Raspberry Pi gift guide: The best choices for Christmas 2018
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The best Pi gifts around
More than 22 million Raspberry Pi computers have been sold, so there’s a good chance you know someone who owns a Pi or two.
If you’re stuck deciding which Christmas gifts to buy for the Pi lover in your life, then check out our selection of the finest kits, add-ons and cases for the $35 computer.
The Raspberry Pi Official Guide
If want to help someone get started with their Raspberry Pi, check out this official 244-page beginner’s guide, written to be intelligible no matter your level of expertise.
Available here for u00a310, with free shipping worldwide, as well as as a free PDF.
This Pi-powered robot arm is designed to be simple enough that kids aged 11+ can build and program it.
Adventures in Raspberry Pi
Another option if you or your children have bought a Raspberry Pi but don’t know how to get started.
Relying heavily on graphics and screenshots to hold the reader’s interest, Adventures in Raspberry Pi walks older children (11 – 15-year-olds) through the basics of programming and tinkering with hardware, tasking readers with completing a series of projects that will see them flashing LEDs and driving motors using the Pi. It also won’t cost the earth, available for around u00a313.92 or $25 in the US.
Adventures in Raspberry Pi components
If you’re planning to work your way through every project in the Adventures in Raspberry Pi book then this u00a314 kit, available for $19.98 in the US, provides all the components you’ll need to complete the book’s nine tasks.
Google AIY Voice Kit
Want to build your own voice-controlled assistant using a Raspberry Pi? Google’s got you covered.
The $49.99 kit can be stuck together to create a cardboard version of the Google Home smart speaker, which retails for more than $100. The finished speaker will be capable of various tasks, such as hotword detection, understanding natural language and responding to voice commands. Those with more technical know-how can broaden the speaker’s vocabulary, using Google’s open source machine learning framework TensorFlow.
Google AIY Vision Kit
If you’re interested in using the Pi to spot people and objects in the real world, you could pick up Google’s AIY Vision Kit.
Like the voice kit, this product provides all the hardware you need to carry out computer vision on the Pi, and detailed tutorials on how to set it up.
Once ready, the kit can run various demos, including object and facial recognition.
Available for $90 from here.
Kano Computer Kit Touch
If you fancy doing something a bit more ambitious with your Raspberry Pi, why not build a full-blown computer.
The $249.99 (u00a3229.99) Kano Computer Kit Touch is designed to make building a Pi-based, touchscreen laptop as simple as slotting together blocks of Lego.
While the machine is described as a laptop, the finished computer is composed of a 10.1-inch HD (1920×1080) screen, which houses the computer unit, and a separate laptop-sized wireless keyboard. Designed to be usable by children from 4 upwards, the bundled software includes more than 100 coding challenges and simplifies the creation of art, music and games using code.
Kano motion sensor
A fun way to get kids started with coding, the $29.99 (u00a329.99) Kano motion sensor provides an easy way for kids to learn how how to use sensors with the Raspberry Pi, with guides on how to set up the motion sensor, so it can be used to control games or to play virtual guitars, drums and other instruments.
Pimoroni Pirate Radio
Create your own internet-connected radio powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero W, complete with a fetching aquamarine acrylic case and 5W speaker. Putting the u00a340 ($49.95) radio together should take about 30 minutes, with only a minimum of soldering required.
This striking case is made of five layers of acrylic, with a transparent top to leave the board visible inside.
All ports are accessible, as you’d expect, and space is left to vent heat and even to install a heatsink, for those planning to push the Pi to its limits. Available for u00a38.50 or $11.95
Slim Chiclet keyboard
While the Pi is pocket-sized, you won’t always have a keyboard to plug into it when you’re on the move. This u00a38 compact Chiclet keyboard fits into a bag for when you’re out and about, available for $14.95 in the US.
This 3.5-inch, 800×480 resolution, colour display, with a capacitive touchscreen, is compatible with all models of the Pi, slotting neatly on top of the machine. Designed to be easy to set up, the u00a340 screen offers a quick and easy way of using the Pi on the move, while the US it is easier to buy this slightly larger 5-inch screen.
