C.H.I.P. – The $9 Microcomputer from Kickstarter!

hello everyone I’ve got a Kickstarter war to inbox free today and this is chip this is a little nine dollar computer which was a very popular Kickstarter project last year they raised I don’t know how many times their goal but let me go ahead and unbox this because I want to see what’s in here and that way you could get a better idea of what this is so let’s go ahead and oh I don’t think I should have done that let’s see I think that was on those little tabs that you’re supposed to pull back let’s see or no it wasn’t okay whoa cool you know what this actually solves one of the questions I had with it right now but that’s weird why is it pink but I don’t care color means nothing let’s see Wow here’s the actual chip itself attention of sir precautions for handling electronics weight electrostatics sensitive devices okay duly noted give me my chip all right let’s see it’s bigger than thought was gonna be but as you can see it’s very small Wow ah you know I didn’t expect you to have this little plastic thing I guess they eye that onto it and then that’s the little internationally recognized symbol for chip which is that little thing right there but also for some reason this project has a weird fascination with bananas they always hold this chip up next to a banana to show how small it is I don’t know what that’s supposed to be about some sort of inside joke that I don’t get but um let’s see so it has a USB input right there as this which is a headphone jack but also outputs composite so you see that’s where this comes in and and for a while when I was a when I looked at the project they only had composite going out to the video signal and so part of me was like oh my god I hope that it’s not you know a mute signal I hope that it does more than video but thankfully according to this it will go in output audio as well because there is some composite out there which does go ahead and put out video and audio so who thankfully they already include this in it because for a while I was thinking like ah jeez I’m gonna have to get one of those splitters so then see if it even works but thank God you guys made a really good choice by doing this and let’s see then there’s microUSB and then a whole bunch of computer mumbo-jumbo and symbols and hieroglyphs I have no clue what those are and then there is for power in but I think he also powered by USB so that’s not a problem for me right there and yeah this is just a fascinating project is it really got a lot of notoriety for being a nine dollar computer so when this came out especially with like Raspberry Pi and everything out there for like about $35 or so a nine dollar computer was like wow holy crap that that is absurdly cheap we thought the PI was cheap but damn this thing is real cheap and it has like like 1 gigahertz of processing power so I mean it’s it’s pretty fast I don’t know the whole specs right now sorry I’ll you know what I’ll go ahead and put a little a little shaded column right here with all the specs because I don’t have them offhand but um I was attracted to this just because it was a nine dollar computer sounds like yeah whatever I’ll just take a chance hopefully there will be cool stuff for it in the pitch video they did show emulators very nice I was like you know what that could be a really cool thing for emulators however there is a problem with this because as you guys have known for my other analysis videos and everything I coined this term called the early worm effect and that is when you have an idea which is revolutionary or you think it’s revolutionary and my little theorem that I came up with is that if a product truly is revolutionary then bigger companies will make a better copy of it and unfortunately that’s what happened with chip because it was this nine dollar computer and that’s why I got all the buzz for it was like oh my god it’s a nine dollar computer and then Raspberry Pi came in and they made the PI zero for five dollars oh yeah somebody took their thunder and completely stole it so nine dollar computer that’s no longer as big a selling point as I thought it was because now Pi has a five dollar computer so um yeah the good thing though the good thing those I took a chance on this and I went ahead and spent nine dollars plus shipping whatever camera came out so like fourteen bucks or something but still for 14 bucks I got a computer on a chip so that’s really cool so I don’t really think that I missed out that much yes I fell into the trap of the early worm effect I bought into a product which has since been made or at least that price point has been made obsolete by the pi0 a bigger company making a better full better product in the sense that it’s cheaper but who knows maybe this will actually be a better product I don’t know I haven’t turned it on or anything I don’t know what I can do with it but it could be a nice little nice little

