Comparative analysis of Arduino boards (official and compatible)

As with Linux distributions, Arduino also has a multitude of editions, each one designed for a specific audience or for a specific set of tasks. There is such a variety of official, unofficial and compatible models that it is not uncommon for people to be unable to differentiate the exact features of each of these wonderful boards.

For that reason, in this mega post we are going to detail all models official ones existing today, as well as exposing some of the interesting unofficial and compatible ones. You should bear in mind that the official Arduino models amount to almost a quarter of a hundred at the moment, and that there may be hundreds if we add the compatible and unofficial ones.

Note: If you want to join the Arduino fans and start making your first steps, you might be interested in our introduction to Arduino to learn from scratch in a simple way and buy the Arduino UNO board available in our shop.

Note 2: this article contains some affiliate links (Amazon and eBay) which help us to finance ourselves if you purchase any of the plates through them, thank you very much!

Official and non-official or compatible Arduinos

The first thing I would like to do is a distinction between official, unofficial or compatible, as they are not the same thing. Let's look at the differences between these groups of boards:

  • Officials: are those official boards manufactured by the Italian company Smart Projects and some have been designed by the American company SparkFun Electronics (SFE) or by the American company Gravitech. Even the giant Intel has collaborated in the design of one of these boards... Arduino Pro, Pro Mini and LilyPad are those manufactured by SFE and Arduino Nano by Gravitech, the rest are created in Italy. These boards are the officially recognised ones, they include the logo and are the only ones that can carry the Arduino trademark.

Official logo of the Arduino project

  • Unofficial or compatible: are Arduino-compatible boards but may not be registered under the Arduino name. Of course they are designed and manufactured by other companies. These developments do not contribute anything to Arduino's own development, but are derivatives that have been developed to meet other needs. These often use a name that integrates the suffix "duino" to identify them, such as Freeduino, which we will talk about later.

You can do it yourself create your own badge compatible with custom Arduino and in this case it would become an unofficial board. And the name under which you register your invention cannot contain the word Arduino. Your design may even be attractive and eye-catching enough that members of the Arduino development community will include it as an official board. They are waiting with open arms for better boards based on other architectures (e.g. other than ARM and ATmega AVR, such as x86, PIC, ...).

You may even notice that in the menu Tools from Arduino IDE there is an option called Record start sequence. This option can be used to record the bootloader sequence on the official Arduino microcontroller that for some reason has become unconfigured or the microcontroller chip has been replaced by another one. But it is also a handy tool for programming a new microcontroller that you have introduced on your own "duino" board.

Homemade "duino" plate

I would like to make a clarification on compatibility, since not all are compatible at the same level. For example, there are boards that are compatible at the development environment level, i.e. only at the software level (so you can use the Arduino IDE to program them). Others are compatible at the hardware and electrical level, so you can use existing Arduino shields and modules without any problem.

When selecting the board for our project we have to keep this in mind to avoid surprises. We may be interested in a compatible board for certain hardware qualities that Arduino does not have, or for licensing reasons, but want it to be compatible with the Arduino IDE development environment. On other occasions you may simply want compatibility in terms of shields but need to use another compiler (AVR Studio, Makefiles,...).

If you are not sure what you can do with these boards, I leave you a collection of our articles on the subject, you will surely find an interesting project.

General characteristics

Before I get down to business and describe one by one the Arduino boards and their corresponding compatibles, I would like to write about a series of important data influencing the choice of the Arduino board according to the use we are going to give it.

Arduino UNO board with delimited parts

The main thing we need to know is what kind of projects we are going to implement. This gives us an idea of the number of pins analog and digital (normal and PWM or pulse-width modulated to simulate an analog output) that we need for our work. This first scrutiny allows us to discard some simpler boards that do not have enough pins or, on the contrary, to discard those with more pins in order to reduce costs, since we are satisfied with fewer pins.

We can also deduce the code size that we are going to generate for our sketches. A very long program, with many constants and variables will demand a larger amount of flash memory for storage, so you must choose a suitable board to avoid falling short.

The RAM will be responsible for loading the data for immediate processing, but this is not one of the biggest stumbling blocks, as this would only affect the processing speed. The RAM is linked to the microcontroller, as both affect the processing speed of the Arduino.

On the official Arduino's we can differentiate between two fundamental types of microcontrollersThe 8-bit and 32-bit ATmega AVR-based chips and the 32-bit ARM-based SMART chips with superior performance, both created by the company Atmel. In principle you should not be guided by your desire to have a 32-bit chip, since for most of the projects we implement an 8-bit chip is sufficient.

Finally, as regards the voltageThe voltage of the Arduino board is not very important at the electronic level, except in some cases, to take into account the amount of voltage that the board can handle to assemble our circuits. This is not a major problem, since an Arduino board could even work with voltages of 220v AC with the use of relays, for example. But when we want to dispense with an external power supply, we must take into account that this is the voltage that can be handled. And among other things mark the limit so as not to destroy the board with unsupported overvoltages. But don't confuse the voltage at which the microcontroller works with the voltage at which the peripherals on the board work.

