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on March 4, 2013
Thus is not a replacement for a "real" computer BUT...it's pretty neat. Takes no effort to get it set up and running once you have your operating system on a SD card (or a MicroSD in an adapter). You will need extra things to make it work:
1. Power supply. You need a power supply MICRO USB connector and at least .7 amps. A Kindle fast charger works fine.
2. Display cable. a regular HDMI cable works fine if your monitor supports it. The composite connector works, but it is *very* difficult to get a usable picture on a TV this way. You'll need to edit a configuration file to change resolution.
3. Keyboard and pointing device. Because you only have 2 USB ports and a wired ethernet port, you'll have to juggle whether you want to use a wireless USB, a keyboard/touch pad combo, etc. Most standard keyboards will work on it.
4. Internet connection (if you want internet connectivity). This can be wired or wireless. I used the edimax 7811 adapter which worked right out of the box.
5. Operating System on an SD card (minimum 4GB, class 4 - Amazon has a Sony 16GB class 10 for $11-$12 - that's what I would use). There are a number of different ways to go. The Rasberry Pi foundation uses a Debian implementation of Linux called "Wheezy" which works well. This is a free download.
6. powered USB hub. If you want more peripherals or do not have a keyboard/touchpad combo you might want one of these.

HINTS: How-to-geek has an excellent step-by-step guide to setting it up. But here's what you do. On a Windows machine, download Wheezy (free), use imgwriter(free) to write the image file to your SD Card (you can't just copy the file to the card). Assemble everything you plug into the machine except the power first, slide in the SD card (it will stick out of the machine a 1/2 inch) then plug-in the power cord (a cell phone adapter with a minimum .700 amps and a micro USB , NOT a micro B, connector) in and it should fire up to a configuration screen. The only options you'll probably need to use are A) expand the file system to take the whole card B) set your time zone and C) set the machine to boot into the graphical interface. (if you have a good power supply - 1 amp - you can overclock at this point to make the machine faster). Re-boot and you're in a very windows-esque operating environment. If you have internet, connect using the icon on the starting desktop.

Suggestion: replace the midori browser which seems very wonky with Chromium (the open-source version of Google Chrome) Open a terminal (also on the starting desktop) and type without quotes "sudo apt-get install chromium-browser"

It will browse, it will get Email it will NOT use flash (even the Chromium "built-in" is not there) because flash is not compatible with the CPU. You can *try* to use the open-source (free) "gnash" but frankly...it's not going to be very workable. If you set the machine up as a XBMC machine it will do some of this, but it is a totally different installation process.

It's fun! try it. Lots of things you can do with this. It's about the size (if you put it in a case) of a cigarette box.
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on August 7, 2015
The Raspberry Pi was my first ever "Hobby" board. I had never messed with a Beaglebone or an Arduino, and getting this board opened me up to those things. Firstly I want to tell you what this board is, then what it is not, and then you can decide if it is for you.

What it is:
- A small and cheap linux computer.
- Runs several distros that are made specifically for it's ARM processor.
- Has 512mb ram and uses an SD card for the hdd essentially.
- Small enough to fit into an altoids tin.
- $35 (sort of, more on that later)

What it is NOT:
- A replacement for your Windows desktop. (Can do this in some ways but that is not its purpose)
- $35
-- This is where some people get tripped up. Yes this object on Amazon is $35, but without other components (Sd card, power cord, monitor, mouse, keyboard, ethernet connection or wifi dongle) it is just a paper weight, and a light one at that. I would say realistically you could get a mouse, keyboard, and power supply for another $30 which makes this more like 60$-$70. Using that config would also mean you are using your TV or existing monitor, and are hardwired to your router. Still even at that extra price it is a pretty good value.

