I recently had the opportunity to take the out for a test drive. The form factor of the new Raspberry PI is the same with the exception of the LED’s being moved from the right side to the left side of the board (Pi facing up with USB data ports facing you). If you have a clear case or you don’t mind having your view of the LED’s blocked then most cases that fit the Model B+ or the Pi 2 model B will fit the Pi 3.
I upgraded my micro SD card to a clean install of Raspbian Jessie using SD Formatter 4.0 to erase my old Wheezy install then NOOBS to install Jessie. If you prefer, the foundation does have a process to upgrade Wheezy to Jessie via the command line; however, it’s not recommended (Procedure: Click Here). The new Raspbian operating system works on the Model B+ and PI 3 and boots straight to the desktop out of the box. You can switch this to boot straight to the command line by using the Raspi-Config program. Raspi-Config can also have Raspbian auto log you in as user “Pi”. In the pictures, the Raspberry PI 3 is the unit plugged in (I left the model B+ with the Wi-Fi dongle in the pictures to compare against).
Compared with the model B+ the PI 3 is substantially quicker. The boot time for the PI 3 was 27 seconds to command line and 32 seconds to the desktop compared with 37 seconds and 55 seconds for the model B+ (timed using a switched outlet, using a fully updated Raspbian Jessie micro SD card, with auto log in enabled).
The PI 3’s built in Wi-Fi worked seamlessly in the background and required no input on my part other than programming the ID and password for the local Wi-Fi. All drivers were already loaded in Raspbian. Download speed is on par with the Wi-Fi dongle used on the B+ (if not a little faster). The PI also automatically logs into the Wi-Fi after rebooting to the command line or the desktop.
The updated browser that comes with Raspbian Jessie (as compared with Wheezy) can surf YouTube and play videos. Even with the desktop’s overhead, surfing YouTube is substantially better than on the B+, and video playback was flawless once I stopped scrolling around.
I was unable to find a way to play YouTube videos directly from the command line; however, I found a way to play twitch streams straight from the command line using a python package called Livestreamer along with Omxplayer. The setup information can be found here (Click Here). The app allows streams to be played in high, medium, low, & mobile quality. The channel you want to stream must be online and streaming for the app to work. This app may also work with other sites as well and streaming from the command line means less overhead.
The Raspberry Pi 3 was quite fun to work with and is quite fast. Having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in means that all 4 USB data ports can be used for projects and not communication dongles. Pairing a touchscreen and a Bluetooth keyboard to the Raspberry PI 3 Model B may mean that dongles may become a thing of the past (once the Bluetooth connection is programmed). Additional Information on the Raspberry PI 7 inch Touchscreen Display I used for this blog post can be found here: (Click Here).