In any case, the best-selling and most recommended plate para la mayoría de proyectos, sobre todo si estás empezando, es la Arduino UNO. Es suficiente para la mayoría de proyectos, tiene un buen precio y dispone de unos parámetros equilibrados.

Official plates

Among the official plates you can find a multitude of models. All of them are specially designed for a specific purpose, compatible with the official shields and modules, as well as with the Arduino IDE. We are going to try to detail their main features in order to differentiate them from each other:

Arduino UNO

Arduino UNO board

It is the most widespread platform and the first to be launched on the market, so we can base our comparison with the rest of the boards on this one. All the features of this board will be implemented in almost all the other boards, except for some that we will see. It is based on an Atmel ATmega320 8-bit 16Mhz microcontroller running at 5v. 32KB of flash memory (0.5KB reserved for the bootloader), 2KB of SRAM and 1KB of EEPROM. In terms of memory, it is one of the most limited boards, but it is not insufficient for almost all the projects on the net. The outputs can work at higher voltages, between 6 and 20v, but a working voltage of between 7 and 12v is recommended. It contains 14 digital pins, 6 of them can be used as PWM. There are up to 6 analogue pins. These pins can work with current currents of up to 40mA.

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Arduino TRE

Arduino TRE

First Arduino board manufactured in the United States. It integrates a 1Ghz Texas Instrument Sitara AM335x processor based on ARM Cortex A8 with 512MB of DDR3L, which gives it up to 100 times more performance compared to other boards such as Leonardo and Uno. This opens the door to more advanced applications and support for Linux-based systems. On the one hand it still features the 16Mhz Atmel ATMega32u4 microcontroller with 32KB of flash and 2.5KB of SRAM, along with 1KB of EEPROM. It has 14 digital pins, 7 PWM, 6 multiplexed analogue, and its SBC part has HDMI, USB, microSD, support for LCD connector, etc... All compatible with Arduino shields and Arduino IDE.

Arduino/Genuino 101

Genuine 101

This is a board that is known as Arduino 101 in America and Genuino 101 outside the United States. This new board was presented at the Opening Conference at Maker Faire in Rome, and is priced at around 30$ (€27). Genuino 101 follows the same philosophy as the official Arduino boards, but the Intel Curie module is a small, low-power module powered by the 32-bit Intel Quark SoC. This SoC contains an x86 microcontroller (a unique opportunity to program on an x86 platform, moving away from ATMega and ARM), 80KB of SRAM (24KB available for sketches), 384 KB of flash memory, DSP, Bluetooth, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, etc... For the rest of the features, such as connections and size, it is the same as Arduino UNO and compatible with its shields.

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Arduino Zero

Arduino Zero

Similar in appearance to the Arduino UNO, but this board hides some surprises compared to the UNO platform. Instead of the Atmel ATmega microcontroller based on 8-bit AVR architecture, the Zero contains a powerful 48Mhz Atmel SAMD21 MCU with a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 core. With 256KB of flash memory, 32KB of SRAM and an EEPROM of over 16KB per emulation. The operating voltage is 3v3/5v (7mA) and it contains 14 digital I/O pins, of which 12 are PWM and UART. On the analogue side there are 6 inputs for a 12-bit ADC channel and an analogue output for a 10-bit DAC. In short, this board is intended for those who are short of Arduino UNO and need a little more processing power.

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Arduino Zero Pro

Arduino Zero Pro, board appearance

The Zero Pro is an enhanced version of the regular Zero model. It is ideal for projects that demand more computing power, as it integrates a powerful 32-bit microcontroller such as the ARM-based Cortex M0+. This runs at 48Mhz clock, and is integrated in an Atmel SAMD21 MCU. All other features are similar to the Zero.

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Arduino Yun

Arduino Yun

It is based on the ATmega32u4 microcontroller and an Atheros AR9331 chip (which controls the USB host, the micro-SD port and the Ethernet/WiFi network), both communicating via a bridge. The Atheros processor supports the OpenWrt-based Linux distribution called OpenWrt-Yun. It is a board similar to the Arduino UNO but with native Ethernet, WiFi, USB and micro-SD capabilities without the need to add or buy separate shields. It contains 20 digital pins, 7 can be used in PWM mode and 12 as analogue. The 16Mhz ATmega32u4 microcontroller operates at 5v and contains a memory of only 32KB (4KB reserved for the bootloader), SRAM of only 2.5KB and 1KB of EEPROM. As we can see, it falls short in this respect. However, it is complemented by the 400Mhz MIPS-based AR9331 running at 3v3. This chip also contains 64MB DDR2 RAM and 16MB flash for an embedded Linux system.

