Raspberry Pi is the world’s leading platform for so called ‘makers’ to invent weird and wonderful contraptions, but what exactly is the Raspberry Pi and what can it be used for?

There are various models of the Raspberry Pi, but the ones that you would probably want to buy in 2021 would either be the Raspberry Pi Model 4, the Raspberry Pi Zero W, or the recently released Raspberry Pi Pico. The Pi 4 is essentially a very compact computer, which can be used as a cheap server, desktop PC, or used to control inputs and outputs. The Pi Zero W is essentially the same, but a bit lower spec. The Pi Pico is what’s known as a microcontroller, which is as basic as computers get. It’s very like the famous Arduino, but a bit more beginner-friendly. It can control inputs and outputs, which can be useful for building a robot army to take over the world! Here are the individual specs and details for each Raspberry Pi model that you would want to buy in 2021:

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (there is no model A and I don’t know why)


  • -        1.5 GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU (not very impressive for a modern desktop, but considering the size and price of the machine, it’s pretty remarkable)
  • -        Available with up to 8GB RAM (the computer I’m using to write this article has 8GB RAM, the fact that you can a Raspberry Pi with 8GB RAM is insane)
  • -        Gigabit Ethernet
  • -        2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports (amazing considering its size)
  • -        40 pin GPIO header (for doing cool stuff like making a games console)
  • -        2x micro-HDMI ports (which can output 4k, yes 4k, crazy right?)
  • -        Micro-SD card slot (for OS and data storage)
  • -        Bluetooth 5.0 (why have wires when you can just NOT)

All things considered, the Pi 4, which starts at ₤33.90 (it’s more expensive if you want more RAM, the cheapest one has 2GB) is not only amazing value for money, but a marvel of modern technology. 10 years ago, you wouldn’t expend some of this stuff in a fully sized and priced desktop PC! If you are looking to get into Raspberry Pi, I would suggest getting this model first to learn the basics, then using the Zero W in most of your projects, speaking of which, it’s up next!

Raspberry Pi Model Zero W (make sure to buy one with a pre-soldered pin header if you don’t want to waste 20 minutes of your life)


  • -        1GHz single-core CPU (definitely not ground-breaking, but considering the Pi Zero W’s price and size, it’s most certainly not a bad deal)
  • -        512MB RAM (I have the same opinion with this as above, but for what this would be used for, it’s fine)
  • -        Mini-HDMI port
  • -        USB On-The-Go port (basically a really thin USB port)
  • -        Bluetooth 4.1

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is definitely not as amazing as the Pi 4, but come on, it only costs ₤13.50 (with a pre-soldered header), and is only half the size of the Pi 4. You would only really use this model for wacky projects, like games consoles, robots, or what not, so you don’t really need anything better. The price makes it possible for people like me to create my ideas in reality without having to waste all your birthday and Christmas money on something that might not even work! Anyway, let’s get even smaller…

Raspberry Pi Pico (completely different from the others)


The Raspberry Pi Pico is not the same as the others, i.e. you can’t browse the internet, or play games on it. It’s what’s known as a microcontroller: something that can be programmed to control inputs and outputs.

It’s not worth discussing the specs on this Pi, because you can’t compare it to any other Pi. I guess you could compare it to an Arduino (another popular microcontroller), but the Pi Pico is a lot cheaper, costing only ₤3.60, a real bargain, if you ask me. It can be programmed with MicroPython, which is more beginner friendly than the self-titled programming language used in Arduinos.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get some ideas of projects and learn a little bit more about Raspberry Pi, listen to my podcast: https://atomicast.buzzsprout.com/ (an episode about Raspberry Pi will be coming soon, and you might want to listen to the introduction to get an idea of the podcast). If you are contemplating getting into Raspberry Pi, I would say go for it, the possibilities of what you can do are endless! If you are looking for a place to buy all things Pi, I would strongly recommend the Pi Hut: https://thepihut.com/. As for starter kits, the official Raspberry Pi ones look good at first glance, but the case that comes in the bundle is not very good, I would recommend getting one that can at least accommodate a cooling fan. There are some decent-ish ones on Amazon. The starter kit I got is no longer available for some strange reason; I have no idea why.