Testing the NanoPi NEO and the NanoPi 2 Fire


The NanoPi NEO shows itself to be a good alternative to the Pi Zero. Unlike the Pi Zero, the NEO can be used for many server applications without additional adapters, cables, and components, although it is still difficult to draw a direct comparison with the smallest Rasp Pi. The interfaces between the two types of computers are too different from one another and, therefore, the areas of application. Many instructions that come with the RPi3 can even be used on the NEO, such as a backup machine introduced in a previous article [5]. Another example of a possible application would be a small access point, which would merely involve plugging in a USB WiFi adapter and installing software according to the instructions.

The NanoPi 2 Fire, on the other hand, can only be recommended under the right conditions. The Gigabit Ethernet provides a substantial advantage, but the throughput rate is too limited for an authentic network attached storage solution. Last but not least, the price and performance differentials between the Fire and the RPi3 are not great enough for the typical hobbyist. The large Raspberry community makes things easier.

The NanoPi series comprises many more models than the two single-board computers discussed here. There is a small computer with features to fit all budgets and requirements. Just after the article deadline, for example, the NanoPi NEO Air became available, which is something to be hopeful about. It has a WiFi chip as a replacement for the Ethernet port, but remains as small in size as the current NEO.


  1. FriendlyARM: http://www.friendlyarm.com
  2. 3D print file for the NanoPi NEO case: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1698298
  3. 3D print file for the NanoPi 2 Fire case: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1587553
  4. Armbian for the NanoPi NEO: http://www.armbian.com/nanopi-neo/
  5. "Backing Up with Rasp Pi" by Bernhard Bablok, Raspberry Pi Geek, issue 19, 2016, pg. 50, http://www.raspberry-pi-geek.com/Archive/2016/19/Using-the-Raspberry-Pi-as-a-backup-server

The Author

Bernhard Bablok works at Allianz Managed & Operations Services SE as an SAP HR developer. In his free time, he likes to listen to music, ride his bike, and go hiking. He also likes to delve into all topics having to do with Linux, programming, and, recently, nano-computers. He can be contacted at mailto:mail@bablokb.de.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF

Pages: 6

Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Raspberry Pi Geek

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Welcome

    We are living with an embarrassment of choice. Small-board computers (SBCs) are getting smaller and faster, with many inexpensive options for the hobbyist and problem-solvers and more powerful, usually pricier, options for inventors, innovators, and CPU-guzzling consumers. New SBCs are entering the market continuously, it seems.

  • Nano Text Editor Basics

    When working with the Raspberry Pi, you’ll often see the instructions, “open a file in the nano text editor.” This HowTo briefly familiarizes you with nano basics.

  • The Rasp Pi serves up a tempting web server

    The Raspberry Pi is a great web development tool for building home web servers, allowing you to experiment with Linux packages and test scripts locally before moving them to a production server.

  • Working with the Raspberry Pi camera module

    The amazing Raspberry Pi camera module opens into a whole new world of useful projects. We'll show you how to use the Pi camera for time-lapse photography, and we'll even help you set up a motion-detecting surveillance camera.

  • Android Pi

    Your Android device can be a versatile companion for Raspberry Pi. We describe some useful apps to help you make this happen.