Home / Development Boards / Orange Pi Plus 2E SET5 Review: Open Source Development Kit Low Cost $52 All In One Open Source Development Kit

Orange Pi Plus 2E SET5 Review: Open Source Development Kit Low Cost $52 All In One Open Source Development Kit

Introduction

Orange Pi Plus 2E SET5 is an All in one single board computer package kit for software Open Source developers. The board features the popular Allwinner H3 ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor along with 2GB DDR3 and 16G RAM eMMC flash, and a Mali 400 MP2 GPU Capable of H.265/HEVEC 4K Video decoding.

The board support Android KitKat and other popular Linux distributions such as Debian, armbian, Ubuntu OS and more, available to download from Orange Pi community support forum and website. Other interfaces included are 3 USB Hosts, HDMI, USB OTG, 5V DC power supply port, Gigabit Ethernet port, On-board WiFi, Camera interface, and 40 pin GPIO array interface, compatible with the Raspberry Pi B+ Board. For Further details, including the price you can visit Orange Pi AliExpress link store posted below:

Buy it from Orange Pi Store

Package Contents:

  • 1x Orange Pi Plus 2E Board
  • 1x 5V -A2 DC Power Supply.
  • 1x WiFi Antenna.
  • 1x Case.

 

 

Orange Pi Plus 2E Overview 

Orange Pi Plus 2E SET5 Review:

  1. Introduction
  2. Orange Pi SET5 Overview (Video)
  3. Board Package
  4. Items Included in Package
  5. A Closer Look at the Orange Pi Plus 2E
  6. Hardware Platform
  7. Operating Systems, Software Compatibility
  8. User Experience
  9. Software Support
  10. Antenna, WiFi, Bluetooth
  11. Final Words
  12. Pros / Cons

 

Orange Pi Plus 2E SET5  Specifications:

  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 H.265/HEVC 4K @ 1.3 GHz
  • GPU – Mali400MP2 GPU @600MHz With OpenGL ES 2.0 Support
  •  Connectivity –  10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ45, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port (Video / Audio), On-board microphone
  • USB – x3 USB 2.0 HOST, x1 USB 2.0 OTG
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC Flash, Micro SD card slot
  • WiFi antenna Included.
  • Product size – 108 mm × 67 mm
  • Weight – 52g

 

Other Interfaces:

  • Power Supply: 5V /2A DC
  • Debugging:  UART pins for serial console
  • Camera Interface:  CSI connector
  • Buttons: Power switch, Recovery key
  • GPIO Header: 40-pin R-Pi compatible header
  • HDMI 1.4 – Max Resolution [email protected]
  • LED: Power led, Status led
  • On-Board IR Receiver.

  

Orange Pi Plus 2E Board Package  

 

Orange Pi Plus 2E SET5 – All Package Items

  1. 1x  Orange Pi Plus 2E Board
  2. 1x 5V/2A Power supply unit
  3. 1x Case

Unboxed Items

A Closer Look at the Orange Pi Plus 2E Kit

The Kit contains the Orange Pi Plus 2E single board computer which is based on the H3 Allwinner SoC Platform. The Package comes with 5V/2A power adapter unit and  a well designed transparent case made from ABS Plastic. You get all the basic essential items for operating the board. Heat sinks are items that are not included in this specific package, but can be bought separately for a few extra dollars.

That being said, The impression from case design was excellent. All the interface had proper access via special cuts (holes) for the wires and cables to pass through, including the GPIO interface that also has a special cut for passing the cables, thus giving an easy access to the header pins. The cuts are designed in a very smart way. By default the hole (cutes) , or windows parts connected to the case upper housing by mini plastic “bridges”. When they are needed, they can easily removed from the case envelope by applying some pressure using a sharp object or screwdriver.

Orange Pi Plus 2E Board Case

     

    Orange Pi Plus 2E Board Inside The Case

     

    Orange Pi Plus 2E Board

    1. SoC:  Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 + Mali 400MP2
    2. CVBS (AV Output)
    3. HDMI 1.4
    4. Micro SD Card Socket
    5. Camera Interface
    6. WiFi & Bluetooth Chip
    7. WiFi interface socket
    8. Upgrade key
    9. Ethernet Chip
    10. WiFi Antenna
    11. x1 USB 2.0 host ports
    12. 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN.
    13. x2 USB 2.0 host ports
    14. IR Receiver
    15. 16GB eMMC
    16. Memory: 2GB DDR3
    17. 40 Pin Headers
    18. Power (5V / 2A DC)
    19. Power Button
    20. Debug TTL UART
    21. Recovery key
    22. Microphone
    23. Micro USB / OTG port

    Orange Pi Plus 2E Board

    Hardware Platform

    In terms of hardware, the Orange Pi Plus 2E specifications are average, but enough for most open source projects and DIY Projects. The board is powered with an Allwinner’s H3 32-bit quad core Cortex A7 Processor running at a nominal clock frequency of 1.2GHz. The 2GB RAM also had a big advantage when I ran Applications in the background and they loaded relatively fast with minimum read/writing to the SD Card from where I loaded my image files. According to system information without running any Apps, from the total of 2GB the I was left with about approximately 1.8 – 1.9GB of free RAM.

    the Mali 400MP2 Dual core GPU did a decent job when I played and streamed videos at a resolution of  1080P (1920×1080 px) up to 4K (3860×2160 px). Just don’t expect it to run heavy 3D  games that require more processing power as with Android Set-Top Boxes.

    raspbian | System Information 

     

    • Orange Pi Plus 2E | Raspbian X Window
    • Orange Pi Plus 2E | Raspbian CPU Frequency
    • Orange Pi Plus 2E | Raspbian Free Memmory
    • Orange Pi Plus 2E | Raspbian OS information
    • Orange Pi Plus 2E | Raspbian system info
    • Orange Pi Plus 2E | Raspbian Hardware Acceleration

     

    OpenELEC (Kodi OS) Support

    In my personal tests playing with the OpenELEC Media Center image, based on KODI Jarvis Version 16.1 the success rate was higher in terms of smooth video playback when 1080P files were played with minimal frames dropping.