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Arduino Leonardo

Arduino Leonardo

The board is based on a low-power ATmega32u4 microcontroller running at 16Mhz. The flash memory has a capacity of 32KB (4KB for the bootloader) and 2.5KB of SRAM. The EEPROM is 1KB, also very similar to the Arduino UNO in terms of storage capacity. The electronics and voltages are the same as the UNO. But this microcontroller can handle 20 digital pins (7 of them can be handled as PWM) and 12 analogue pins. As we can see, it contains the same pins as Yun, only without the network functionality. The volume occupied by Leonardo is smaller than that of UNO, as it lacks the pin inserts and instead has holes with connection pads on the board itself. The size of the USB connector on the board is also much smaller, as it uses a mini-USB instead of a USB connection to save space. This makes it ideal for space-saving projects, but all at the same price as UNO.

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Arduino Due

Arduino Due board

It is a board with a 32-bit Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller. This chip, which works at 84Mhz (3.3v), provides considerably more computing power than the previous microcontrollers we have seen. This makes it ideal for all those who need a project with a high processing capacity. As it has a 32-bit core, it can perform operations with 4-byte data in a single clock cycle. In addition, the SRAM memory is 96KB, higher than the rest of the boards previously seen and incorporates a DMA controller for direct memory access that intensifies the memory access that the CPU can do. For storage, 512KB of flash is available, a very large amount of memory for any programming code. Voltage support is identical to UNO, only the pin amperage extends to 130-800mA (for 3v3 and 5v respectively). The system has 54 digital I/O pins, 12 of which can be used as PWM. It also has 12 analogue, 4 UARTs (serial, as opposed to UNO's two), USB OTG connection capabilities, two DAC (digital to analogue conversion) connections, 2 TWI, a power jack, SPI and JTAG. As we can see, the connection interface is very complete and allows a multitude of possibilities.

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Arduino Mega

Arduino Mega

Its name comes from the microcontroller that drives it, an ATmega2560. This chip works at 16Mhz and with a voltage of 5v. Its capabilities are superior to the ATmega320 of the Arduino UNO, although not as superior as ARM-based solutions. This 8-bit microcontroller works in conjunction with an 8KB SRAM, 4KB of EEPROM and 256KB of flash (8KB for the bootloader). As you can see, the capabilities of this board are similar to the Due, but based on AVR architecture instead of ARM. In terms of electronic features it is quite similar to the previous ones, especially the UNO. But as you can see at a glance, the number of pins is similar to the Arduino Due: 54 digital pins (15 of them PWM) and 16 analogue pins. This board is ideal for those who need more pins and power than UNO provides, but the performance required does not make it necessary to go ARM-based.

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Arduino Mega ADK

Arduino Mega ADK

This board is based on an ATmega2560 like the Mega version seen above. But its main advantage is that it has an interface prepared to be connected via USB to Android-based mobile devices, thanks to its IC MAX3421e. This allows you to have all the capabilities of an Arduino Mega board (equal in terms of other features) plus the possibilities of joint development with an Android platform.

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Arduino Ethernet

Arduino Ethernet

If you want an Arduino UNO but with Ethernet capabilities you have two options, buy an Arduino UNO and an Ethernet shield to integrate it, or the other option would be to buy an Arduino Ethernet. This board is quite similar to the UNO, even in appearance, but has networking capabilities. Its microcontroller is an ATmega328 running at 16Mhz (5v). It is accompanied by 2KB of SRAM, 1KB of EEPROM and 32KB of flash. The rest of the electronic features are the same as those of the UNO, except that it adds Ethernet capability thanks to an embedded W5100 TCP/IP controller and the possibility of connecting microSD memory cards. The available pins are 14 digital (4 PWM) and 6 analogue. The thing to note is that Arduino reserves pins 10-13 to be used for SPI, 4 for the SD card and 2 for the W5100 switch.

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Arduino Fio

Arduino Fio

It is an Arduino board reduced to the minimum expression. Due to its size it is especially considered for mobile wireless projects or to be inserted in small spaces. It works with an ATmega328P microcontroller, a version similar to the Ethernet but working at a lower frequency, 8Mhz. Because it is so small, it lacks certain conveniences, for example, to upload sketches you have to use an FTDI cable or an additional Sparkfun adapter board. Also, the working voltages are reduced to a maximum of 3.35-12v. 14 digital pins (6 PWM) and 8 analogue pins are the only ones available on this board. Its 2KB of SRAM, 32KB of flash and 1KB of EEPROM don't help either, all this will limit the size of the sketches and the circuit of the project.

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Arduino Nano

Arduino Nano

They started with an ATMega328 as in other boards seen previously, but after revision 2.x it was replaced by an ATmega168 at 16Mhz. Its dimensions are even smaller than those of Fio, only 18.5×43.2mm. Its small size does not detract from its ability to be a complete board, but it does require a mini-USB cable and has no external power connector. This version was designed and produced by the company Gravitech, especially for low-cost applications where size matters. Electrically it behaves like a UNO, with 14 digital pins (6 PWM) and 8 analogue pins. But its capabilities have been reduced with the new revisions in pursuit of lower power consumption. So it has gone from 32 to 16KB of flash (2 reserved for the bootloader), from 2 to 1KB of SRAM and from 1KB to 512 bytes of EEPROM.

