Are you in the market for a powerful yet pocket-friendly single-board computer? Then the Banana Pi M5 might be the perfect option for you! In this review, we’ll take a close look at the features and performance of the M5 to help you decide if it’s the right SBC for your needs. Trust us, this little computer packs a big punch!
What Is Banana Pi M5?
With its Rockchip RK3399 CPU and Mali T860 MP4 GPU, the Banana Pi M5 is a powerful open-source single board computer that offers an impressive range of capabilities. It has the same form factor as Raspberry Pi, but offers significantly more powerful hardware. The M5 is capable of 4K video playback, 2GB RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2 support and more. The Banana Pi M5 also features Wi-Fi 802.11ac connectivity with dual-band 5GHz and 2.4GHz support for faster speeds than other popular SBCs such as the Raspberry Pi 3 B+. With its impressive specs and small form factor, the Banana Pi M5 is a great choice for users looking to build an advanced home media server or develop powerful IoT applications. 
What Can You Do With The Banana Pi M5?
The Banana Pi M5 can be used in numerous projects, including but not limited to the following:
- Home Automation – Connect the M5 with various sensors and actuators to create an automated home setup. Use your voice-activated assistant such as Alexa or Google Home for control.
- Media Server – Stream your favorite shows, movies, and music using the power of the M5 board. With its 4K video capabilities, you can enjoy rich multimedia content on any compatible display.
- Robotics – Create your own robotic projects by using the M5 as the brains of your robot. Connect servos and other components to make your robot move, sense its environment and interact with you.
- DIY Computing – Use the Banana Pi M5 to create a custom computing platform for web hosting, gaming or any other task that requires more powerful hardware than what a Raspberry Pi can offer.
Banana Pi M5 Features
The M5 board is powered by a Rockchip RK3399 processor with Mali T860 MP4 graphics, the same chipset found in some of the most powerful Android devices. With 4 ARM Cortex-A53 cores and 2 Cortex-A72 cores, the M5 can handle demanding applications and tasks that would be slow on other boards.
Memory & Storage
The Banana Pi M5 features 2GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, more than enough for basic usage. It also has options for microSD card storage for extra memory if needed.
The M5 comes with dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac support as well as Bluetooth 4.2 support, so you can easily connect your device to other peripherals or the internet. It also has 2 USB 3.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity. 
Raspberry Pi Compatibility
The M5 is compatible with most Raspberry Pi HATs and other accessories, making it a great choice for those looking to upgrade from the popular RPi boards.
Thanks to its eMMC storage, the Banana Pi M5 offers excellent read and write speeds for faster data transfers. This makes it perfect for applications that require large amounts of data to be read and written quickly.
Thermals & Power
The M5 board runs quite cool, even when under load. It also has a power-efficient design and can be powered over USB for convenience.
The M5 board has a sturdy construction, making it durable and long-lasting. The ports are firmly connected and the board itself is lightweight yet solid.
Ease of Use
The Banana Pi M5 is incredibly easy to set up and use. Its user interface is intuitive and setup takes just a few minutes.
The M5 board is very affordable, making it a great choice for those on tighter budgets.
Overall, the Banana Pi M5 is an impressive single-board computer with plenty of features and capabilities. It’s powerful, versatile and easy to use, making it a great choice for your next project. Whether you’re looking to build an automated home setup or create a powerful media server, the Banana Pi M5 has what you need! 
Pros and Cons of Banana Pi M5
- Powerful processor
- Dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 support
- Compatible with Raspberry Pi HATs and accessories
- Excellent storage performance
- Runs cool even under load
- Durable construction and lightweight design
- Easy to set up and use
- Affordable price tag
- Limited RAM capacity of 2GB
Overall, the Banana Pi M5 is a great choice for those looking for an open-source board that can handle more demanding tasks than what a Raspberry Pi can offer. With its powerful processor, excellent connectivity options, good thermals and solid build quality, it’s sure to be a great choice for your next project. On top of that, it’s also affordable, making it a great value for the money. If you’re looking to create a custom computing platform with more power than what an RPi can offer, the Banana Pi M5 is definitely worth considering!
Where to Buy?
The Banana Pi M5 can be purchased online from partner stores such as Amazon and AliExpress. You can also purchase directly from the Banana Pi website. Prices range from $50 to $80 depending on which version you choose.
The board is available in different versions with different hardware configurations, so it is important to check your needs before buying. The best way to buy it is to visit the official website where you will find detailed descriptions of each version, including specs, shipping options and other related information.
When selecting a store for purchasing your Banana Pi M5, make sure that the store has good customer reviews and offers reasonable shipping rates. Also look for return policies in case something goes wrong or if you change your mind. Additionally, always check the store’s payment options to make sure you can pay securely and easily.
For more information about how to purchase the Banana Pi M5, please visit the official website. There you will find everything you need to know about choosing the right version for your needs, as well as pricing and shipping details. 
How to Use Banana Pi M5?
If you’re new to using a single board computer such as the Banana Pi M5, here’s how to get started:
- Select an operating system: The most popular OS used with the Banana Pi M5 is Armbian Linux, which provides a reliable platform for many applications. You can also install Android on the device if that’s your preference.