    Files sampled at ULTRA HD (4K) resolution did not play smoothly and I had freezes or high frame drops, resulting in freezes during playback, but it was expected to do to hardware limitations. Although the board has HDMI 1.4 Interface and the CPU also support playback up to [email protected], the GPU processing is a big factor in decoding high-bit rate videos. That said, with the Mali4000 MP2 Dual core GPU you should expect “entry level” performance that should be enough for most media center users watching videos and streaming online content.

     

    Operating Systems, Software Compatibility

    Xunlong normally provides new images through their GitHub community and website forum when they come out. The company current focus is on the H3 SoC which is considered to be popular among Chinese Board development companies and has above decent software support from Allwinner, supporting a wide selection of operating systems (Main list posted below).

     

    List of Linux distributions / OS:

    1. RetrOrangePi
    2. Armbian
    3. Slackware
    4. Android
    5. OpenELEC
    6. openSUSE
    7. Raspbian
    8. Lubuntu
    9. Ubuntu
    10. Ubuntu server

     

    User Experience

    User experience was generally good playing with few popular Linux distributions from the above list. The Raspbain images had a major graphic lagging when trying to move applications within the X-Server desktop environment. An annoying bug that will be fixed by Xunlong in the new coming images. That being said, Armbian distribution was the best one that worked externally well without any problems.

    Sound drivers and audio mixer where set correctly and worked well, including video hardware acceleration. It was easy to connect to my home wireless LAN without extra How-to technical knowledge, by just connecting it via a network cable (RJ45).

    Armbian 5.20  | System & Resources Info

      Software Support

      Was very problematic. Because many of the images were missing the network adapter driver settings through the network GUI manager so I needed to set everything manually. With so many types of images, even a professional user can get really confused in picking the correct image. The only image that really worked well with all features was the Armbian and OpenELEC.

      I am sure there are a few additional images I didn’t have time to check and play with that also should probably work well, but the general impression was not so great. Instead of posting “half baked” or not fully working images in the forum, Xunlong company main focus should be making workable final images with minimum bugs and problems, or else it may damages user experience operating a product which software support is considered to be its main core and importance.

       

      Measuring CPU temperatures and Frequency

      Test Conditions & Results:

      1. Distribution: Armbian
      2. System Mode: Idle ( “None Heavy” usage ).
      3. Image file: Armbian_5.20_Orangepiplus2e_Debian_jessie_3.4.112_desktop
      4. Board was assembled inside the Cased (Without heat-sinks on CPU & Memory Chips).
      5. Nominal CPU Frequency:  1.0GHz ( Tested with armbianmonior).
      6. CPU Temperatures: 48-52C+

       

      Note:

      Because the H3 CPU Chip tends to hurt much, even in idle mode when the system is not heavily loaded with a lot of apps, it’s highly recommended buying and a heat-sink / fan unit and mount it on top of both the CPU and memory chips.

       

      Measuring Data Transfer Speeds | MMC Vs. Micro SD Card  

      Displaying all storage devices

      Storage devices:

      • mmcblk0p1 – Transcend microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I 300x (Premium).
      • mmcblk1 -16GB eMMC Flash.
       

      WiFi, Bluetooth, Antenna

      The Orange Pi Plus 2E is equipped with a WiFi Realtek Chip without an integrated on board Bluetooth function feature. Bluetooth is not a “must have” feature, but it if it’s really important you can buy a separate adapter or consider buying the Orange Pi Plus2 board.

      The Antenna provided in the SET5 kit is a very basic one, but it’s included in the SET5 Kit and does the job.If you still need a stronger one, it’s possible to purchase an /IPX to RP-SMA (F) Extension Cable with a 5dBi WiFi RP-SMA Antenna and Mount it by drilling a hole through the case.

       

      Final Words

      The Orange Pi Plus 2E is a good board. All the items included in the kit were all excellent quality. The H3 quad core processor did a good job in running Linux distributions, and the 2GB RAM helped running applications smoother and faster. Tech support is also relatively OK but needs improving by providing better fully workable images. Overall, It’s a good low-cost kit for open source hobbyists and it does the job well, for a retail price of $52 (non-express shipping).

       

      Pros

      • Price
      • Wide Selection of OS to Choose from.
      • Includes a WiFi Antenna.
      • 2GB DDR3 RAM
      • On board 16GB eMMC.
      • Gigabit Ethernet.
      • All in One Kit/Package.

       

      Cons

      • 32-Bit Processor.
      • Software Support and Images could be much better.
      • No Onboard Bluetooth support.

       

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