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Arduino LilyPad

Arduino Lilypad

Specially designed to be integrated into garments and textiles, i.e. it is a "wearable" version of the Arduino. It was developed by Leah Buechley and SparkFun Electronics to be used for the same purposes as other Arduino's but with certain limitations in exchange for its integration capabilities and flexible base. It is based on two different microcontroller versions, both low power versions called Atmega168V and ATmega328V, the latter more powerful. Both work at 8Mhz, but the former works at only 2.7v and the latter at 5.5v. It has 14 digital pins (6 PWM) and 6 analogue pins along its perimeter. It also integrates 16KB of flash memory for program code, 1KB of SRAM and 512 bytes of EEPROM.

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Arduino Pro

Arduino Pro board

It contains an ATmega168 or Atmega328 microcontroller, with 3.3V and 8Mhz or 5v for 16Mhz versions. It contains 14 digital I/O pins (6 of them are PWM) and 6 analogue pins. This board designed and built by SparkFUn Electronics integrates between 32KB and 16KB of flash depending on the microcontroller on which it is based (2KB reserved for the bootloader). What is common to all models is the KB of SRAM and the 512 bytes of EEPROM. Despite its name, the Pro version is not one of the most powerful versions, as we can see. But it is designed for advanced users who need flexibility and low prices.

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Arduino Pro Mini

Arduino Pro Mini

It is the little sister of the Pro version. In addition to its flexibility and low price, it is also small in size. To reduce cost and size it has the minimum components (no integrated USB connector and no pin connectors). The rest of the features are very similar to the Pro version.

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Arduino Esplora

Arduino Esplora board

It differs from other boards, apart from its small size and shape, in that it has a series of onboard sensors. It is good for people who are beginning to take their first steps in the world of electronics and are learning, hence its name. It includes sensors (accelerometer, temperature, light), buzzer, buttons, joystick, microphone and a socket to connect a TFT LCD colour screen. It is powered by an ATmega32u4 microcontroller running at 16MHz and 5v, with 2.5KB SRAM and 1KB EEPROM. The flash is 32KB with 4KB reserved for the bootloader. The biggest problem is its connectivity capacity, almost null, as it has everything integrated for beginners (one of the things that limits its capacity and why it is not recommended for people who want to go deeper into electronics and want more flexibility).

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Arduino Micro

Arduino Micro

Designed by Adafruit and designed for high autonomy and small size. Its price is low compared to other models. However, it has similar characteristics to other designs, such as a 16Mhz ATmega32u4 microcontroller, 20 digital pins (7 of them PWM) and 12 analogue pins. In many ways it is similar to Leonardo, but with built-in USB communication capability, eliminating the need for a second processor.

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Arduino BT

Arduino BT

It is an Arduino board with a built-in Bluetooth module that allows wireless communication without the need to buy a separate shield. The built-in Bluetooth module is a Bluegiga WT11. The rest of the features are similar to the Arduino UNO, with ATmega168 or 328 microcontroller at 16MHz.

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Arduino Duemilanove

Arduino Duemilanove

It appeared in 2009, with ATmega168 or 368 microcontroller, 14 digital pins (6 with PWM possibility) and 6 analogue pins. It contains USB connection, power input, an ISCP header, reset button,... all quite similar to UNO as it is a previous version that was replaced by UNO nowadays.

Arduino Diecimila

Arduino DIecimile

Another old board based on ATmega168 16Mhz DIP chip, with 14 digital pins (6 PWM) and 6 analogue. The rest of the features are similar to the more modern UNO that has been released to replace these more primitive designs. The "Diecimila" model is named after the Italian for "ten thousand", a way of celebrating the fact that more than 10,000 Arduino boards were sold at the time it was released. It was one of the oldest Arduino boards, released in 2007.

Arduino Primo

Arduino Primo board

The new Arduino is called Primo and is strongly committed to connectivity thanks to Nordic nRF52. This means that the Arduino Primo is designed for the IoT or the Internet of Things. Little by little, more information is becoming available about this board, which as we know will have Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), WiFi and even technologies such as NFC or IR. Great development work done by Arduino Project to adapt to new technological needs.

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Arduino STAR OTTO

STAR OTTO by Arduino

is an interesting board, as it integrates a chip from STMicroelectronics and sensors from STMicroelectronics as well. Also known as ARD-Otto-STM32, it is the first board in the series to include high-performance graphics processing. This enables it to drive displays, which together with its WiFi connectivity allows the user to make connections to exploit the visual and sound experience it enables. The chip it integrates is a SMT32F469BIT6 MCU with 2Mb of flash memory and 384Kb of integrated SRAM. Then there is also 128Kb of EEPROM, 16Mb of SDRAM and a microSD card slot. It also comes equipped with WiFi, MIPI interface, digital MEMS microphones, USB, audio output, camera connector, and is compatible with UNO, Due and Mega...