- Download and install the OS of your choice: Once you’ve selected an operating system, download the installation file from the official website. Afterward, use a microSD card to flash the image onto the board.
- Connect peripherals: Depending on what type of project you’re building, connect any necessary peripherals such as monitors, keyboards, cameras, speakers, etc..
- Test it out: Power up your Banana Pi M5 and make sure everything is working properly by running some basic tests or applications (e.g., web browsing).
With these simple steps, you can get started with your project in no time! The Banana Pi M5 provides a great solution for many applications, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user. 
Which is better: Raspberry Pi or Banana Pi?
The answer to this question is subjective and depends on the individual user’s needs. Both Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi offer a variety of features that make them viable options for creating projects, running media servers, learning programming languages, creating mini computers, etc. For example, the Raspberry Pi Model 4 B offers more RAM and faster processing speeds when compared to its closest rival – the Banana Pi M5. However, the Banana Pi M5 has several other advantages such as an SATA port for connecting hard drives or SSDs, better onboard wireless networking capabilities than its Raspberry Pi counterpart, and support for 64-bit OS images.
Who makes Banana Pi?
What can I do with a Banana Pi?
The Banana Pi’s features make it suitable for various uses such as creating projects, running media servers, learning programming languages, creating mini computers, or simply using it as a desktop computer. It can be used to create a home automation system or even an AI assistant. Additionally, its SATA port allows users to connect hard drives or SSDs for extra storage space if needed. Finally, the onboard wireless networking capabilities of the Banana Pi make it an ideal choice for creating an Internet of Things (IoT) network.
Is Orange Pi the same as Raspberry Pi M5?
No, the Orange Pi is not the same as the Raspberry Pi M5. The Orange Pi is a low-cost, single-board computer designed for hobbyists, makers and other users interested in exploring new technologies. It runs on an Allwinner H3 or H2+ ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor with 1GB DDR3 RAM and can run Linux, Android and even Windows 10 IoT Core. On the other hand, Banana Pi M5 is a credit card size computer board powered by Rockchip RK3399 CPU processor clocked at up to 2GHz with Mali T860 MP4 GPU for graphics processing. It comes with 4K video playback, 2GB RAM, 64GB eMMC storage. It supports a wide range of operating systems such as Android, Debian, Ubuntu and Raspbian along with popular media applications like Kodi, Youtube etc. Both the boards support several plug-and-play expansion boards for connecting to external sensors, motors and other peripherals. They also offer built-in connectivity with WiFi and Bluetooth.
Therefore, while they both serve the same purpose – providing powerful computing power in a small form factor – they are quite different in terms of their hardware components and capabilities. Overall, Banana Pi M5 is more powerful than Orange Pi but it has its limitations too because of the MediaTek chip inside which may not be suitable for certain types of programs or projects.
How do you turn on Banana Pi?
You can turn on the Banana Pi by plugging in a power supply to its Micro USB port. Once the board is powered, press the button located between the two USB ports to switch it on. The LED lights should light up and you should be able to access the operating system from your PC or laptop. You can also use an optional HDMI cable to connect it with a monitor for easy access. Once connected, you can launch different applications and programs as per your requirement. Furthermore, if you want to configure any settings such as WiFi or Bluetooth, then these options can be found in the control panel of Raspberry Pi OS.
Is Banana Pi zero compatible with Raspberry Pi zero?
Yes, the Banana Pi Zero can be used as a compatible alternative to Raspberry Pi zero. The Banana Pi Zero is an ultra-small and low-cost single board computer which has similar hardware specifications to the Raspberry Pi Zero. It is powered by Allwinner V3 ARM Cortex-A7 processor with 1GB DDR3 RAM and runs on a Debian Linux operating system. In terms of its compatibility with Raspberry Pi zero, Banana Pi zero supports most of the same accessories, applications and programming languages as its raspberry counterpart. Furthermore, it offers built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy access to the internet or any other device connected.
Useful Video: BPI-M5 The Next Generation Single Board Computer From Banana Pi
In conclusion, the Banana Pi M5 is an excellent choice for a single-board computer thanks to its powerful features and low price. It provides an ideal platform for users seeking to build their own home media center, develop projects that require more computing power than other SBCs can provide, or simply use it as a basic desktop replacement. With support for Linux and Android operating systems, this board is perfect for beginners who are just getting started with their embedded development journey. The Banana Pi M5 has proven itself to be one of the best SBCs on the market today, providing great performance and value at an affordable cost. While there are other alternatives out there such as the Raspberry Pi 4 or RockPro64, none offer the same combination of features and performance as the Banana Pi M5.
Overall, the Banana Pi M5 is a great choice for users looking to get started with embedded development at an affordable cost. Its wide range of supported operating systems, powerful processor, and low price make it a perfect fit for many applications. Whether you want to build a media center, run intensive applications, or just use it as your basic desktop computer, the Banana Pi M5 has got you covered. With its competitive pricing and impressive features, this SBC is sure to be a popular choice for hobbyists and professionals alike.