Raspberry Pi Pico vs ESP32 (-S2) and STM32 Blackpill



The Raspberry Pi foundation spent a lot of money to create a new chip on the Pi Pico board for makers and gives it away for cheap. If I believe all the fanboy’s videos, it is the most important invention after sliced bread. But how does it compare with the Espressif and STM32 chips? Let’s have a closer look!
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Links:
Getting started: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/pico/getting-started/
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Raspberry Pi4 US: https://amzn.to/3pP32HZ
Raspberry Pi4 DE: https://amzn.to/3avMgaG
Where I ordered my Picos: https://www.pi-shop.ch/

00:00 Intro
01:02: What we will compare
01:22 Competitors
01:33 The Ecosystem
03:12 The role of ARM (and RISC-V)
03:35 Start of comparison
03:46 The Cores / PIO / Memory
07:21 The Pins / ADC / DMA
08:34 USB / MicroPython / Thonny /Debugging
10:35 Wi-Fi and BLE
10:55 Power Consumption / Deep-Sleep / Powering Options
12:33 Price
13:17 My Verdict
15:38 Outro

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44 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Pico vs ESP32 (-S2) and STM32 Blackpill

  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    It seems to me the Pico is rather unique as it's basically a high speed I/O controller. I don't know of any other microcontroller that is capable of 100Mhz+ lockstep (i.e. cycle accurate) operations on the I/O pins. Generally if you need to go above a few Mhz you have to use FPGA. I think it opens up a huge number of new applications e.g. with the addition of a high speed A/D and maybe an external RAM you could probably build a 100Mhz oscilloscope.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I have never programmed a microcontroller, but I have a simple project I'd like to do using one. I have also just started to learn Python. Is the Pico the best choice or should I be considering other options?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Just got mine today, and OMG it is BAD. We really need to wait till Massimo does the Arduino take on the RP2040 chip. What were they thinking? Have two minutes?
    – Unboxing experience is very bad. Wait, there is no box. Just a board in a zip-bag.
    – If you have no idea how to tackle this bastard, leave immediately, things won't get fun.
    – The website does not help you a single mm in getting code running. Adafruit takes the stick where RPi organisation left it, but their suggestion MU crashes, so I had to go program with Atom.
    – The bootloader CANNOT be upgraded as it is ROM yet it is VERY BAD coded. I really hope other companies using the chip will have room to write their own bootloader.
    – Why the F do we need to unplug this thing to write UF2 files? Do we really need to help the USB connector get a bit looser (which is really needed)
    – There is no RESET button
    – If you add a RESET yourself, the button sequence to upload a new sketch is still awkward.
    – Pin numbers cannot be used in Python, you have to do a German word drill by remembering all GPIO equivalents.
    – This thing has its pin numbers on bottom, so that is a double mess in combination with the point above: what the hell am I connecting to?
    – It does not come with headers, most suggest male headers, but they are too many to be put easily into a breadboard. Please include custom silk-print female headers with GPIO number like Arduino mounts on its boards.
    – Saving a .py file is slower than compile and upload from the Arduino IDE on a micro:bit. Besides you won't get a local copy of your code. Here we see USB 1.1 vs USB 2.0 speed in action.
    – The board could be smaller if you sand off the crenellation.
    – This has no power or data transfer LED. What's it doing? No idea! Include a blink script in all your programs to have some feedback that it is doing things.
    – After you install Circuitpython it is seen as Keyboard and you have to set up the Keyboard layout: WOOT!
    – 8 GND pins but only one lousy 3,3V pin…. why?
    So the Pi Pico is very much an ALFA release, impossible to upgrade to a FINAL release. We have to see what other manufacturers that have experience with designing great development boards come up with. Lets hope Arduino, Adafruit and Sparkfun make anything decent with the RP2040 chip that in its basis is great.
    For now, get a micro:bit v2 and have a BIG SMILE when you unbox that. 180 degrees the other direction. It even feels cheaper, as you get LED's, microphone, speaker, buttons, battery connector, accelerometer, compass and that awesome Bluetooth 5 radio!

    Reply
  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    7:40 ..What is everyday useage ? 32 lines gets eat up pretty fast if you are interfacing to a lcd and touch pad, machine or robitc control with lamy input sensors. Also these boards need buffer chips all around because they are vulnerable and run at less than 3 volts.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    HAHAHAH did anyone hear him call out Qanon!? fuckin sick. awesome video dude

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Damn! I watched this video to late and now I have two. I'm planning to use them for tensorflow micro but I think a blackpill or a esp32 would have made the job also

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    thanks for the overview, especially the MIPS comparison! but I think the PIO is not well represented: thanks to PIO, the number of hardware I2C & SPI ports and the "missing" I2S or CAN hardware peripherals on the RP2040 do not matter at all – or just very little. They can all be implemented quite efficiently in software using the PIO state machine processors. checkout the examples repo which shows plenty of hardware peripheral implementations in software: https://github.com/raspberrypi/pico-examples
    In my opinion, RP2040 is also a lot about learning this kind of novel software-based real-time multicore I/O approach which is becoming more and more relevant and has been around in lesser known chips for some years (XMOS, Parallax Propeller, TI's PRUs etc.).

