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Raspberry Pi Alternative MaaxBoard Mini Has Power Button

 MaaxBoard Mini
(Image credit: NXP)

The MaaxBoard Mini is a new, ultra-small single-board computer (SBC) with a form factor close to the Raspberry Pi. As with many Pi-sized competitors, we wanted to know how well it stacks up to our favorite SBC. 

The MaaxBoard Mini has DDR4 RAM and comes with a 14nm quad-core NXP i.MX 8M processor, capable of reaching 1.8 GHz using ARM Cortex-A53 cores. This definitely stands up to the Raspberry Pi 4 which has a base operating speed of around 1.5 GHz, though you can overclock your Raspberry Pi to 2.1 GHz.

It also has three on-board buttons, one of which is a dedicated power key, something the Raspberry Pi lacks. It also has two user-programmable LEDs you can light with your programs.

Like the Raspberry Pi, the MaaxBoard Mini has a 40-pin GPIO header, which its maker claims is compatible with Raspberry Pi HATs. However, this module does not have an HDMI output option. You must use MIPI DSI to output video.

The base model includes 2GB of DDR4 RAM. It has an eMMC socket that can use a 64 GB drive. It also features a microSD card reader (see our list of best Raspberry Pi microSD cards). Like the Raspberry Pi 4, the MaaxBoard Mini sports four USB ports, but its connections are limited to USB 2.0 where the Pi has two USB 3.0 connectors.

Software-wise, you can run Linux distros like Debian and Android. But you can also use other applications like Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Core.

The new MaaxBoard Mini is available on the Embest website for $72.50, a considerable markup compared to the Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB), which goes for just $35.