The value of this board is that it allows for the young "Maker's" imagination to run wild. I have used it for a retro emulator and a file server with an attached HDD. It worked wonderfully for these things. I also see a popular use of it as a home media center. Now, all of this being said, you do need to know a little linux to use it, or be willing to learn. I had some experience so I was not completely lost, but if you have never used linux but think "Hey I work on my home PC pretty well, i should be able to do this" think again.
I am not trying to say that using a linux based OS is difficult, but I am saying that it is different. Far different than Windows. I only give this warning because if you are not prepared to learn a lot and google the heck out of how to do something, you will be disappointed in the product. It is something that requires some time to get going and become useful, but it has nearly limitless potential.
It's small form factor and lower power consumption make it ideal for so many different projects that it is impossible to count.
This is FOR:
- People that want to tinker with a small computer for various projects.
- People who want to learn more about linux or computing in general.
- People that are looking for a possible alternative to other devices (can be a streaming device, a firewall, a vpn access point, a security camera, etc)

I would say that although this is a niche product I like the marketing that it can be for education and as a cheap PC alternative. I think that the latter is a little bit of an exaggeration for the average user, but I can see the merit in the concept. I have a raspberry pi and it has grown my love of and ability to use linux. For the price, even the extra peripherals, it is worth buying if you are one of the people I mentioned above. I do think it could be good for kids, but not kids looking for quick satisfaction. If you know a child that has at least some patience and likes to tinker, than I think they would like it.
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on June 20, 2013
This is the most fun I've had with a computer since the original Apple II, but it is way more fun and a fraction of the cost!

The whole idea here is to be able to try things and make mistakes and still be able to get to the finish line--and you get to choose where the finish line is.

There is a small learning curve with the Raspberry Pi. First is what to buy to get it to work. Second is how to connect it. Third is how to get a boot image burned on an SD card. Fourth is learning the operating system and programming tools. These things are covered in several books, but here is a quick summary of my experience that might be helpful:

0. The Raspberry Pi Model B Revision 2.0 (512MB).

1. Raspberry Pi Debian 6 "Wheezy" 4GB SD Card Boot Disk. Actually I used this to get started quickly. You can go to the Raspberry Pi web site and figure out a compatible SD card and use a Mac, PC, or Linux PC to burn a boot "disk" from a downloaded image. For me getting started quickly was worth the extra $15-20.

2. Plugable USB 2.0 4 Port Hub and BC 1.1 Fast Charger with 2.5 Amp Power Adapter, charges Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad Mini, Nexus 7. This powers the Pi and provides extra powered USB ports.

3. StarTech.com 6 Inch Micro USB Cable - A to Micro B (UUSBHAUB6 Inch) to connect from a powered USB port on the HUB and the Raspberry Pi power port.

4. USB A to Mini USB B 6 inch cable to connect from a USB port on the Raspberry Pi to the PC port on the Hub.

5. Mini USB Keyboard Model KB1500U (I had this and it worked with the HUB.)

6. Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 USB 5V 100 mA (I had this and it worked with the HUB.)

7. HDMI cable.

8. TV with an extra HDMI input.

9. Network cable, free switch port, etc.

10. a case. I use SB Raspberry Pi Case (Clear).

11. Raspberry Pi User Guide [Paperback]

You may have many of these items in various junk boxes around the house. It is a bit irritating, however, to receive the Pi and then not have a single cable to get it running, so do an inventory first.

The key is, you can make a very inexpensive complete kit to give to a child to get them really learning how a computer works--and you don't have to worry about what they will do to your PC as they experiment. (Except for creating a SD boot disk. Exercise extreme caution when entering the "dd" command!--Or just buy the pre-programmed SD card listed above.)

This really is simple. Twelve-year-olds get it running without any instructions and start entering commands in Linux. And it is a ton of fun. What can you do with a Raspberry Pi? What can your 12-year-old do with one? Visit the Raspberry Pi web site and browse for a while!

I should state that the power available at the Raspberry Pi USB ports is strictly limited. There is, in fact, a current limiter that makes using plenty of USB devices impossible on the USB ports on the Pi. Thus using the powered USB HUB solves several power related issues. Please note: not all HUBs work properly, I tried two I had in junk boxes and they did not work, due mostly to how the HUB got its power.

