Microcontroller boards based on the RP2040 chipset, the same SoC that powers the $4 Raspberry Pi Pico (opens in new tab)are becoming very popular among makers. Newer boards are popping up with extra features appearing on them, such as this 1.14 inch color display, the $10 LILYGO T-Display spotted by CNX Software (opens in new tab).
It's not the first (opens in new tab) such board, of course, with the Arducam Pico4ML (opens in new tab) pulling a similar trick - and with a resolution of 240×135 pixels it’s hardly HD - but it comes in at just under $10 with the RP2040 board attached. Along with the ST7789V SPI controller needed to run the screen, you get all the usual Pico accoutrements such as the dual-core Cortex M0+ processor, 2 x UART , 2 x SPI and 2 x I2C connections, along with a generous 4MB of flash storage. Power and data connectivity is via USB-C, a good choice of connector as it is now becoming the norm on maker boards. Where the LILYGO T-Display falls short is the GPIO. The board looks to be wider and a different pin layout to the traditional Raspberry Pi Pico, so creative hacking is required to connect accessories designed for the Pico.
There’s also support for powering the board, and its screen, with a battery thanks to a two-pin 1.25mm pitch JST connector - you get a connector cable in the package along with an expansion header. The board is programmable through MicroPython and C like any other Pico (opens in new tab), and CNX speculates that Arduino support could be coming soon, thanks to the existence of an Arduino-liking ESP32 board (opens in new tab) by the same manufacturer with the same display. Right now CircuitPython support is unknown, but it won't be long until a member of the community ports CircuitPython to this board.
The LILYGO T-Display was available from AliExpress (opens in new tab) for $9.98, but at the time of writing appears to be out of stock.
That doesn't mean I have to choose a Chinese board if I have an option to use something else. I can and do choose alternative products that are made in other countries.