The Banana Pi M2 is an open-source hardware platform or what you call a single-board computer mainly intended for educational self-learning purposes produced and developed by SINOVOIP Company, located in Shenzhen China. The Pi M2 Hardware specs include the Cortex A7 ARM quad-core processor based on Allwinner A31 Soc Solution, 1.0 GB DDR3 RAM, Power VR SGX544MP2 GPU, Onboard WiFi Support (Broadcom AP 6181 module) providing better features and performance compared to the latest Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
According to SINOVOIP their board It has the same dimensions as the Raspberry Pi 2 B with GPIO interface compatibility including loading various OS images such as Android, Debian, Linux, Ubuntu Linux, Raspberry Pi images, etc.. Company’s main objective, slimier to Raspberry is building a global community of developers and expanding their product line worldwide.
The product review will be focusing on:
- Product introduction.
- General info & Specs.
- Items in Package.
- Testing OS Images.
- Hardware info & Benchmark Tests.
- Final Words.
SINOVOIP Presenting Their Product Line at Foxconn
Items in Package:
The Banana Pi M2 development board came assembled in transparent protective Acrylic Enclosure Box (Not included in Package) That protects the board against damages, dust, and scratches. All parts of the case box are made of four segments/parts connected together with sets of bolts and Philips screws.
- 1x Banana Pi M2 Development Board.
- 1x Remote, IR (Optional but not included).
- 1x Acrylic Case / Enclosure Box (Optional but not included).
- 1x 5V-2A Power Adapter (Optional but not included).
Banana Pi M2 – Acrylic Case / Enclosure Box
Banana Pi M2 Board (PCB) – Full View
Banana Pi M2 Inside The Case
Optional Camera Module
GPIO (General-purpose input/output)
The GPIO or what is also called a “40 pins Header Connector” provides an external interface to the outside world. With a series of a pre-defined set of logic instructions, zeros and ones sent trough the interface developer can basically control and switch voltage levels and operate various external devices such as servo engines, External Controllers, LED light, etc..
Banana Pi M2 GPIO Pins Arrangement
Supported Operating Systems (Images)
Banana Pi M2 Vs. Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
Hardware info & Benchmark Tests:
- Operating system: UBUNTU 14.04
- Test Tool: System Profiler and Benchmark.
The Banana Pi M2 is a good product, but I personally felt operating system support could be much greater, especially without any Windows OS support. As for general quality, it’s no less compared to the U.K manufactured Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. What I did like about the product is that it has a built-in WiFi module, for me its a big plus not needing to buy an external wireless dongle and occupying additional USB Port.
Because of the product high specs, The Banana Pi M2 is sold for a much higher retail price of 60-67 USD (including shipping) in comparison to Raspberry which costs about 35-41 USD but I think it’s worth the price for getting better hardware specs and higher performance and I recommend it.