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Raspberry Pi 400 Review: Computer Inside A Keyboard

This article will provide you with all the details of the newly released Raspberry Pi 400 and guide you if you should buy a Raspberry Pi 400 or the fairly cheaper Raspberry Pi 4 with almost the same features and performance. 

The Raspberry Pi 400 is a unique offering by the Raspberry foundation. This is not like any standard Raspberry Pi board single-board computer rather an official Raspberry Pi keyboard with an ARM-based in-built CPU. The slim keyboard along with the features of a basic computer make the Raspberry Pi 400 a more approachable and user-friendly electronic product. 

This compact keyboard comes with all the ports present at the back of the casing, just need to provide a power supply and connect it to a monitor and the pc is ready. It itself costs $70 whereas the whole Raspberry Pi 400 kit that includes a Raspberry mouse, microSD card, power supply, HDMI cable, and Raspberry Pi starter guide costs $100. 

Design of Raspberry Pi 400

Raspberry Pi 400

Raspberry Pi 400 comes with compact dimensions: 286 mm × 122 mm × 23 mm or 11.25 inches × 4.8 inches × 0.9 inches and weighs around 384g, making it portable enough to be carried and used anywhere. With a red and white color scheme, the keyboard is very attractive and elegant, unlike any other Raspberry Pi bare circuit boards. The whole body is made up of plastic which is the main reason for its lightness and low cost. 

It possesses Raspberry Pi 4’s circuit layout for processor, memory, and power management except for the GPIO pins and connectors which have been repositioned according to the keyboard’s ports. The design cue of Pi 400 resembles the 1980s home computers having keyboards with built-in motherboards such as BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum.

Internals of the Pi 400 is similar to that of the Raspberry Pi 4 but the keyboard may be either a 78 or 79- key keyboard which may differ from region to region. This design is very similar to any compact laptop keyboard used nowadays.

Specifications and Features of Raspberry Pi 400 

Raspberry Pi 400

Although the it looks and feels different from Raspberry Pi 4, it has got the same set of ports. The Pi 400 runs on Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC CPU with 4 GB of RAM. This is the same SoC across all Pi 4 family. 

The difference here is the clock speed. Due to Excellent thermal management infrastructure throughout the keyboard and heatsink, 

Rpi 400 has a full keyboard length metal sheet. Raspberry Pi Engineers have done an excellent job in designing the Heat Sink and it reflects in the CPU performance. 

the Raspberry Pi 400 has a clock speed of 1.8 GHz higher than that of Pi 4 which is clocked at 1.5 GHz. Anyway, overclocking is possible on both devices. The Raspberry Pi Foundation also claims that the thermal management of Pi 400 boosts 20% of its performance. 

Just like the Pi 4, Raspberry Pi 400 supports a wide range of ports, including 2 USB 3.0 ports, A USB C port for power supply, two micro HDMI ports each supporting 4K resolution at 60 fps, and 40 GPIO pins. As mentioned earlier, all these pins are mounted along the rear. 

For connectivity, it has a Gigabit Ethernet port, dual-band 5.0GHz IEEE 802.11b/g/ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 5.0. Just like other Pi models, Pi 400 also runs on the Raspberry Pi OS (previously called Raspbian) which comes pre-installed on the microSD card available in the complete $100 kit. 

Raspberry Pi 400 still faces the same compatibility issues of the Linux to connect with Windows and macOS. Therefore, a strong grip on Linux Terminals will be required if you want to use it as an everyday machine. It also does not offer a 3.5mm headphone jack nor a camera interface where the Pi 4 SBC does offer it. The engineers of Raspberry Pi 400 even mentioned that they had to ditch the audio jack due to the lack of space. This can be a major downside of the device.

Specifications of Raspberry Pi 400

SpecificationRaspberry Pi 400 detail
Processor Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 – Arm v8 – 64-bit SoC
Dimensions286 × 122 × 23mm
Ports 2 × USB 3.0, 1 × USB 2.0 ports, 2 × micro HDMI ports, Gigabit Ethernet, microSD slot.
Max Screen Resolution4K@60fps
Wireless connectivity Dual-band 5.0GHz IEEE 802.11b/g/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0.
GPIO Pins40
Serial Port Rate5Gbit/s
Clock Speed 1.8 GHz
Power 7.5W max.
Operating SystemRaspberry Pi OS (Rasbian)
Benchmark182880 DMIPS
Voltage5V DC via USB connector
Operating Temperature0°C to +50°C ambient

What Is Included In The Raspberry Pi 400 $100 Kit?

Raspberry Pi 400
Raspberry Pi-400 Personal Computer kit

The Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kit costs $100 whereas the base unit alone costs $70. The Complete kit includes:

  • Raspberry Pi 400 – computer in an official Raspberry keyboard
  • A USB Type C power adapter (North American).
  • An official Raspberry Pi wired mouse.
  • 1 meter micro HDMI to HDMI cable.
  • A 16GB MicroSD card with Raspbian pre-loaded.
  • Raspberry Pi 400 Beginners Guide book.

