I am a real big fan of the Raspberry PI foundation. They do make some awesome devices that indeed enable a lot of people around the world learning robotics, domotica and programming. Hell this blog is hosted on a Raspberry PI 3 and it works like a charm. So I am a real big fan, but there’s just one thing that continues to annoy me. The prices that everybody mention when they are talking about Raspberry PI’s. The PI Zero is being called the $ 5 computer and the PI 3 is being called the $ 35 computer and these prices are simply not correct.
The real price
If you want to use the PI Zero you do need at least an SD card. Depending on the type and size it will cost you an extra $ 10. But you also need a power supply, which will add another $ 5 to the bill and then, well if you want to attach a keyboard, mouse, WiFi or Bluetooth, you will need a USB adapter and USB hub which will add at least another $ 5 to your bill. And then you might want to protect your PI Zero, so you’ll need a case that costs at least $ 5. So you will end up with a bill of $ 30 which is 6 times as expensive as the mentioned $ 5. Truth to be told, you can reuse the USB adapter and USB hub on another PI Zero as long as you do not require any WiFi or Bluetooth connection at all or buy a PI Zero W which costs $ 10. So $ 30 is really the bare minimum price you can get a away with.
If you want to use the PI 3 you’ll need to add an SD card, a decent power supply – I highly recommend you to use the official Raspberry PI one – , and case and you will end up with a total of at least $ 40 + $ 10 + $10 = $ 60.
If you want to use a Raspberry PI in any of your projects, by all means do. They are really great machines and very good value for money, but don’t expect you can get away with spending just $ 5 or $ 35 as they do cost you a lot more.