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 Raspberry Pi Pico and Raspberries Pi Zero are miles apart when it comes to specs, form factor, and software support.