The Raspberry Pi replacement Banana Pi is crowdsourcing ideas from its Twitter followers for updates to its BPI-R3 router board. You can see a much smaller form factor in Tweets. tweet announcement Board as BPI-R3 Mini.
Banana Pi team product in pipeline, BPI-R3 mini board, something like this or have any good suggestions???#RaspberryPi #Router #Nas #IoT #4G #5G #harddisk pic.twitter.com/ ZXhVUSDWGgDecember 14, 2022
Banana Pi’s BPI-R3 Mini is expected in 2023. So the price is a guess, but it’s probably cheaper than its predecessor’s $90. It looks like the BPI-R3 Mini is currently in the early stages of development. We just confirmed the number of renders and Banana Pi is looking for input from the community.
The BPI-R3 Mini’s form factor is completely different from the Raspberry Pi. Shaped like a plus sign, the top and bottom edges of the board are occupied by ports. At the bottom are two 2.5G Ethernet ports and one USB-C. At the top, there is only one USB 2 port and a nano SIM slot.
The most interesting part is on the back center of the board. Two M.2 sockets, one for NVMe SSD (M.2 Key M) and one for 4G/5G module (hence the nano SIM slot).
Again, I’m not sure about the exact specs. However, the MT7986 SoC seems to strongly suggest that this is really a mini version of the Banana Pi BPI-R3.
|SoCs||MediaTek MT7986 (Filogic 830)|
|row 1 – cell 0||Quad-core ARM Cortex A53+MT7531|
|sheep||2G DDR RAM|
|row 4 – cell 0||M.2 NVMe|
|Communication network||2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi|
|row 6 – cell 0||2 x 2.5GB Ethernet|
|row 7 – cell 0||M.2 4g/5G expansion|
|port||USB-C (PD only)|
|row 9 – cell 0||USB2.0|
|row 10 – cell 0||fan header (not yet implemented)|
This is a purely appliance device. No video output ready. You have to build an appliance and hide it in a dark corner. Perfect for use as a router, wireless repeater, home automation, or NAS device. His M.2 NVMe connector onboard means you can create a pretty attractive little NAS that you can hide anywhere.
Raspberry Pi alternatives don’t have the best track record when it comes to GPIO. The best we have personally experienced is the LattePanda 3 Delta, which is with his Arduino Leonardo onboard. GPIO is also where the BPI-R3 Mini doesn’t seem to match the Raspberry Pi, it has no GPIO. The omission of Mini appears to be intentional, as the original his BPI-R3 had his GPIO on 26 pins.
There are many alternatives to the Raspberry Pi. From Banana Pi himself cleverly named Banana Pi Pico W, his Raspberry Pi Pico W competitor, to Khadas’ range of his VIM and Edge boards. Of these, we thoroughly reviewed the Khadas VIM4 and Edge 2 Pro. While these alternatives promise a lot, they often fail to deliver the basic user experience that the Raspberry Pi provides. Still, I’m always excited to see what the Raspberry Pi alternative has to offer.