5mm jack and an HDMI port which are great additions. And the best part is that it can also play 4K and 1080p content.
The Banana Pi M4 and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B aren’t much different when it comes to processing power, but an extra gigabyte of RAM, Type C connectivity, and the ability to play 4K content edges Banana Pi M4 over Raspberry Pi 3. It also comes with an 8GB of inbuilt storage, whereas Pi 3 doesn’t come with any onboard storage. With its cheap price it is one of the best alternatives to Raspeberry Pi 3 on the market right now.
Buy from AliExpress: $38
ODROID-XU4 is the latest offering from the Korean company, Hardkernel. Launched in 2016, it comes with a Samsung Exynos5422 Cortex-A15 CPU clocked @ 2GHz, Mali T628 GPU and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. It supports microSD card expansion, has 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, IR receiver and an HDMI port for audio out. Just like Raspberry Pi 3, it can run Android and various Linux distros.
Both, the Raspberry Pi 3 and ODROID-XU4 come with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7, but the extra clock speed and RAM in ODROID-XU4 mean that it comfortably blows away the Raspberry Pi 3, as far as specifications are concerned. Another advantage of ODROID-XU4 is that it supports 4K videos whereas the Pi 3 supports only 1080p videos. However, the ODROID-XU4 doesn’t come with onboard WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3.5mm jack, so the Raspberry Pi 3 gets extra points on the connectivity front.
Buy from Amazon: $89.95
5. BeagleBoard X15
Launched in late 2016, the BeagleBoard X15 is produced by the semiconductor giant Texas Instruments. It is based on Texas Instruments’ Sitara processor clocked @ 1.5 GHz (Cortex A-15), a PowerVR GPU and 2GB of RAM. It comes with 4GB of onboard storage and supports expansion by microSD card. The BeagleBoard X15 can run Fedora, Android, Ubuntu and lots of other OSes. It also supports 1080p videos at 60 fps and includes USB 3.0 compatible ports.
The BeagleBoard X15 is an absolute beast that beats Raspberry Pi 3 far and wide in almost every aspect. It comes with a more powerful processor and 1GB of extra RAM compared to Raspberry Pi 3. It also includes 4GB of onboard memory, whereas the Pi 3 has none. Also, it has not one, but two ethernet ports compared to Pi’s one port.
All these powerful specifications mean that this BeagleBoard comes with a hefty price tag of about $259. Of course, the BeagleBoard X15 is not for everyone, but if you’re a power user, look no further than here. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative from the same brand, you should check out BeagleBone Black.
Buy from Digikey: $269
6. OrangePi PC Plus
OrangePi Plus 2 is a single board open-source computer which comes with an H3 Quad-core (Cortex-A7) CPU and a Mali 400 GPU. The GPU brings support for OpenGL ES 2.0. On the connectivity side of things, it can connect to the Internet via RJ45 ethernet cable and wireless LAN. It supports video capture up to 1080 @ 30fps. It has 3 USB 2.0 hosts and 1 USB OTG. Lack of support for USB 3.0 is a bit of a bummer, though. Similar to Raspberry Pi 3, the OrangePi PC Plus can run Android, Ubuntu, and Debian, etc.
The OrangePi Plus 2 packs 1 GB of RAM, the same as the Pi 3 and has 8 GB of internal storage whereas the Pi 3 has none. Also, it supports 4K videos while the Pi 3 supports only full-HD videos. The Raspberry Pi 3 comes with inbuilt support for Bluetooth while the OrangePi Plus 2 doesn’t, though.
Note: An upgraded Orange Pi 3 has been announced with a better processor, more ports and 4GB of RAM. However, it’s not available to buy right now. We will update the article with purchase links as and when the product becomes available.
Buy from Amazon: $34.99
7. Nano PC-T4
NanoPC-T4 is the latest single-board computer developed by FriendlyArm. It is powered by Dual-Core Cortex-A72 which is clocked up to 2.0GHz and Quad-Core Cortex-A53 which is clocked up to 1.5GHz. Besides that, it has 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 16GB of eMMC flash storage. The Nano PC-T4 also supports microSD expansion, WiFi, Bluetooth and has an onboard microphone. It can run Android, Debian, Ubuntu Core, and its in-house developed FriendlyCore operating system.
Apart from that, it includes 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, and a Type C port. It also features an HDMI (with 4K at 60fps support) and Gigabit Ethernet port. Other multimedia ports include LVDS, LCD, MIPI-DSI and the 3.5mm audio Jack. NanoPC-T4 CPU is clocked at much higher frequency as the Raspberry Pi 3’s CPU so it performs much better than Pi 3. One additional advantage it offers over the Pi 3 is that it comes with an inbuilt storage of 16GB. Considering all the points, the Nano PC-T4 seems a much powerful and superior alternative to Raspberry Pi 3.
