The Raspberry Pi offers the functionality of a full computer on a device the size of a credit card, though it's not exactly a multimedia powerhouse.
That's where Asus' new Tinker Board comes in. This Raspberry Pi rival is similarly small and just as versatile as the Pi, though it offers beefed-up components that make it capable of playing 4K video.
The Tinker Board's key specs include a 1.8-GHz ARM Cortex processor, 2GB of RAM and an HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K resolution. In contrast, the latest Raspberry Pi packs a 1.2-GHz processor and half the RAM at 1GB. The Tinker Board is the only PC of the two to offer Gigabit Ethernet ports, which promise faster wired speeds.
Why does 4K support matter on such a tiny PC? For starters, these credit-card-sized computers are ideal for streaming media to your TV due to their barely visible size, so having the ability to play 4K content from places like Netflix and Amazon video is a big plus. These types of PCs are also popular in the education space, and the Tinker Board allows teachers and students to display their content on better and sharper screens.
If you want your own Tinker Board, you can snag it at European retailer CPC for the equivalent of about $50. Considering that Amazon has the Raspberry Pi 3 for $40 right now, spending an extra $10 for a 4K-enabled PC you can fit in your pocket seems like a pretty good deal.
We've seen the Raspberry Pi power everything from mini robots to fully functioning clocks, and we're eager to see what the tinkering community comes up with using Asus' more powerful alternative.