Raspberry Pi model naming has always been a confusing part of the Raspberry Pi experience*:
- Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+
- Raspberry Pi 1 Model B
- Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+
- Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
- Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
- Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
- Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ <-- you are here
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ board is the same size as the original Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+.
This smaller size also means many more project possibilities!
There are several key differences in this new version:
This Pi has half the RAM as its predecessor (512MB vs. 1GB). This trade-off allows for lower power consumption and the lower price tag. This is an intentional downgrade.
Obviously, this board has a much smaller form factor.
The A+ features better built-in thermal management to keep your project form overheating.
USB ports and management
The A+ features only a single USB port. Again, this board's release was meant to mimic the original design. Of course, with bluetooth and USB hubs, this is not an issue. I predict future versions of the Pi will switch fully to USB C port(s) to save space.
Ethernet port (or lack thereof)
The LAN port is gone; but who needs it when most projects are WiFi anyways? Actually, for more network-intensive projects, the LAN port is great. I predict it will make a return in the next, "fuller" size version fo the Pi.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
The Model 3 A+ adds BLE to the Pi, enabling its use for a wider variety of projects while consuming far less energy. This is great news for a lot of makers out there!
Again, the 3A+ features nearly the same specifications as the 3B+, though notably the RAM has been halved to 512MB:
- Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.4GHz
- 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
- 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2/BLE
- Extended 40-pin GPIO header
- Full-size HDMI
- Single USB 2.0 ports
- CSI camera port for connecting a Raspberry Pi Camera Module
- DSI display port for connecting a Raspberry Pi Touch Display
- 4-pole stereo output and composite video port
- Micro SD port for loading your operating system and storing data
- 5V/2.5A DC power input
The 3A+ also requires slightly lower power to run, improving mobile projects.
The 3 A+ can be had for $25, a full $10 cheaper than the 3 B+'s $35 price tag.