Arduino Industrial 101

Arduino Industrial 101

Industrial 101 with its name leaves little to be imagined, it is a small form-factor board, ideal for projects where space saving is important. Like the YUM, it integrates an ATMega32U4 in conjunction with a 400Mhz MIPS-based Atheros AR9331 chip and Linino OS. Flash comes in at 16MB, with 64GB DDR2 RAM. USB and WiFi connections are available.

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Unofficial (compatible) boards

We will only analyse the most famous as I have already said, there are hundreds of them, and probably more of these boards are being born every day. It is true that most attention should be paid to the official models for obvious reasons of support and developer community, but we must recognise that some of the compatible boards are certainly interesting:

Almond PCB

Almond PCB

OpenBIonics brings us Almond PCB, a board similar to the official Arduino boards. It includes an Atmega 2560 microcontroller, 11 OUTPUTS, 9 digital configurable I/O pins, 2 ADC pins, 256KB of flash, 4KB of EEPROM, USB, I2C, UART, SPI, etc... In addition, if you like robotics and in particular robotic hands, Almond can use the Ada robotic hand and is also compatible with Dextrus version 2.0, another robotic hand.

AVR.duino U+

AVR.Duino U+

SlicMicro is the creator of this board compatible, both in hardware and software, with Arduino UNO Rev3. This open source hardware platform adds features compared to the official one. In order to run your code from the Arduino IDE you must select the Arduino UNO Rev3 option as if it were your board and the code will load without problems. The additional features it integrates (SlicBus Port, an additional LED, potentiometer, push button). The rest is the same as the Arduino, including its ATmega328 which it shares with some official versions. This board is interesting for those looking for the combined features of Arduino UNO and Esplora, although more limited in onboard gadgets than the latter. What is an advantage is its SlicBus port that allows you to connect special modules manufactured by SlicMicro.

Bambino 210

Bambino 210 plate

This board accepts Arduino shields, but is not compatible with Arduino IDE because they use very different microcontrollers to those seen above. Microint USA has equipped this board with an NXP LPC4330 processor, a dualcore ARM Cortex M4/M0 with 264KB SRAM, 4MB flash, Ethernet, 8MB flash, microSD and socket for Xbee add-ons. In other words, a very powerful board for large projects.

Banguino

Banguino

It is a board designed by Dimitech and based on an ATmega328. This board is compatible at software level, but not at physical level. It is a board with a small size. In terms of features it is similar to Arduino UNO, only improved on a standard PLCC68 socket to be integrated into small projects.

Boarduino

Boarduino board inserted in a breadboard

It is a board created by Adafruit and is software compatible with Arduino, but not physically compatible. So it cannot be used with the official shields. Its features are similar to an Arduino Diecimila, but its size is smaller and its price is much cheaper. It is specially designed to be plugged into a breadboard.

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bq ZUM BT-328

BQ Zum BT-328 Board

It is one of the best Arduino compatible boards created by the Spanish company bq. The truth is that this firm is surprising us with the high technology it develops and is changing the meaning of "made in Spain". The board has some new features compared to the official Arduino UNO, such as the inclusion of the three-pin set (to connect without splicing), on/off button, Bluetooth, it supports more connections thanks to its 3.2A compared to the 0.8A of the official one, it has a microUSB connection, etc. In addition, for its programming you can use a web IDE platform called bitbloq. And all this for around 35 €.

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bq ZUM Core

bq ZUM

It is a good substitute for Arduino and created by the Spanish company bq. They have put a lot of effort into improving the board and making the 100% compatible with the Arduino IDE (by choosing the Arduino BT model), so you won't have to use a different development environment. It is also cheap at around €35 and comes with a quick guide and microUSB cable. In terms of connectivity, it offers Bluetooth, three-pin sets so you don't have to do any splicing and use breadboards.

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Brasuino

Brasuino Plate

It is based on UNO with reordered LEDs, mini-USB connector, alteration of pin 13 of the circuit to reset the LED and a resistor that does not interfere with the pin function when it acts as an input. It was designed with free software such as KiCAD and is distributed under GPLv2 license, and for the rest of the features it is identical to the official one and fully compatible with it. It has been created by the Brazilians of Holoscopio for students, designers and apprentices of the electronics world. But please note that its availability is more limited than the stock of the official ones.

ChibiDuino2

ChibiDuino 2 plate

Created by the Japanese company TiisaiDipJp. It is compatible with UNO and includes two mini-USB B, a port for a 1602 LCD and a breadboard area. For the rest it is similar in features to the official one, except for its size, which is smaller, for its layout and its price it is quite cheap.

ChipKIT uc32

chipKIT uc32

It shares some features such as compatibility with Arduino IDE and chipKIT-core, as well as MPLAB IDE and PICKit 3. But its hardware varies, as the chip in this case is the Microchip PIC32MX340F512H at 80Mhz, 512Kb of flash, 32kb of SRAM, 47 I/O pins, USB, two SPI, two I2C, 16 channels of 10-bit ADC, 5 PWM outputs, 12 analogue, etc. It is therefore a much more advanced version than UNO32.

