In this article I have reviewed the best Raspberry Pi starter kits since they went into production for a wider range of general and specific uses from Retropie games to streaming. There’s something deeply satisfying with regards to building your own little rig.
Being a self confessed proud nerd and inventor of software I really enjoy tinkering with a Raspberry Pi in my spare time making all manner of cool things. In case you’re interested – here is my github repository. Robots particularly catch my interest but I’ve also used them for games and even streaming(which had mixed results with a Raspberry Pi 3) and I’ll go into that straight away.
If you’re just starting out and you really want a quality little bit of kit at sensible money then you just can’t go wrong with a Raspberry Pi 3 Official Desktop Starter Kit (16Gb, Black). What a great little bit of kit for the money!
Where I feel we did really well with the Raspberry Pi 3 is without doubt working on retropie games. It was extremely easy and I had no meltdowns at all. The Raspberry Pi 3 was more than capable of this function and task.
When I used it for streaming YouTube though things were extremely different. I would say the best resolution you can get away with is 720px but the screen was not at all smooth and it was a poor user experience to say the least.
Overall though for retro gaming it is exactly on the money. The official charger is rated 5.1V and 2.5A and gives excellent performance and heres a look at the technicals for anyone interested:
|Brand name||Raspberry Pi|
|Item Weight||281 g|
|Product Dimensions||16.4 x 12.4 x 6.6 cm|
|Item model number||RPi3_OffStrKit|
|Processor Speed||1200 MHz|
|RAM Size||1 GB|
|Computer Memory Type||DDR2 SDRAM|
|Hard Drive Size||1 GB|
|Hard Drive Interface||USB|
If you want something with a little more power then the next best option is the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter Kit – 4GB RAM. It goes without saying it’s more powerful than the 3 and you’re pretty much only limited by your own imagination and technical skills.
It took me about half an hour to put the bits together and then install the operating system. I am good with the software but the hardware is not my expertise, I am sure many people can get to grips with this no problem. One drawback I see around the internet is a disagreement with my opinion though. If you run into difficulty with your Raspberry Pi 4 starter kit, then head over to the Raspberry Pi quick start guide.
I’d be quick to point out that there are hundreds of tutorials online for your Raspberry Pi 4 starter kit too. If you’re struggling for ideas or fun things to do with your Raspberry Pi 4 starter kit then take a look at the link provided. At a minimum it’ll give you some spin off ideas to get going with and failing that you could go with the Freenove Ultimate Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi 4 B 3 B+ with 434 Pages Detailed Tutorials.
What you get with the Raspberry Pi 4 kit:
- Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Model B with 1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU (4GB RAM)
- 32GB Samsung EVO+ Micro SD Card and USB MicroSD Card Reader
- Case with Integrated Fan Mount
- Low Noise Bearing System Fan
- Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable
- 3.5A USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with Noise Filter
- USB-C PiSwitch
If you’re looking for something simple like NAS or Plex then this will do the job with ease. It’ll certainly handle more complex tasks too.
Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more complete, a bit more powerful then it’s the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter MAX Kit – 64GB Edition. This is effectively a complete desktop Linux machine ready to go.
This kit isn’t the cheapest but it really is a complete kit to get going and the fan is quiet and keeps things nice and cool. It could be argued that a USB keyboard to get started would be a nice addition but it’s certainly not necessary. You can get on just fine without.
When i used this kit it was easily the quickest to setup and I was off in minutes literally. Being the 64 GB naturally its the highest spec of all we’ve reviewed too. If you’re native language isn’t English and you want to use this on a 110V power supply that’ll be no problem as the powers rated at 100-240V AC and 50/60 Hz.
So there you have three great little contenders for the best Raspberry Pi starter kits. If you select any of these in this review, I am sure you will do just fine. Overall, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter MAX Kit – 64GB Edition is probably the easiest kit to work with if you’re a complete beginner!