Although there are plenty of devices that work perfectly with the Pi, there are also many that don't . If you have a concern, go to the Raspberry Pi web site and review the compatibility lists. And just because it is on the list does not mean it works using an on-board port. With my Pi, the keyboard I use works with the HUB but not if directly attached, but it is on the compatible list. Do not buy an SD card that isn't listed as compatible. It simply isn't worth the hassle.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon September 18, 2013
I picked up a Raspberry Pi recently as a fun little tinker project. I was able to get it up an running within an hour with no previous Linux experience.

What You Should Know Before You Buy:
♦ The only thing you get with this product is the board. No accessories, cables, instructions or anything else.
♦ It is very inexpensive with a base price of $35 (not including shipping). You should expect to pay a little more on Amazon. I paid $40.
♦ It has pretty much any kind of port you will need (USBx2, HDMI, Video, Audio, Ethernet, SD Card, and More).
♦ It isn't the fastest computer you will see. It worked well as an XBMC box running RaspBMC, but I did see some lag.
♦ It is built as something to experiment with and tinker around with.
♦ Once you plug everything into this thing, you basically have a spider web of cables shooting out of every side.
♦ There is no power button which is a little annoying. You have to pull the power cable to turn it off.

Detailed Review:
♦ Hardware - There are plenty of resources on the Web that give you ideas and quick start guides, so I won't go into that here. I will just give you my basic setup pieced together mostly by stuff I already had.

1. Raspberry Pi Model B Board (Raspberry Pi Model B Revision 2.0 (512MB)).
2. Raspberry Pi Case (SB Raspberry Pi Case (Clear)).
3. Two Fast SDHC Cards (Transcend 8GB Class 10 SDHC Card (TS8GSDHC10)).
4. A Normal HDMI Cable in an HDMI to DVI converter in the back of my monitor.
5. A Normal Ethernet Cable into the back of my router.
6. A Power Bank plugged into the Mini USB port to power it (just had it laying around, a normal power source will be fine).
7. A USB mouse and keyboard I had laying around.
8. A USB Hub. I tried several that I had laying around and this one was the only one that worked: Tek Republic TUH-200 USB 3.0 +2.0 4 Port Hub.
9. A small speaker block attached via an aux cable (my monitor didn't have speakers, but not needed if you use a TV and HDMI).
10. An old Windows Media Center USB IR receiver and two different Windows Media Center Remotes.

Like I said before, this was mostly built on stuff that I had laying around at home. I did notice that most of the USB Hubs that I tried were not compatible, so make sure to check Raspberry Pi compatibility lists around the Web if you need to buy some of this equipment.

♦ Setup - First thing I did was follow the quick start guides to prepare and format the cards and plug in all the basic hardware. The best place to start is probably raspberrypi dot org. I downloaded the Raspbian image and the RaspBMC image. There is also a starter image called NOOBS, but I went ahead and skipped that one for now. I imaged the two SDHC cards that I had with the two images and then tried everything out.

♦ Use and Performance (Rasbian) - The Rasbian card started right up with a bunch of text scrolling by on the screen and then went to a configuration screen. I chose some options based on a howtogeek dot com article I read and rebooted. It then came up to a Windows like GUI. I tooled around in it for a little bit and tried a few programs including the built in browser. Network connectivity through the Ethernet port worked perfectly. There was some obvious lag when doing things, but not too bad. I don't have any experience with Linux, so Rasbian is something I will be experimenting with and learning.

♦ Use and Performance (RaspBMC) - I have toyed with XBMC a little bit, but not a lot. I plugged in the RaspBMC card into the Raspberry Pi and started it up. It booted to a really nice looking XBMC interface and skin. I was surprised how polished it looked. I did immediately notice some lag when moving the mouse around, but I got used to it. I was able to quickly find where you can add network shares and it immediately found the Windws SMB shares that I already have set up for my media. It did a really good job of scraping the movies and added them to the library pretty efficiently. I played some different movies and everything worked perfectly right off the bat. I fully expected to run into video codec problems with my MKV files, but everything worked fine. Navigating was also a little laggy, but not too terrible. I also plugged in an old USB IR receiver from one of my old desktop computer and was surprised to see that it worked immediately with two equally old remotes. I didn't expect that to work so easily, so that was nice. Video and Audio playback was very good, but at one point I did see some audio lag in one of the 1080p files that I tried out. Overall, I was surprised how polished this XMBC version was and how easy it was to set up.

