Raspberry Pi Pico W

Raspberry Pi Pico W Review: Built-in Wi-Fi Comes to Pico

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It is fair to say that when the Raspberry Pi Pico arrived in late January 2021, it had two glaring omissions. First was a lack of reset button (of course you can add your own) but the biggest omission was Wi-Fi. In an age of thumbnail sized IoT boards, it felt like the Raspberry Pi Pico was behind the times. In our Raspberry Pi Pico review we marked the lack of Wi-Fi as a con, but we still love the $4 microcontroller that brought the RP2040 SoC to the world.

With a surprise June 2022 release, we see a new Raspberry Pi Pico, this time correcting one of the omissions. The Raspberry Pi Pico W is a $6 microcontroller that looks much like its predecessor, but under a tiny silver case lies a Wi-Fi chip which takes the Pico into the world of IoT. It may not be the first RP2040 board to offer Wi-Fi –  but we are sure that the Raspberry Pi Pico W is going to go straight onto our list of best RP2040 boards.

During the global chip shortage, Raspberry Pi’s RP2040 SoC has been in plentiful supply. Raspberry Pi even used the chip in its Build HAT Lego compatible board for the Raspberry Pi due to dwindling STM32 microcontroller stocks. Pi Founder and CEO Eben Upton has said that they can make thousands of RP2040 chips. This is in stark contrast to other Raspberry Pis which are often in short supply. The Raspberry Pi Pico W could replace many Raspberry Pi Zero W based projects, such as low0powered robots and data collection projects. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

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