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I had three projects in mind for the RP2040 and none of them is going to be working with the RP2040

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Pi Pico is just fail. There are more than enough ARM controllers available with good support, especially from STM and NXP. The stock Pi Pico board has no WiFi and no BT, which makes it mostly unsuitable for usage in smart devices. The processor architecture is again just ARM – had it been RISC-V instead, then it might at least be an alternative just because RISC-V is open and makes it more attractive to the OSS community. One would be stupid not to either use the ESP32, or the ESP32-S2.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I cannot get the Pico to run on my Raspberry pi 3 B+ and the google is no help. I read its not recommended because the update/upgrade packages for Thonny aren't caught up to Pico yet but there you are having no issue : / could you possibly clue me in Mr. Spiess? : ) Thank you for the great video, time and hard work!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    After this review, I prefer ESP32, STM, Arduinos, ESP8266 to Pico simply because of availability, price, easy order online, and massive variations models from massive suppliers.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I did some performance test. Just for fun. MicroPython/Python
    Running a simple Python script calculating prime numbers up to 10.000.
    Off cause not a fair comparrison but interesting to see:
    – ESP8266: 2945 millisec
    – ESP32: 1081 millisec
    – Pi Pico: 1333 millisec
    – Pi Zero: 310 millisec
    – Pi 4: 26 milllisec
    – PC with i5-8400 CPU: 6 millisec

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Adafruit Huzzah32 is $20. It's much more expensive than Chinese ESP32 and the original chip with wifi is only $2.50. Is this difference worth it?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I can guess ESP32-S2 supports CAN bus under the name "Two-wire Automotive Interface (TWAI)®". Because using a "CAN" brand still requires a license. Reference to ISO 11898-1 is free, of course.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I bought esp32 board with lipo support and usb serial for 3,5€ shipping included from China so I think that esp32 it's cheaper

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    The programmable IO is the most outstanding feature of the Pico. It can replace FPGAs in many instances. Someone on twitter used it to bitbang DVI (!)

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Eine kurze Frage, wird ein Video mit Raspberry Pi Pico + LoRa kommen? Ich würde mich über etwas mehr Lab und weniger Powerpoint sehr sehr freuen. 🙂

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Microcenter had Pi zero for 6 dollars and Zero W's for 9$ when they first came out, I think you'd have to get it at bulk price to get a pi zero for 5$

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Availability and price is the main issue for me.
    Here in Indonesia, the only store I can found selling Pi micro is offering Rp. 150,000 (Around $10)
    With that price Its better for me to get Blackpill (They offer around $5) or more powerful Pi Zero ($12)

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I just saw this board for the first time today. Interesting, so, a little research shows in the US at MicroCenter, retail price is 3.99, sale price is $1.99. Though, out of stock, currently, they usually hold that price when in stock for the purchase of a "single" board at one time.

    My thoughts on the purpose of UK designing a "new" chip, maybe royalties and to NOT be tied to a copyrighted CPU. And the fact that all the main players, Pi, Adafruit, etc are in the game, the should allow for excellent support, especially for the uPy and CircuitPython community.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    You are typically very picky but sounded inclined and appreciative towards PI Foundation. Kind of vouching for PI enterprise.
    May be technology is not free from geo-politics.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Thank you for the review and cutting through the hype. AFAICS the PIO is the only stand out feature of the RP2040, and it is too weak for many serious tasks. It is also not a new idea but something that Freescale already implemented in the CPU32 micros with their TPU (Time Processing Unit) over 25 years ago! BTW it was difficult to program back then also…

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I am very surprised as well that they developed their own chip and, apart from power consumption, did not manage to beat its competition. Seems foolish… what are we missing?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    I think there will be a wifi feature on stm32 platform. im kind a sure because bluetooth, lora and sigfox added to the stm32 line. There is a direction to the wifi

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    Thank you for the video. Have you never used a PSoC 5LP board such as the CY8CKIT-059? It seems very interesting also because of the very intuitive IDE.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am
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    One thing that was worrying me in RP2040 is fetch time from FLASH. It seems it has some cache (XIP) but how that will effect how big software you run and how it's structured. Comparing to STM series that has internal flash it has some advantages. If you can keep executable reasonable size (16-64k) then it's easy to copy it to RAM and execute from there

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  • June 13, 2021 at 8:24 pm
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    Best view i have ever seen !

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  • July 17, 2021 at 4:17 pm
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    Best view i have ever seen!

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  • August 2, 2021 at 6:40 am
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    Best view i have ever seen !

    Reply

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