If a full-color touchscreen is too much, this simple 128×32 resolution, monochrome OLED screen might be a good alternative. Capable of displaying about 4 lines of text, the u00a314.10 / $14.95 display requires no backlight, reducing the power consumption.
Raspberry Pi TV Hat
With this board, you can receive and view television on a Raspberry Pi, as well as streaming television over a network to other devices.
The TV HAT is an add-on board for the Pi 2, 3, or 3B+, and receives DVB-T2 television broadcasts.
The board is initially only being sold in Europe, but work is underway to meet compliance regulations in other DVB-T2 regions.
Available here for u00a320.
Adafruit Joy Bonnet
This tiny u00a313.80 / $32.50 controller fits on top of all the Raspberry Pi Zero models, and can be used to play retro console games, such as classic NES and MAME titles, when paired up with old-skool gaming systems such as RetroPie.
tCapture the feel of arcades of old, minus the floors sticky from spilt drinks, with this u00a37 9 classic controller for retro gaming on the Pi. Pair it with an emulator like RetroPie, and you’re good to go. If it’s out of stock it is available here, and if you’re based in the US and after a classic gaming system then check out the next gift on the list.
Pi Arcade Cabinet pack
If you’re in the US then this $59.95 Pi Arcade Cabinet Pack might suit retro gaming fans, and includes the case, the joystick, buttons and wires but not the Raspberry Pi.
The $40/ u00a332 SenseHAT simplifies getting started tinkering with hardware, bundling together various sensors, a joystick and an LED matrix that the Pi can interact with.
You’ll be able to use the SenseHAT to read data about the Pi’s orientation or how fast it’s travelling — via the accelerometer, 3D gyroscope and magnetometer — as well as to measure the surrounding pressure, humidity, and temperature.
SenseHATs have been used with the Pi to help create various gadgets, including simple games, weather stations, and a wheeled robot, and have even travelled to the International Space Station.
Raspberry Pi Camera
The official Raspberry Pi camera is capable of capturing 3280 x 2464 images, and 1080p@30FPS, 720p@60FPS, and 640x480p@90FPS video.
Available for $40 or u00a325.79.
Adafruit AMG8833 IR Thermal Camera
Add Predator-style vision to your Pi with this u00a337.80 / $39.95 infra-red thermal sensor, capable of detecting temperatures between 0 and 80C.
Raspberry Pi Projects Book Volume 4
The internet is jam-packed with project ideas for the Pi, but sifting through them can be trying.
This 200-page book cuts out the chaff and offers 55 projects and guides for Pi owners to get stuck into, ranging from building a spy camera to a magic mirror, together with full instructions.
Available for u00a312.99 here, with free worldwide shipping.
Book of Making Volume 1
This book, compiled by the Raspberry Pi Trading’s official HackSpace magazine, also brings together a range of great Raspberry Pi projects, but bundles a broader range of guides covering everything from building tandoori ovens to custom drones.
Available here for u00a312.99, with free worldwide shipping.
Hands-On Coding Blocks
A great way to make programming come alive for younger children, this takes the coding blocks from drag-and-drop programming tools available on the Pi, such as MIT’s Scratch, and turns them into physical blocks that can be pieced together into programs.
Available for $30 for a pack of 12 blocks and instruction booklet.
This u00a320 / $21.99 wheeled robot chassis can be used to build a Pi-controlled bot, with no soldering required. The bot is designed to be used with the likes of Pimoroni’s Explorer HAT Pro add-on board, which will add motor drivers, alongside a variety of inputs, outputs, LEDs, and more.
Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick
For the Pi owner who wants to experiment with cutting-edge computing, the $99 / u00a384 Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick plugs into the Pi via USB, and accelerates vision-recognition tasks like facial and object recognition using its 12 specialized cores.
Power Over Ethernet HAT
The official Power over Ethernet (PoE) HAT is an add-on board that sits on top of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and allows the computer to be powered using an Ethernet connection.
The HAT uses the 802.3af PoE standard, which allows 15W to be delivered to be the board. However, power-sourcing equipment is required on the Ethernet network, so this isn’t a present for your average Pi user.
Available for u00a318 here and $20.95 here.