Is It A Good Deal?

we can say Yes, Raspberry Pi 400 would be fascinating for normal computer users.The new Raspberry Pi comes with a very fresh and beginner-friendly design best suited for learning. It can be a great device to learn programming in Python, JavaScript, C, C++, Rust, Java or Go lang. This also applies to those students who want to learn about circuits, hardware, sensors, and stepper motors. 

Raspberry Pi 400 is capable of coding, writing documents, light browsing, social media, sometimes watching videos on the internet, or simple gaming(like Minecraft Pi). However, it might struggle to work smoothly if you open numerous tabs or apps all at once due to the limited RAM and storage. 

The main storage of it is the microSD card which is used to boot the device as well. A microSD card usually is slower than the usual SSDs and NVMe used in the computers. Although you can use an external USB 3.0 SSD. 

Also, to access all the GPIO pins, you need to use a ribbon cable and a breakout adapter.

Raspberry Pi 400 vs. Raspberry Pi 4 4GB: What’s Different?

The Raspberry Pi 4GB model comes with a price tag of $55. It is significantly cheaper than the standalone Pi 400 keyboard($70). The performance of both the Pi-400 models is relatively better than Pi 4GB model. This is due to 2 reasons.

  •  Pi-400 comes with a High quality HeatSink.
  • Pi-400 comes pre-configured with overclocked CPU core @1.8Ghz as compared to 1.5Ghz for standard Pi-4 models.
  • Pi-400 includes a keyboard.

Both the computers offer the same number of GPIO pins and RAM. But with the $55 Raspberry Pi 4 you’ll need an additional $15 for external hardware and heatsinks. So, if you don’t own a keyboard, mouse, and standard power supply, then the Pi 400 kit would definitely be your choice. But if you are already having the hardware, you can get almost the same experience and same performance of Raspberry Pi 400 while saving some few extra bucks. 

Raspberry Pi 4GB comes with a price tag of $55. Significantly cheaper ($ 15). If you don’t own an std power supply, keyboard and mouse then it is a great deal to buy the complete kit ($100). An std Power supply, keyboard and mouse then better to invest in hardware. Another $15 dollars you can spend.

Raspberry Pi 400 vs. Raspberry Pi 4 8GB: What’s Different

The Raspberry Pi 4b 8Gb is a much better Hardware just because of High RAM capacity, 8GB allows you to run demanding applications and work on multiple applications at the same time, and comes with a price tag of $75. Just $5 (RPi 400 unit only costs $70) bucks extra gets you a 8GB model.

Investing another $25 dollars on high-quality Heat Sink and makes it a perfect hardware. If you compare it with a $100 Rpi kit. Yes, it will not look as fancy as the RPi-400 but it will be a much better computing workhorse. Overclocking a Raspberry Pi can be done with few commands. But for overclocking to work effectively you need a good heat sink, otherwise due to the high-temperature arm core will throttle down to 1Ghz. RPI 8GB will have a much higher self-life as compared to the 4GB model that of the Pi 400. The only difference that lies here is that the clock speed of Pi 4b is 1.5 GHz and the Raspberry Pi 400’s is 1.8GHz. However, the CPU speed of the Raspberry Pi 4 can be overclocked up to 2.147 GHz by following these steps

Though if you are worried about the heating of Raspberry Pi 4 (4/8GB) after overclocking it, here are effective steps how to overcome them and keep Pi from overheating

Which Raspberry PI Model Will Suit You The Best?

So which one should you buy? The Raspberry Pi 4B 8GB offers some more features like the 3.5mm Audio and Video jack, whereas this isn’t present in the Raspberry Pi 400. If you are a developer or an IoT learner, then definitely the Raspberry Pi 4 8Gb is a better purchase believing that you might already be a keyboard also, projects based on Raspberry Pi camera and/or display can’t be performed on the Raspberry Pi 400.

But, if you want to use your Raspberry Pi as a regular computer and don’t want to spend much on buying separate accessories for a Pi board, then the Raspberry Pi 400 is all that you need. The concept of the PoE(Power over Ethernet) powered keyboard is very attractive along with such an aggressive price range. The only con of using a Raspberry Pi 400 is that you can’t add Pi-Hats, and you will require special breakout adapters for accessing its GPIO pins. For example, a Qwiic pHat Extension is a great solution to access all its GPIO pins.

Wrapping It Up

The Raspberry Pi has always been a very practical and useful device rather than just a piece of earning profit. But with these complex Pi boards, there were always barriers to its usefulness faced by the general-purpose end users. 

However, with the new Pi 400, its complexity has reduced to a great extent and the barriers have been crumbled down. The Raspberry Pi 400 is a great device for anyone irrespective of their age who has an interest in learning about tech. With a price tag of $70 and the full kit for $100, it is a worthy product for all the upcoming programmers.

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