ChipKIT Fubarino

chipKIT Fubarino

In this case, the chipKIT board has been designed by the German company Schmalz Haus LLC. There are several versions of this board, but the most common is the SD version described here. It is a Microchip PIC32MX795F512H chip board, microSD capable, and in this case compatible with the vast majority of Arduino codes, although it has a PCI32 bootlader (compatible with MPIDE or Multiplatform IDE, which is a fork of Arduino IDE) to communicate with the PC. It has 512kb of flash, 128 kb of RAM, 45 pins, UART, TX, RX, USB, I2C, SPI and PRG boot management button.

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ChipKIT Lenny

chipkit Lenny

Majenko Technologies is the company in charge of the design of this board, which has been equipped with a Microchip PIC32MX270F256D at 40Mhz, with 256kb of flash, 64kb of RAM, etc. It is an advanced board compatible with Arduino Leonardo at a physical level.

ChipKIT UNO32

chipKIT uno32

Digital Inc has designed this board which, as its name suggests, is compatible and similar to the official Arduino UNO. To program it you can use either Arduino IDE or chipKIT-core. On the Internet you can find examples of source code and tutorials for both. In terms of hardware, it includes a PIC32MX320F128H chip running at 80Mhz, with 128kb of flash, 16kb of SRAM, 42 I/O pins, I2C, SPI, and USB.

Diavolino

Diavolino

Created by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, it is a layout-compatible version (i.e. the pins are in the same place and therefore compatible with the official shields) of the Arduino UNO and designed for use with a USB-TTL serial cable. Its design is attractive because it breaks away from the conventional colour scheme. The design stems from a San Francisco hacker's need for a low-cost board for teaching.

Faraduino

Faraduino Plate

It is a board developed by Middlesex University Teaching Resources. It is compatible with official shields, with an integrated H-bridge transistor, with terminals for mounting integrated DC motors (3 servos), etc... By the way, for the curious, it is named after the famous Michael Faraday. Everything is offered in a kit that you can buy together with Faraduino complements specially designed for education in schools and robotics learning.

Femtoduino

Femtoduino in a person's hand compared to a coin

Ultra small plate of only 20.7×15.2mm, barely bigger than a coin. This board was designed by Fabio Varesano for very small projects. It integrates an ATMega3298P-MU and is software compatible with Arduino.

FlyDuino Mega

FlyDuino Mega Plate

Designed by Paul Bake to be fully compatible with Arduino Mega but with special features to be used for the design of self-piloted and autonomous vehicles with multirotor for aircraft. It is interesting if you are a fan of homemade aeroplanes or drones. Its size is small, which is very important for this type of vehicle where volume and weight are critical.

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Freaduino

Easy Freaduino

Official Arduino compatible board created by Elecfreaks. Very similar to Sparkfun's RedBoard and whose creators have taken the Arduino UNO as a base for its creation. Its hardware and features are like those of the Arduino, but its price drops to 18,60$. 100% is electronically and software compatible with the Arduino UNO.

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Freeduino

Appearance of the free Freeduino 100% plate

One of the most famous of the unofficial ones created by Solarbotics, it is a totally free board for open source lovers. It is sold in SB, NANO and Mega versions, among others, and 100% is compatible with their respective official versions. In the picture we can see Freeduino SB (compatible with Duemilanove), with a very rudimentary design that almost gives a homemade feeling. But don't be fooled by appearances, its possibilities are the same as those of the official ones.

Funduino

Funduino Mega clone

It is a copy of the official board. This clone has several editions like the official one, such as UNO, DUEMILANOVE, NANO, MEGA, etc..., but its technical characteristics and programming is identical to the official one. What's more, they haven't even bothered to change the colour.

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Goldilocks

Photograph of the Goldilocks plaque

Thin Layer Embedded designed this FPGA-based board (Altera Cyclone IV, with DDR2 RAM, SRAM, flash, oscillator and an Atmel ATSHA204 Authentication IC/EEPROM) to offer extreme flexibility. It is compatible with Arduino shields, but in this case you will not only be able to program it at software level, but also at hardware level thanks to its FPGA. The same company also has another very similar model called Breadstick with male pins specially designed to be inserted into a breadboard.

JeeNode

Jeenode

JeeLabs has created a low-cost, small footprint, software-compatible Arduino board with an integrated Hope RFM12B RFM12B for wireless communication.

Leaflabs Maple

Leaflabs Maple

Almost all models are based on Atmega AVR chips or ARM-based chips from Atmel. But this board breaks with that scheme and integrates an ARM STM32 (32-bit, 72MHz ARM Cortex-M3) made by STMicroelectronics. Leaflabs has created this board with a compact design that is compatible with shields, despite its architecture. Programming can be done using the Open Source Maple IDE that implements the Arduino language so you don't have to re-learn another programming language, as well as low-level native libraries.

