The Raspberry Pi is always a great gift for geeks. But what if they already have a Pi? Well, the whole point of the Pi is the number of things you can do with it, so help them out with some excellent Pi-centric gifts.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the device, we’ve answered the most common questions about the Raspberry Pi. What you need to know most is that if someone you love has a Pi, they will want to tinker with it.
With that in mind, here are the best gifts you can give to anyone who owns a Raspberry Pi.
Start With the Basic Expansions
The Raspberry Pi becomes even more useful with its official expansions. Touchscreens, cameras, and other Pi modules make the microcomputer perfect for do-it-yourself (DIY) experiments.
Hopefully, your geek friend already has these so you can get one of the other gifts below. But in case they don’t, this is where you should start.
Here’s the list of basic expansions:
- 8MP, 1080p Camera Module ($25) [UK/CA]
- 5MP, 1080p Night Vision Camera Module ($30) [UK/CA]
- 2.8-inch TFT Touchscreen ($40) [UK/CA]
- 7-inch Touchscreen ($75) [UK/CA]
Your friend will probably need a few pointers, like our guide to set up the Pi touchscreen. There are plenty of resources on the internet, and we’ve got most of the basics covered here at MakeUseOf.
The cheapest microcomputer ever made, the Raspberry Pi Zero is an excellent tool for hackers and DIY enthusiasts. Even if someone already has a Pi Zero or even a Pi, another one won’t be unappreciated, and makes for a perfect stocking gift.
The Model Zero compares well to the big-boy versions, especially for simple tasks like making a radio. In fact, we’ve already seen some amazing Raspberry Pi Zero projects. Check those out, get inspired, and grab one for your friend!
Just because you got an inexpensive gift doesn’t mean it can’t look good. The Flirc aluminum case is one of the best Raspberry Pi cases, and does more than just look good.
It is reminiscent of Intel’s NUC mini computers, and it’ll look good on any home entertainment center. Flirc’s case also has a built-in heat sink, which is a major plus since the Pi can heat up with some tasks.
While the Flirc is great, the UniPi is perhaps the best looking Raspberry Pi case. It’s made out of one solid block of aluminum, with a perforated top to allow for heat dissipation.
The UniPi is gorgeous, and can even be stacked one on top of another. The case is wall-mountable too.
You should know that this case is not compatible with the Model B+, but it’ll work with others.
If a Raspberry Pi isn’t permanently connected to a monitor, this touchscreen case might be the next best thing. Plus, it tilts to an angle, so you can even use it with a keyboard and mouse.
The case has a standard VESA mount so you can attach it anywhere. There’s also a neat little LEGO-like building bocks slot. This way, you can attach peripherals to the case, like a camera module.
Keep in mind, this is only the case. The display and the Pi are sold separately. It works with the official Pi display, so we’d recommend going with that. Set it up, and there’s a lot you can do with this one.
There’s an official Raspberry Pi starter kit, but ignore that. Most Pi users already the essential components they need. What you can give someone is the joy of learning to do experiments with their Pi.
Now, building your own Pi starter kit is the cheapest option. But OSOYOO has put together a learner’s kit that is low-cost and easy to gift. The kit is intended for those who want to learn DIY projects with a Pi.
There are 22 different kinds of products in the kit, with a total of 111 items. It doesn’t include a Pi or the basic components, but that’s not what we’re aiming for here anyway.
The Raspberry Pi 3 has Bluetooth built in. This means you can free up a USB port if you use a Bluetooth keyboard. And ideally, it should have a mouse or a trackpad with it.
The Gosin UltraThin all-in-one is one of our picks for the best wireless keyboard and mouse combo. It’s a gorgeous device made out of metal, with a large trackpad to boot.
Just in case your geek friend has an older Raspberry Pi without Bluetooth, don’t worry, it comes with a USB receiver dongle as well.
The Raspberry Pi doesn’t come with any memory installed, but it accepts standard microSD cards. Like with any computer, there’s no such thing as too much storage space. But chances are, your favorite geek hasn’t splurged on a high-capacity memory card.
But what is the best microSD card? The Samsung Evo Plus 128 GB microSD card is reported to work well with different Raspberry Pi models. You could just as well replace it with any of the other tested cards on this list. The PNY 256 GB card has also worked well with the Pi 3, in case you want to gift extra storage.
A large microSD card is tremendously useful. It lets someone install multiple operating systems on the Pi, or load it up with photos or movies.
Did you know you can convert any Raspberry Pi into a fully functional laptop? That’s right, all you need is the pi-top case. Make sure you deselect the option for “Include Raspberry Pi 3” when you are ordering.
The pi-top is a well-built and sturdy laptop, mainly meant to teach children how to code. It’s the ideal first laptop for your kid. The company has even made a custom pi-top operating system loaded with apps like Scratch to boost this learning.
But even if you don’t want any of that, you can still use the pi-top. Pop your Raspberry Pi into the given slot, and it’s a regular laptop. You get a 14-inch Full HD screen, as well as up to eight hours of battery life on a single charge. Not a bad deal at all!
For a friend who likes to tinker around with electronics, the RasPiRobot Rover Kit is an incredible and memorable gift. The Pi isn’t provided in the box, but everything else is to make your own rover.
Your friend will first spend their time assembling the rover, and then connecting the Pi to it. Add a couple of batteries and the rover is ready for instructions.
There are two ways to control the RasPiRobot Rover. You can use a remote control to guide it where to go. But be more adventurous and give it autonomous control, after setting up the ultrasonic range finder. It’s one of the weirdest but coolest projects for the Raspberry Pi.
The official Raspberry Pi magazine, MagPi, is now available across the world. In the US, it costs $129 for an annual subscription. What’s more, it comes with the latest Pi Zero and cable bundle.
MagPi is one of the best resources for Raspberry Pi owners. Every month, people will get project ideas, tutorials for programming, and other Pi-related information and guides.
MagPi also has a much cheaper digital version, with an annual subscription of $27, if you’re interested in that.
The PiCade is the original nerd dream of building a retro gaming console with the Raspberry Pi. It costs a pretty penny, but hey, some geeks deserve it.
The PiCade is an arcade cabinet kit that has everything a hacker would need, except the Raspberry Pi itself. It takes only about two hours to build, without needing any special tools. Black powder-coated panels, built-in speakers, and a perfect retro design make the PiCade picture perfect.
If the PiCade is a bit too expensive, there are other alternatives to the PiCade, including some do-it-yourself options. After all, no gift can top something you made for the recipient.
Pi Owners: What Gift Would You Like?
Raspberry Pi owners, help out those friends of yours who want to get you the perfect gift.
If you had to choose something from the internet’s vast database of Pi products, what would you want as a gift?