New RasPi Zero W 2 versus RasPi 3A+

I’ve seen plenty of reviews of the new Raspberry Pi Zero W 2 saying it is better than old Pi Zero W (doh, it’s an upgrade so of course it is), and comparing to RasPi 3B - which is for a different market, so not especially relevant.

I recently purchased a RasPi 3A+ as a processor upgrade for the Pi Zero which doesn’t need the I/O of the 3B … so I’m wondering what the differences are between the Pi 3A+ and Zero W 2 ?

  • similar processing power (Zero W 2 has more cores but lower clock speed)
  • Zero W is physically smaller
  • Pi 3A+ uses standard HDMI and USB connectors (where the Zeros need adaptors)
  • Pi 3A+ has 5GHz as well as 2.4GHz Wi-Fi channels
  • Pi 3A+ has DSI screen connector and Headphone socket
    Anything else ?

Or, to put it another way … would Pi 3A+ be reasonable alternative for people to consider while stocks of the Zero W 2 are low ?


Hi Donald,

Short answer is yes, definitely. I saw a video ETA Prime did comparing the Zero 2 W with the Pi 3 and they were very close in performance.

The 3A+ packs the same Quad core 64-bit CPU as the 3B+ and Z2W - an ARM Cortex A53, but clocked faster out of the box at 1.4GHz. The 3A+ also has composite video out via the 3.5mm jack, whereas with the Zero 2 W you’d need to tap into the test points on the underside for this.
The 3A+ has 5GHz Wifi (802.11 b/g/n/ac).
Thanks to having a bit more space on the PCB it also has a higher clock speed, better cooling ability, and it has full-size HDMI, USB, and CSI connectors as well as a DSI connector.

The 3A+ is basically a slightly more powerful Z2W. You’ll have a lot more trouble squeezing one into something like a Retroflag GPi though!


Thanks Oliver, I forgot about the 5GHz wi-fi (due to not using 5GHz myself) :frowning: That would definitely make a difference to some users.


The 3A+ is NOT a slightly more powerful Zero 2 W it is a Pi3B+ without Ethernet or USB Hub.

The Zero 2 W is an updated Zero W with all the shortcomings of the earlier cheap piece of rubbish.

You have listed most of the shortcomings but neglected to mention the flimsy camera connector which hangs over the edge of the board.

The 3A+ is a Quality product which combined with the SLIM CASE FOR RASPBERRY PI 3 MODEL A+ is a reliable rugged workhorse.


I think you’re being a bit rough on the Pi Zero, and it sounds like its because you’ve misunderstood their purpose.

They exist partly for cheap use in projects for us in the first world, but primarily to lower the cost barrier to computer education for those in lower socio-economic regions.

They’re great for what they’re intended for, and I can’t say I’ve ever had one fail on me (despite having a few!).


Hi Ian,

Theyre also great for embedded projects as well, once you finish the prototyping and development stage, narrow down the options a good majority of the time you wont need a full desktop environment, and capabilities of a Pi 4, a Zero has all of the capabilities of the super well known ESP32 and is far easier to setup - Python is a breeeze!!

No doubt for the 3A+ though, I’ve got them on my printers and runs Octoprint working like a charm.