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Raspberry Pi Model B+ review – a new evolution

The latest version of the original Raspberry Pi has some essential updates while still remaining largely the same. Is it worth the upgrade?

The model B+ has a slick new configuration

Over the past two years we’ve come to really grow fond of the design of the Raspberry Pi. It’s almost iconic in a way, and we don’t think we’re the only ones to believe this: as you can have see with the Banana Pi review on the previous page the layout is almost identical to the standard model B.

With the brand new model B+, an enhanced version of the model B revision two, some of hardware has been relocated into a more logical and tidier layout. This is the first thing anyone will notice about the device and it’s probably got a lot to do with the new USB ports being very prominent and drawing a critical eye over the rest of the board.

The model B+ has a slick new configuration
The model B+ has a slick new configuration

It may be a slightly minor thing to pick up on but the configuration for the new model B+ loses some of that aesthetic charm for us. Now the B+ looks bland, uniform and efficient. Frankly though, this is much better for a number of reasons and we’ll surely get used to it over the next two years.

New configuration

The new layout lends itself to a much tidier work station or project innards. Everything is much more flush to the board without the USB ports or Video connector sticking way out, and with all the ports along two sides rather than all four the cabling can be a lot more tidy and the placement can be more flexible and less awkward for specific setups.

The inclusion of two more USB ports is of course a godsend to a lot of Raspberry Pi users who want to use a mouse, a keyboard, a wifi dongle and perhaps some external storage at the same time without a powered USB hub throw into the mix. There are other configurations you’ll be able to use as well but these are the common things that the original version of the Raspberry Pi limits.

As well as two more USB ports there are 14 more pins added to the GPIO port, which still remains in roughly the same position on the side of the board. The extra pins are merely added on to the end of the original layout, meaning your old projects will still work just fine. You can now do a lot more with them though which should really help to expand your projects.

Same old, same old

Despite the new configuration the actual core of the Raspberry Pi B+ is fundamentally the same as the revision two of the model B – it still has the same Broadcom ARM v6 system-on-a-chip along with the 512 Mb of RAM found in the revision two.

On the one hand, this is excellent. People getting into Raspberry Pi don’t need to learn the hard way that all the online tutorials have stopped being relevant. Those who decide to upgrade don’t need to learn anything specifically new and they can create a copy of their SD card that will work straight away in the B+.

For those satisfied with their Raspberry Pi, the lack of core changes makes it difficult to recommend as an upgrade. Sure it’s a lot nicer overall and you can do slightly more with it but the extra features won’t affect more than a small percentage of the Pi community.

Either way, the B+ is replacing the model B as the flagship Raspberry Pi so it will be there when the inevitable urge to upgrade arises. For those still hanging on to the revision one Raspberry Pi it’s a great time to upgrade and get ahead of the curve.

Verdict

5/5

It’s the ultimate evolution of the current Raspberry Pi which we already adore, so it goes without saying that the B+ gets a perfect score. From a utilitarian stand point the rearranged components are much better than the original layout. It’s not quite an essential upgrade if you’re satisfied with the normal B but it’s still better

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