Overall, the Raspberry Pi was really fun to play with in my initial experimentation. The XMBC version was really nice and the Rasbian GUI looked good. It was a little slower than I had hoped, but I'm sure my expectations were a little too high for such an inexpensive piece of hardware. All in all, I paid about $61 for the board, a case and an SD card, so not bad to tinker around with. I made up the rest of the equipment with stuff I already had. I look forward to learning more about it and experimenting with it going forward. If you are looking for a fun little project computer, this is worth a look. Just don't expect blazing fast speed.
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on July 23, 2013
First, a lot of folks have balked because they are offended by the price of this RPi. But, if you go online and search for an RPi, you will find that after tax and shipping, the price difference in under $1. And, purchasing through Amazon avails a lot of flexibility.

Otherwise, I purchased this RPi and it works as advertised. It was easy to setup except the keyboard mapping and the Edimax wireless configuration. To configure the Edimax USB wireless you need to read the online tutorials unless you are a real Linux Guru. However, it is not that hard. The keyboard set up was a bit of a pain in the a** but there are online tutorials for that also. It is best to have another computer online so that you can search for solutions.

Before I get started below on my Raspberry Pi Build, I am running Raspian Wheezy. This version has the most packages available and is the easiest to set up IMHO.

Here are the components (all from Amazon) of this RPi build:

1. RPi -- this item.
2. Mediabridge Hi-Speed USB 2.0 - (6 Feet) - A-Male to Micro-B Cable for power.
3. PowerGen Dual USB 3.1A 15w Power Supply. This is probably overkill but it does the job.
4. Mediabridge High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet (3 ft) - Ultra Series. I only needed a short cable and this one supports more that what I need.
5. SB Raspberry Pi Case (Clear). This case works fine except the power connector opening is too small and it keeps getting disconnected. I am looking for another case or I will file the opening to make it larger.
6. SanDisk Extreme Pro 8 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 95MB/s SDSDXPA-008G-AFFP. This card is probably more that what you need since the card reader on the RPi is limited to around 30 MB/s. It is more space that what you need unless you want to install lots of apps like I do.
7. I used an old Dell Keyboard and Mouse. The keyboard worked for some time while connected to a USB Hub. But later on, it stopped working. When it stopped working I connected it directly to the Raspberry Pi and used a 7 port USB 2.0 hub for the mouse and WiFi dongle.
It all worked after some configuration. I used the Plugable 7 Port High Speed USB 2.0 Hub with 3A Power Adapter.
8. I was able to get this RPi to use the Logitech Unifying receiver with K70 Keyboard and M510 Mouse. I shared the Unifying receiver with my Win7 x64 laptop using the Plugable USB 2.0 Switch for One-Button Swapping of USB Device/Hub Between Two Computers. I first pair the kb/mouse with my Win7 laptop and then I can switch back and forth between each machine. After that, my RPi will only boot properly if it sees a KB and Mouse. So, after pairing, switch the USB switch to the RPi before booting the RPi and it will be happy to see the Unifying receiver, KB and Mouse.
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on May 1, 2014
Amazing little machine. I recommend you get heat sinks, case, a big SD card, and a hard drive case. This computer has the Rasbian operating system you can put on the SD card. It is a decent operating system. It would be better if they had one based on ubuntu. The two usb ports are used by mouse and keyboard. I recommend you solder on the internal usb ports on the holes they provided or you get a USB splitter. The machine is as powerful as a computer from 2005. Some accessories I bought were:

> Drive Logic™ DL-64 Portable EVA Hard Drive Carrying Case Pouch (Black)
> Cable Matters Gold-Plated Active HDMI to VGA Adapter (Male to Female)
> CY Raspberry Pi Case (Blackberry)
> SanDisk Flash 16 GB SDHC Flash Memory Card SDSDB-016G
> Kootek Aluminum Heatsink set for Raspberry Pi - Set of 3 Heat Sinks
> Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste - (HTK-002-U1)
> RiteAV RCA Audio Video Cable (6 feet)

Almost any USB mouse and keyboard will work. I used a Microsoft Keyboard with a dell mouse. But anyway I do recommend this item.
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The Raspberry Pi is simply an amazing learning computer! I'm a recovering Microsoft addict, and this is a great device to discover the world of Linux! There's a great RPi community of people learning to do all sorts of fun things.

