Raspberry Pi Zero vs Zero W: What's the Difference?

Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi Zero W are almost identical devices. So, what's the difference between them?
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Raspberry Pi created a revolution when it launched the $25 mini computer ten years ago. Over time, several variants of Raspberry Pi have been launched. Some upgrade a previous model and some are crafted for specific purposes.

Of all the Raspberry models, Pi Zero and Pi Zero W are the cheapest ones aimed at small-scale and IoT projects. Both devices are almost similar to each other but with a subtle and important difference.

So, what is the difference between Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W? The W in Zero W stands for Wireless and it depicts its wireless capability over the Pi Zero model. Thatโ€™s the single biggest difference between the two similar models.

Letโ€™s take a look at it a bit more in detail.

Key Difference Between Pi Zero and Pi Zero W

raspberry pi zero vs zero w

While Raspberry Pi Zero was built with the goal of providing more utility with half of the size of the A+ board.

And, Raspberry Pi Zero W was introduced later to include wireless connectivity built-in without needing a separate accessory/module to enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

This is the key difference between the two, with the remaining specifications remaining identical.

So, if you want support for:

  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Raspberry Pi Zero W will be the definite choice to go with.

Also, Raspberry Pi Zero W offers a variant with header pins, which is โ€œRaspberry Pi Zero WHโ€.

Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi Zero W Specifications

raspberry pi zero w
Raspberry Pi Zero W

The specifications for Raspberry Pi Zero W and Zero are almost identical.

You get a 1 GHz single-core CPU coupled with 512 MB RAM. For connectivity, you get a mini HDMI port, micro USB OTG support, micro USB power, and a CSI Camera connector (to plug in a camera module).

These boards also feature a HAT (Hardware Attached on Top)-compatible 40 pin header, but generally, without the pins that let you easily plug the interfaces.

You can choose to explore the capabilities using various Raspberry Pi OS available. In either case, just stick to the Raspberry Pi OS.

Raspberry Pi Zero series: Is it worth It?

raspberry pi zero 1
Raspberry Pi Zero

Raspberry Pi Zero is a single-board computer that is popular for its form factor. Even though you have plenty of Raspberry Pi zero alternatives, Raspberry Pi Zero is the recommended choice for all the good reasons.

Of course, unless you have specific requirements.

In addition to the size of the board, the pricing, power requirement, and processing power are some of the key highlights of this board under $20.

So, the Raspberry Zero series should work for you if you are looking for essential features under a budget.

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Is Raspberry Pi Zero series affordable?

Raspberry Pi Zero costs $5 and the Raspberry Pi Zero W would cost you around $10. Of course, depending on its availability and region, the cost will differ. If you want the Raspberry Pi Zero W with header pins, it should cost you around $14.

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The small form factor of the Raspberry Pi Zero W enables a new range of projects. In fact, a lot of people use the Pi Zero in the final version of the project after prototyping on a different full-sized Pi board. And, thatโ€™s because it consumes much less power

There are other devices that can be used as an alternative to Raspberry Pi Zero and they have a similar price tag.

About the author
Ankush Das

Ankush Das

A passionate technophile who also happens to be a Computer Science graduate. You will usually see cats dancing to the beautiful tunes sung by him.

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