The laughably named Banana Pi is an unabashed knock-off of the Raspberry Pi by some folks in China. The specs look pretty good on paper and I guess it is cheap. But don’t jump on that bandwagon just yet, there are several drawbacks.
Burn baby burn
This anecdote was related to me by an electrical engineer friend of mine. It happened to a friend of his and I trust my source for this story. His friend built a qaud copter and wanted an on-board cpu to control it. So he put on a Banana Pi. While flying the quad copter the Banana Pi spontaneously burst into flames!!! Yes, it burned up. But wait, there’s more. He actually called support. They didn’t address any real questions he raised but this is what the support person had to say: “Raspberry Pis burn up, too!”
By the way the CanaKit I recently bought which included the new Raspberry Pi 2 comes with two heat sinks you attach to the CPU and another chip. It seems like a good idea to have that to keep things cool.
The other drawback of the Banana Pi is that there is a much smaller user community offering helpful, free advice and project ideas (such as my blog).
I recommend against purchasing the Banana Pi. Look into a Raspberry Pi model 2 instead. With 5 million Pis sold you can see there’s something going on there worth joining. The Pi 2 seems to run all the software the older models do, and has the same size. It’s just faster.
A kit on Amazon currently costs $70. http://smile.amazon.com/Guide–Clear-Case–Power-Supply–WiFi-Dongle–Kingston-Adapter–HDMI/dp/B00MV6TAJI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1424894339&sr=8-4&keywords=raspberry+Pi+2