piece of kit to fill around with and like I said I liked it actually puts out composite because I am a big proponent of CRT gaming so I really I really like it that this is a little chips I can use to hook up to a CRT monitor they even have this video online where they found like this old one those green scale like Apple monitors like you know just laying in an alley somebody had thrown it away and then they went in and picked it up so they actually connected to it and it works then you could use something like that and that’s really nice I like it it does have composite out because a lot of these chip devices they have HDMI out and of course that’s for modern TVs and everything so I guess they have their purpose but like I said I like CRT gaming so this is going to come in come in real handy for me and so maybe this is the right device for me maybe this would be better for me than a PI zero but who knows and but they do have like an HTML HDMI out kit you see that there’s these little pieces that will stack on to it I think there’s a VGA out and also an HDMI out a little kit that you could add on to it and also there’s this little kit that you can get where where it’s like this handheld almost like PDA looking thing with a keyboard and so you can like actually code you know portably with a little screen and everything and then you just like connect this like in to the back of it or something and I thought that was really cool I almost almost went for that because I was like oh that would be such a great handheld to have but then I just kind of thought about a nun and I made the right choice saying that you know what that’s just a little bit more investment than I’m willing to invest in an idol computer so I’m not gonna go that far and that was a good decision to make because I mean yeah maybe a PI zero would be a better option in the future or maybe those uh the portable computer thing will be a better option for me in the future I mean it’s not like it’s going away I hope I hope those things don’t go out of production or anything but either way this is a really nice place to start and hopefully there will be some cool emulators cool thing that cool things that you could do with it and again I’m looking forward to composite output so let me fill around with this let me see what I can do and then I will come back and show you what is what this thing is cool when I first saw the boot screen scrolling on a CRT TV I started laughing uncontrollably I’m getting so many warm memories just watching this again it reminds me of when I was a kid and my first computer was a hand-me-down Commodore 64 and you know what the composite signal actually looks pretty good on an HDTV as well I was surprised it was so clean and I have to admit that on the CRT television the text can get a little bit muddy if it’s too small but you don’t really get that problem with a modern flatscreen so as long as you’re not a stickler and you don’t mind taking a little bit of a hit on the visuals then if you want to hook it up to a Martin television with the composite cables I would say that’s very doable the OS on this thing is also super easy to use it really reminds me of Linux Mint and that’s a good thing and as a package manager for installing you programs and that’s very very helpful but I gotta say the most obvious disadvantage here is that the browser is very slow it really does not feel like this thing has a 1 gigahertz processor there are times when it’s so slow that the browser is just impossible to use and I was really disappointed to see that that includes YouTube it was able to play some of my videos but it seems like you always had to stop every five seconds to buffer but if they can correct that browser then I will recommend that all of you get one of these chips because then you guys can enjoy my content on a CRT television which is how I intended all of my videos to be seen of course they include a few open source games on here but you know I want to try emulation and that part sucks because I was not able to get the emulator to work properly first of all it sucked because I was using a keyboard so there was no real way to you know get control in there I didn’t have any free USB ports and my Bluetooth controllers can be recognized at first I tried hi again and it wouldn’t work it said that it needed some sort of a plugin and after I told it to use an alternate then it just crashed it would never come back so I was only able to try nes emulation and it didn’t really turn out that great there were tons of problems all the way through again this doesn’t feel like a 1 gigahertz processor there was also wrong with the emulation window because no matter what I tried I could never get into the proper 4 by 3 resolution and I figured out what the problem is it’s not just the emulation window that’s off it turns out the whole screen is down scaled from 16 by 9 to 4 by 3 I realized this because when I looked at the footage everything looked fine that’s because my video capture automatically defaults to 16 by 9 so I converted the 4 by 3 image that I record from chip I think that’s pretty stupid maybe there is a way to change the setting but if there is I couldn’t find it I guess it would be easy to correct on most HD TVs you just tell the TV to stretch the image but I see this is the flaw because I expect that if the default output is composite then the default aspect ratio