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Moteino

Moteino with RF antenna

LowPowerLab has created a mini board the size of an SD card with wireless communication possibilities thanks to the RFM12B or RFM69W/HW/CW chip from HoperRF. It is software compatible, so it can be programmed with Arduino IDE using an FTDI adapter or directly via USB interface in the Moteino USB version.

Motoduino

Motoduino board

Guibot has been in charge of creating this board with an ATMega328 and an L293D with double H-bridge for motor control without the need for additional external elements. For the rest of the features, this Chinese board is compatible with Arduino. This board is interesting for creating vehicles with electric motors and the use of motors in small robots.

Netduino 3

Netduino 2 Plus

It is a development board very similar to Arduino, but with a very striking peculiarity, it uses the .NET Micro Framework platform for its programming, by means of the IDE Visual C# Express Edition. It has a 32-bit ARM ATmel at 120Mhz, compatible with most Arduino shields.

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Parallax Propeller

Parallax Propeller Plate

The famous company Parallax, known for the BASIC Stamp boards among others, wanted to join this initiative by creating a Propeller board compatible with Arduino shields, but not at the software level (it is programmed with a free tool called Propeller Tool or an alternative IDE Tool). It contains a Parallax P8X32A Propeller chip, with multicore architecture with 32-bit RISC CPUs. It is programmed in assembly language or Spin language (designed by Chip Gracey and Parallax engineer Jeff Martin). This board, with its 32KB of RAM and 32KB of ROM, together with the rest of the features makes it ideal for the most professional users. The biggest problem is that it is not an open-source board.

pcDuino

pcDuino board

It's a miniPC like the Raspberry Pi, only it combines the features of a development board like the Arduino. It has an HDMI port to connect it to a screen or your TV to use it as a system monitor, plus other USB ports and a microSD memory card slot so you can connect peripherals like the Raspi, including those that add networking functionality. It can boot operating systems such as Ubuntu or Android ICS, among other Linux distributions. To run these systems comfortably, it has 1GB of RAM, 2GB of onboard flash, a 1Ghz ARM Cortex A8 (based on ARM11) processor and a Mali 400 GPU (the same one found in the Samsung Galaxy S3). All this makes it the perfect companion for advanced users who want an all-in-one (duino platform + miniPC) with hardware superior to that of the Raspberry Pi.

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PicoDuino

PicoDuino between a person's fingers

Peter Misenko created this tiny board compatible with the Arduino IDE, although programming with the Digispark IDE is recommended. It is based on a tiny microcontroller called ATTiny85. It is only 22x12mm in size. It features an RGB LED, reset button and is ideal for small projects.

Penguin

Penguin

It is an open-source "duino" development board with a PIC microcontroller. The brain that drives this board is a PIC18F2550 chip from Microchip. As it has a USB module integrated in the microcontroller, it does not need a UART/USB interface, as in the case of Arduino, to communicate with the PC. Its hardware is simple and has an integrated development environment (IDE) similar to the Arduino IDE, but is not compatible with it. The code can be written in Python programming language, an extremely simple language. Great board for beginners and those interested in mastering the programming of PICxxx-based systems.

Rascal

Rascal

Compatible with the official Arduino shields, but it is programmed in Python programming language. This makes it interesting for beginners in the world of programming, as Python is possibly the best language to start programming, simple and easy. This contrasts with the advanced possibilities it allows to implement. Rascal Micro has created this board with an ARM-based microcontroller, the AT91SAM9G20. This board was born in Massachusetts, in 2011 and although its price is high (about $175), it can offer possibilities that no official board has. You could say that it is a mix between a mini-PC with the possibility of running Linux, with network ports and SD slot for storage, and an Arduino board compatible with its shields. It also includes software to create a web server with it. The system itself can be programmed from within the system using a very simple and practical web-based editor.

Roboduino

Roboduino Plate

It is a derivative of Arduino UNO designed for robotics created by Curious Inventor. It is compatible with the official one, with a price of about 30 euros. As you can see in the picture, it has a series of parallel pins to connect sensors and servo motors more easily, as well as additional power and serial communication connections.

Romeo 2012

Plaque Romeo 2012

DFRobot has created this board specially designed for robotics or mechatronics enthusiasts. It is fully compatible with Arduino UNO Rev3 pin to pin and its electronic and programming features are similar. The interesting thing is that it includes a series of onboard features that the official ones do not have, highlighting for example the motor controller (two directions and up to 2A). Another feature is an Xbee socket that allows the project to be started immediately, without the need for an additional motor controller or wireless shields. It also works with an Atmega32u4 microcontroller, accompanied by a multitude of programmable pushbuttons and a socket for an APC220 module and Bluetooth.

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Ruggeduino

VIsta of the Ruggeduino plate

It is an Arduino UNO compatible board (including software) and is the same in almost all aspects as the official board. There are only some very interesting variations for electronics, such as the integration of electronic protection against ESD in its pins and electrical connections, something that the official UNO lacks. The price is 39,95$.

