The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is the first generational leap for the tiny computer since 2016 and arrives a year earlier than many expected.
The new board is a significant upgrade over the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, offering a faster machine with more memory and support for dual displays.
The bump to the processing power of the Raspberry Pi firmly seals its credentials as a credible low-cost computer for everyday use, with Raspberry Pi 4 handling web browsing and office tasks as well as a budget laptop. As a low cost computer designed for kids to code their first applications, it's never felt better.
One change you will notice is that the Raspberry Pi 4 breaks the Pi's longstanding $35 ceiling. While the base model is still available for $35 with 1GB RAM, it's also available with 2GB memory for $45, and 4GB memory for $55.
Click through the gallery for a guided tour of all the new features on the board.
Same size, different layout
As you can see, while the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, on the left, is the same size as the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, it has a different layout.
The change has been necessary to incorporate the dual micro-HMDI ports on the board.
The new layout means side panels in cases for older Pi boards won't fit correctly. I also found the board overheated when playing video while using an older case, with the computer throttling performance to reduce temperature.
The Raspberry Pi 4 runs on a Broadcom BCM2711, a new SoC which sports a quad-core Arm Cortex A72-based processor, running at 1.5GHz -- a more modern and slightly faster CPU than the quad-core Arm Cortex A53-based CPU in earlier boards. The VideoCore 6 GPU should be able to playback 4K@60FPS H.265-encoded video.
The memory chip is now on top of the board, with the Pi 4 offering up to 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM -- considerably faster than the LPDDR2 RAM found on earlier Pi boards
The newer, faster RAM available on the Pi 4 makes a considerable difference to how comfortable the machine feels to use as a desktop computer -- particularly when browsing the web -- and with dual-display support is a good fit for budding developers looking for a cheap machine.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Wireless connectivity is similar to the Pi 3 B+, with the Raspberry Pi 4 offering dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, but Bluetooth is upgraded to 5.0, compared to the Bluetooth 4.2 found in the Pi 3 B+.
The board can be used with two monitors at once via its dual micro-HDMI ports. These are able to support up to twin 4K@30Hz screens or a single 4K@60Hz monitor.
As with previous boards, the Pi 4 also includes a 4 pole stereo audio output and composite video jack.
USB 3.0 arrives
The Pi gets faster ports for hooking up storage and other peripherals, with 2 x USB 3.0 and 2 x USB 2.0 ports.
The position of the USB and Ethernet ports has changed, with the USB ports now to the left of the Ethernet.
Better hardware support
Like the Pi 3 B+, the Pi 4 also sports a 40-pin, general purpose input-output (GPIO) header for hooking up other boards, sensors, motors, and homemade hardware to the Pi.
The pin layout is identical to earlier versions of the Raspberry Pi and the Pi 4 should be compatible with many hardware add-ons for earlier boards.