I purchased Raspberry Pi Hacks: Tips & Tools for Making Things with the Inexpensive Linux Computer which is an excellent resource beyond the basics. I also recommend the Raspberry Pi User Guide. There are several books with similar titles. This one is ASIN: B00HR38R8A (Jan 2014, second edition) written by the father of the RPi - Eben Upton. (ok, if I have one complaint, the user guide should be free - but ok, it is a non-profit organization certainly not making much money considering the low cost of the RPi)

My full Raspberry Pi setup includes:
RASPBERRY PI MODEL B 756-8308 Raspberry Pi B
Edimax EW-7811Un 150 Mbps Wireless 11n Nano Size USB Adapter with EZmax Setup Wizard
Multicomp Clear Raspberry Pi Enclosure (MC-RP001-CLR)
SanDisk Ultra 8 GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card 30MB/s SDSDU-008G-U46
AmazonBasics Wired Keyboard and Wired Mouse Bundle
AmazonBasics 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub with 5V/4A power adapter
SMAKN PL2303HX USB to TTL to UART RS232 COM Cable module Converter
USB to RS485 Converter Adapter ch340T chip Support 64-bit Win7
- GearMo® Mini USB to RS485 / RS422 Converter FTDI CHIP with Screw Terminals (I actually bought this RS484 adapter elsewhere, as it was rather expensive on amazon)

Be sure to check out some of the online resources such as adafruit (great project ideas), as well as The MagPi (a very good, online RPi Magazine - free!)

If you find yourself needing to login from your phone or kindle, be sure to check out the JuiceSSH app (you'll need to back load this onto the kindle after downloading from google play). Juice is a SSH telnet client. Very cool. Also - when you are ready to scale your linux project, be sure to check out the amazon aws! Create a virtual Linux machine from your browser on amazon servers!

Overall, the Raspberry Pi is an awesome device, and this keyboard was the perfect addition! I hope it will inspire the new generation to learn more about the inner workings of computers. There are very cool online resources, with project ideas such as the adafruit Raspberry Pi WiFi Radio. If interested in RPi, be sure to check out the eLinux (dot org) web site, as it has a ton of great information on compatibility.

I've been completely happy with my RPi & recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about computers!
review image review image review image review image
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on April 12, 2014
I am running Raspbian on this and it works great ( raspberrypi.org/downloads/ )
I installed it to a G. Skill SD card model FF-TSDG16GA-C6 using a single command:
sudo dd bs=4M if=Downloads/2014-01-07-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/sdc
it wrote at 11.2 MB/s so i guess the card is plenty fast

I thought i was going to need to use a HDMI cable to set it up but openssh-server is installed and running already so i spent $1.25 on a cable for nothing, maybe i will use the hdmi one day, or need the cable for something else
i logged in using the default login (name: pi / pass: raspberry) and it told me there was a quick start command, used it set some settings like i wanted and went and started setting up my stuff, when i did updates i saw a package i never saw before wolfram-engine, looks to be some fancy and very pricey math software based on google searching, i removed it to get ~0.5gb back

My PSU (Blackberry Folding Blade Charger for Playbook - 5v @ 1.8A from joycells) still has not arrived, but I found out you can power it via the USB A ports so i am using that (wish i knew that sooner, could have saved 3.99)
My desktop has power on the USB ports at all times unless i turn the switch at the PSU off so i am using a cable that came with a USB HDD case

I have owncloud 6.0.2, apt-cache-ng, and apache2 running on it, and i am going to try to get firefox sync 1.5 on it also.
owncloud has a addon for firefox sync server 1.4, but firefox 29 uses 1.5 and that comes out in about 2 weeks
ownCloud's web gui is very slow loading (CPU bottleneck), but i have no issues with the client software
maybe i will move my print/scanner server to this one day, but that would imaging that would make using tesseract (ocr software) much slower, but i will never be asked "can i print" again