SainSmart UNO and Mega

SainSmart UNO

They are two SainSmart boards fully compatible with Arduino UNO and Arduino Mega that have followed the official branch step by step, even in the revisions (see SainSmart UNO Rev3). Even in physical appearance and colour they are quite identical to the official ones, not to mention in their technical characteristics, using even the same microcontroller. The price of the Mega is around 15 euros and the UNO version around 8 euros. As you can see, the great advantage of these boards is their price compared to the official ones. Some features are the use of an ATmega8u2 chip programmed to control the USB and convert it to serial instead of the method previously used with a controller chip. Also different is the encapsulation of the chips, which in these boards is more advanced than the primitive DIP of the official UNO.

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SAM 15×15

It is an Arduino Zero compatible board with similar features to the Arduino Zero. It is only about 28x28mm in size (for creating embedded or small devices) and has the same powerful microcontroller as the official Zero, plus I/O connections. The fast SAMD21 microcontroller can be programmed using C++ language by the Arduino software, if you are looking for C++ compatible devices.

Sanguino

Sanguino

Software compatible with Arduino and based on an ATmega644. Despite its small size, it integrates 64KB of flash, 4KB SRAM and 32 general purpose pins. It was developed in conjunction with the RepRap 3D printer project.

Seeeduino

Seeeduino

SeeedStudio has created this board compatible, both physically and software-wise, with the official Arduino Diecimila. So there will be no problem when using Arduino IDE and official shields. In its first version it had an ATmega168, being able to opt for an ATMega328 from v2.21. Certain parts have been remodelled to provide greater flexibility and a good user experience.

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SODAQ

SODAQ plate with delimited parts

The size of a Raspberry Pi board, SODAQ is a board built by Solar Powered Data Acquisition. It has a number of additional connection sockets for Xbee, Rfbee, Bluetoothbee and GPRSbee modules for communications. It is powered by a 3.7v Li-Po battery or by microUSB. The battery can be charged by solar panels and has a 2.5w panel for this purpose, as well as a battery monitor that indicates its status. It integrates an on/off switch, a DS3231 RTC and a temperature sensor for battery monitoring, and an ICSP programming head.

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Teensy

Mini footprint Teensy

It is a microcontroller-based development board, like all of them, but it comes on a small board. It connects to the PC via a mini USB cable. It is available in different versions that vary in specifications and size. The price does not vary much depending on the version, as in all cases it remains below 24$. The 2.0 versions are based on an AVR microcontroller (an ATMega from ATmel like the Arduino), while the 3.x version is based on an ARM chip. The programming software is not compatible with the Arduino IDE but there is an add-on called Teensyduino for it. Other software options are to use the WinARV C compiler and others.

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TheUno

Detail of TheUno plaque

Designed by MyFreescaleWebPage, it contains a Freescale (former Motorola) S08DZ60 8-bit microcontroller and can support Arduino shields. In terms of programming, it is not Arduino compatible and has to be programmed by a Freescale CodeWarrior IDE (based on Eclipse). The languages used are C and assembler, two powerful languages to optimise the performance of this board. For those interested, there is also a board called BigBrother from the same creators as TheUno, which integrates a more powerful Freescale MCF51AC256 (Coldfire) than its little brother. For the rest of the features it is similar to TheUno.

TinyDuino

Tinyduino compared to a coin

TinyCircuits has implemented an Arduino-compatible board at software level and with the same functionality as the Arduino UNO, but with a reduced size. It is shaped like a button and can be expanded with various suitable shields.

TinyLily

TinyLily insert

From the same manufacturer as TinyDuino comes this version that aims to replace the official LilyPad or at least compete in the same sector. It is very small and designed for the design of e-textiles. It contains tabs for communication and programming.

Twenty Ten

Twenty Ten Plate

Freetronics created this Duemilanove-based compatible board with an included prototyping area, LEDs, mini-USB connector and an altered pin 13 so that the LED and resistor do not interfere with the pin's function when activated as an input.

Versalino One

Versalino compact plate

Virtualbotix has created this compact and software-compatible design with Arduino. Its main feature is the distribution of its components, which has allowed to make a very compact and smaller board, as well as the placement of its connection pins that are not placed transversally to the board, but in parallel to save space.

Winkel Board Core

Winkel board

It is a small board that includes a 16Mhz Atmega128 microcontroller and a microUSB connection in just a few centimetres. It also has solderless GPIO male and female connections (which you can solder to the board yourself). It is an open philosophy board like the other alternatives reviewed, and comes with a pre-installed Arduino Bootloader for compatibility with the Arduino IDE.

Zigduino

Zigduino board

Logos Electromechanical has created this kit that is more than just a board. It integrates an ATmega128RFA1 microcontroller, a ZigBee for wireless network connections (IEEE 802.15.4). It also includes an external RPSMA jack and is fully compatible with Arduino Duemilanove. By implementing these network functionalities without the need for external shields, the price of the board exceeds 50 euros.

I hope you have found it useful. If you have any queries about the models shown or about others that have not been included, please do not hesitate to write a comment and we will be happy to respond.

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