The Raspberry PI 400 is a low cost but fully functional desktop computer costing less than £100. You can perform most of your daily computing tasks with the Raspberry PI 400 and it is perfect as a first computer for younger family members although I use it as my main computer.
The Raspberry PI 400 essentially has the same computing power as the Raspberry PI 4 which includes a Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM) processor running at 1.8 ghz. There are 4 gigabytes of RAM, bluetooth, dual-band wifi, gigabit ethernet, 3 USB ports, 2 micro-HDMI out ports and OpenGL graphics.
For full details of the specifications visit https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-400/specifications/
In this guide, I will be reviewing the Raspberry PI Personal Computer Kit available at the PI Hut, You can buy all of the components in the kit separately however.
The items in the personal computer kit are as follows:
- The Raspberry PI 400
- The official PI mouse
- A micro HDMI to HDMI cable
- An official Raspberry PI power supply
- A 16 gigabyte micro SD card with Raspberry PI OS installed
- The Raspberry PI Beginner’s Guide
The Raspberry PI 400 is essentially a full desktop computer housed within a keyboard making it a compact desktop solution. No big boxes are required to be stored under a desk and unlike the Raspberry PI 4 there is no need for a little box on the desk either.
The keyboard doesn’t include a number pad but there are obviously the normal number keys at the top of the keyboard and there is a full set of function keys.
Ergonomically speaking, the keyboard is nice to use and you have a nice tappy tappy sound every time you click a key. The unit itself is also pleasant to look at.
From a setup point of view, one thing that I have noticed is the USB ports are on the left side of the computer and the power and HDMI ports are to the right of them. This means when the mouse is plugged in it has to overlap the power and HDMI cables if you are right handed. The majority of people are right handed and therefore this isn’t ideal. The HDMI cable is also quite long.
If the positioning of the sockets is a slight negative then the huge positive has to be the ability to turn on the Raspberry PI 400 using the F10 function key. For the Raspberry PI 4 you either had to connect and disconnect the cable or buy a case or cable with an on/off switch. The Raspberry PI 400 has the capability built in.
Whilst there are versions of Windows available for the Raspberry PI, most people use a flavour of Linux and more often than not it is the Raspberry PI OS specifically designed for the Raspberry PI.
In order to use the Raspberry PI 400 all you will need (assuming you buy the kit) is a monitor to plug the Raspberry PI into.
The Raspberry PI kit comes with a micro-SD card with Raspberry PI OS pre-installed.
When you first boot into Raspberry PI OS it takes you through some initial setup steps, as follows:
- Choose your language, your location and timezone
- Choose a password for your user
- Set up the screen
- Connect to a wireless network
- Update the Raspberry PI
The version of Raspberry PI OS on the memory card I received must have been out of date for a while as the download was relatively large and took a fair amount of time to install.
You can do everything with a Raspberry PI 400 that you can do with a Raspberry PI 4 and the beginner’s guide will help you to get used to using the operating system.
The guide has chapters for learning about Scratch programming, Python programming and how to use the GPIO pins to learn about electronics.
The Raspberry PI 400 is a great step forward for the Raspberry PI as a desktop computer.
If you want to learn more about using the Raspberry PI 400 you can buy my ebook “The Ultimate Raspberry PI Desktop Computer Setup Guide” or you can follow all the tutorials on this site.
You will learn how to create a Micro-SD card with different operating systems, how to configure the Raspberry PI and how to customise the desktop. You will also learn how to get Netflix and Amazon Prime videos working and how to set up games emulators for playing games. You will also find out how to install other desktop environments and how to set up printers.
In summary, if your child is begging for a computer then the Raspberry PI 400 is a good starting point or if you need a computer and you don’t want to do anything too heavy such as edit videos or play the latest games then the Raspberry PI 400 is ideal.