So you have finally settled on using a Raspberry Pi for your next project. But which model of Raspberry Pi should a beginner buy?
Raspberry Pi 3 is the top end Raspberry Pi available now, as it packs in more power and capabilities compared to its predecessors. It has 4 USB ports, enough for all your accessories. It also comes with an ethernet port for wired internet connection, a normal HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio/video composite out for audio and analog video signal.
All you need to do is to plug in all the cables you have lying around - there’s no need to buy extra cables!
Pi zero W costs only $10 compared to the $35 Raspberry Pi 3, but it is still capable of doing almost everything a normal Raspberry Pi can do, however, it lacks the USB ports, the Ethernet port, the built-in audio output and a little bit of processing power.
The small size of Pi zero W makes it an ideal choice for embedded projects. It comes with a decent amount of processing power generated by the single core processor clocked at 1GHz.
Even though the Pi zero W costs less and is powerful enough for smaller projects, it requires an undisregardable amount of accessories like mini HDMI converters, OTG cables, mini camera cables or USB hubs to fully function. All of these combined would cost you at least $25. In my opinion, beginners should consider buying the Raspberry Pi 3, as it is easy to use out of the box and has plenty of ports to connect your peripherals.
However, if you are planning to build something that has a low profile, you should probably consider the Pi zero W.
In the end, it is your decision that matters. Consider the goal of your project, its dependency on computing power and mobility, and go for the Pi that you love!