Buy from Amazon: $159.90
8. Pine ROCKPro64
Started from a Kickstarter crowdfunding in 2015, Pine has raised over $1.4 million for the first version of their single-board computer. The Pine ROCKPro64 comes in a single variant with 4GB of LPDRR4 RAM and a slot for eMMC storage. The mini-computer is powered by Rockchip RK3399 Hexa-Core (dual ARM Cortex A72 and quad ARM Cortex A53) processor and MALI T-860 Quad-Core GPU. The GPU provides support for OpenGL ES 2.0 for enhanced video acceleration. It has an integrated display with support for HDMI and also houses a Gigabit Ethernet port. Currently, you can run Android, Ubuntu, and Debian on Pine ROCKPro64.
It also includes 4K video support while the Pi only does 1080p. The Pine ROCKPro64 also takes over in connectivity front with 4 USB ports including 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, and a Type C port. There are also expansion ports for Bluetooth and WiFi which can be purchased separately from its official website. Overall, Pine ROCKPro64 packs a punch for the price offered and is a viable if not better alternative to the Raspberry Pi 3.
9. Nano Pi M4
NanoPi M4 is another 64-bit single-board computer from the good folks over at FriendlyARM. It houses the Rockchip RK3399 quad-core (Cortex-A53) CPU clocked at 1.5GHz, coupled with a Mali-T864 GPU and up to 4GB of RAM. The board comes with onboard WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity but doesn’t have any internal storage. It, however, does feature a microSD card slot for expandable storage.
In terms of I/O ports, the Nano Pi M4 features four USB 3.0 Type-A ports and a USB Type-C port with support for USB 2.0 OTG and power input. There’s also a 3.5mm dual-channel headphone jack and native gigabit Ethernet support. The board support video output of up to [email protected], which goes a long way in making it a better choice over the Raspberry Pi 3. The board supports Android, Debian, and various other Linux distros.
Buy from Amazon: Starts at $79.99
10. LattePanda Alpha 864
Now if you’re looking for a great Raspberry Pi 3 alternative that can run Windows 10, then you should consider getting the LattePanda Alpha 864 – a compact board that packs in a dual-core 7th gen Intel Core m3 processor clocked at 2.6GHz, coupled with 8GB LPDDR3 RAM and 64GB eMMC storage.
The board is also equipped with Intel HD615 graphics and features all the connectivity options you’ll need, including WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 and Gigabit Ethernet. In terms of I/O, the LattePanda Alpha 864 features three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 Type-C port, and an HDMI port. In case you don’t wish to run Windows 10 on the system, the board also gives you the option to run Ubuntu.
Buy from DFRobot: $409
|Raspberry Pi 4||1.5GHz Quad-Core (ARM Cortex A72)||Broadcom VideoCore VI||1GB/2GB/4GB||microSD card slot||2xUSB 2.0, 2xUSB 3.0||$35|
|Asus Tinker Board S||1.8GHz Quad-Core (ARM Cortex A53)||Mali-T764||2GB||microSD card slot||4x USB 2.0||$91.99|
|Banana Pi M4||Realtek RTD1395 ARM Cortex-A53 processor||Mali 470 MP4 GPU||2GB||8 GB of eMMC, microSD card slot||4x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB Type-c, 1x HDMI||$38|
|Odroid-XU4||2GHz Samsung Exynos5422 (ARM Cortex A15)||Mali T628||2GB||microSD card slot||4x USB ports||$58.90|
|BeagleBoard X15||1.5GHz Dual-Core (ARM Cortex A15)||PowerVR||2GB||4GB onboard storage, microSD card slot||3x USB 3.0 Type-A ports, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A port||$259|
|OrangePi PC Plus||1.6GHz Quad-Core (ARM Cortex A7)||Mali 400||1GB||8GB onboard storage, microSD card slot||3x USB 2.0 Type-A ports, 1x USB OTG port||$34.99|
|Nano PC-T4||2.0GHZ Dual-Core Cortex-A72 and 1.5GHz Quad-Core Cortex-A53||Mali-T864||4GB||16GB onboard storage, microSD card slot||USB 2.0x2,USB 3.0x1,USB Type-Cx1, HDMI, Ethernet||$159|
|Pine ROCKPro64||Rockchip RK3399 Hexa-Core Processor||MALI T-860||4GB||eMMC module slot and microSD card slot||2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB-C||$100|
|Nano Pi M4||1.5GHz Quad-Core (ARM Cortex A53)||Mali-T864||4GB||microSD card slot||4x USB 3.0 Type-A ports, 1x USB Type-C port||$65|
|LattePanda Alpha 864||2.6GHz Dual-Core Intel Core m3||Intel HD 615||8GB||64GB onboard storage, microSD card slot||3x USB 3.0 Type-A ports, 1x USB 3.0 Type-C port||$409|
Try One of These Raspberry Pi 3 Alternatives
Every year a different company releases a potential “Raspberry Pi killer”, but the Raspberry Pi still manages to dominate the market because of a single reason — community support. Most of the alternatives offer better hardware specifications for a similar price, but the million-dollar question remains: Is it compelling enough to make you switch? Well, if there are any raspberry pi 3 killer its own this list. So let us know which is your favorite Raspberry Pie 3 alternative by writing in the comments section below.