I turned a old PSU into a case for my PI, now if i get a 80mm fan and some heat syncs i can overclock this quite a bit if i wanted to but then the it would not be silent and dust free

If you are planning to make a video player out of this be aware adobe does not provide flashplayer for ARM processors, doubt it would run properly even if they did, adobe has shoddy linux support

I am only using the Ethernet, SD card slot, and 1 usb port so i don't need but about 0.4A, i have not tried and video outputs or usb storage, the 16GB sd card has plenty of space for me and it has a lifetime warranty
I have been using Debian based operating systems (Ubuntu, xubuntu, linux mint) since 2009 so i know my way around the command line

Everything is stored on the SD card with these, so unless you do some overclocking you can't break it without physically touching it.
And the board feels really sturdy, not flimsy at all

flash media (sd cards / flash drives) have a limited amount of times you can write to them, so you will want a quality card backed by a good warranty as this card is the primary storage device, also the larger the capacity the higher the limit.
be sure to backup your card regularly
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on March 6, 2014
I’ve had my Pi for a half of a year now and I love it. It’s a great way to get started if you’re a beginner to linux or want to learn Python.

You can do so much with it, especially if you have a lot of developing experience. It’s also a staple if you’re a web developer and want to make your own custom sites without worrying about managing servers.

Here’s what I use my Pi for:

A regular web server: I have a light version of Apache and run a few pages off of it (good performance! Although, I’m not sure how it would do if more than 5 people were to use it at one time). It handles PHP well.

Ruby on Rails server: The pi was definitely not meant to be a rails server but it works fine (just slow). When I’m finished with my development environment I’m probably going to use something like AWS as my production server.

Database server: It has its own mysql database server that I installed which services both the apache web server and rails server.

Motion tracking: I have a web camera attached to it and run a program called motion which collects snapshots if it detects motion and uploads the photos (720P) to an external hard drive.

Proxy server: All of the fun sites (like Pandora) are blocked at my work. I set up an SSH tunnel to my pi so I can connect to any site I want without my company being able to see/control it.

And the great part is.. All of these run at once! Although, I don’t think it would survive if all of the services were being used heavily simultaneously.


If you’re planning attach power consuming usb peripherals to it, I would recommend getting a 2amp power supply. (Amazon sells a 5V 2A cell phone charger which works great). This allows me to use both a web camera and a wireless adapter at the same time. Will 2 amps be too much and blow out the PI you ask? No. The Pi will only use 5V and draw as much current as it needs and no more. 2A just means it can draw more electricity if needed up to 2A. (You could have 5V and 15A and it would be fine).
After setting it up, I SSH into it so the only thing connected to it is my Ethernet cable and power (after I was done with my motion project). This way it can use less video processing to focus on all the things I want it to do.

I also have an awesome router that allows me to port forward which is how I’m able to use it as an actual web server and SSH into it from anywhere, even outside my network.

I have found tutorials on how to get almost anything set up with the Pi- it's really easy to jump into virtually any project you want to start
You also can't beat the $3/year of electricity this thing uses.

Enjoy your Pi!
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on April 30, 2013
This is a early version of the future of computing for the working poor, some non-profit settings, and computer hobbyist and perhaps hobbits that will be attracted to it's super compact size. It is a great micro computing device that I am hoping to use to create a inexpensive computer lab for the non-profit that I work for. It is also possible to turn it in to a media center which I am hoping to try soon. I will try to remember to update this if I do. Unfortunately, I have the memory of Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap.

The good:
The price. Amazing. The hardware specs. Pretty descent.

The bad:
Roll your own OS. If you are good at Googling you are set. Would have been great if the keyboard setting had a US option without having to run a command to do that. Should have come with the power cord. A on and off dip switch or push button or at least a port for such a option would have made this a bit more awesome.

The verdict:
If you have time, a bit of patience, and like playing with emerging tech then buy it.
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