should be 4 by 3 and if you attach one of those HDMI boards then it can switch into 16 by 9 but just having the default output as a 16 by 9 image and 4 by 3 that’s pretty dumb and I hope there is a way to change it alright so I wasn’t able to get the emulator to behave and the browser is really really slow so you might be thinking I’m gonna say you know forget about this device if you’re at my level it’s not really something that you should get and maybe there is some truth to that but I’m actually gonna say that this device has a lot of promise I could tell the the operating system it’s it’s a lot easier to use I thought it would be and I think that with a little bit of tinkering with you know the apps and you know the settings and everything I could have gotten it to work really well so I’m actually excited I really want to see what we could do with this thing and some other stuff I should mention there was a little glitch that I encountered where I tried to power it up and the LED lights would go on it was the little LED lights are right here they went on and so the unit should that should have been on but it was not saying out a video signal and I was like oh my god i rebus today it’s it’s broken fry it or something unknowingly and this was just out of the blue after I hadn’t used it for a few days but then I looked online and it turns out that that is actually a known bug that they’ve been having and so they actually have instructions on how to do like a little kind of like a boot recovery thing and it’s actually really really simple it takes less than a minute actually what you do is that you get like a little jumper and with this they recommend using a paperclip but they also say on there that if you don’t have a paperclip which honestly I couldn’t find around me at the time I couldn’t find one they said just go ahead and use one of those like little zip tie things and one little wire ties and then just strip it so what you do is then you have I’m not going to illustrate because I might have the wrong one but you just go ahead and bridge to the little connections on this and then you run this little recovery program on your on your computer which works works with Windows which is just absolutely brilliant usually on these little Linux things they always use Linux like even for if you want do anything on your computer with it you have to use Linux but with this that’s really good they were able to use Windows right there for morons like me and anyways you bridge the connection right there you run the program which seriously takes 30 seconds and then it’s back to normal then it’s just perfect and it didn’t delete am i any of my info or anything it was not a you know factory refresh or anything so I like they are you know doing some they’re having a little bit teething problems I mean not anything drastic that was probably you know the biggest thing that is tripping up some people who have gotten there so then they think they’d stayed out of the box and it’s not and so but those things are gonna happen I mean it is a Kickstarter project or just getting getting off off on two wheels for the first time and they’re they’re actually doing really well so they are providing awhile updates it seems like almost every week when I would plug this in there would be new updates to download so they are doing that and one other thing I should mention um it is password protected when you go in there like whenever you try to install anything there’s a password protection that was driving me crazy I was like ah what the what are you guys doing like how do i how do I get through this you know you guys didn’t provide me any instructions there’s no password there’s not supposed to be supposed to be open-source you know must be open but it turns out that the password is the same for all of them the default password is chip CH IP so I just use that that should save you some frustration because I know for me I was thinking I was doing something wrong that I had messed up a setting and I was trying to find a setting to you know remove the password and of course there was none but yeah so chip is the password that you’re in you’re gonna need to use there and um yeah that’s pretty much you know what one more thing that I should tell you about the little back part right here the plastic that is actually an extra that they include for the Kickstarter backers I didn’t know that and so this the little plastic part that is the case so so yeah this is what they call the case and so it is a nine dollar computer but would not include that typically and the case it retails for two bucks so I mean that’s not really too much so $11 computer I guess you could say right here but I only paid nine of course and so yeah you you could use this or if not you could buy it without it and if you get it without it this is something knighted I made a little case for it oh I decided to use the little chip case as a case for this thing so you see I put in there and I would secure with electrical tape on the bottom and then you just close it up then all right there’s your little ports and everything so yeah I have the little wires coming out here then there’s my little my little chip case that I would just have right there by my TV so yeah that works really well and aw this thing it it just works so well with a TV eh ah just so

much nostalgia just just bundle it up in this thing I I miss I miss one you could you know have your your computer hooked up to a CRT uh either monitor TV whatever and uh one of the cool things about this though the best thing about it and as you guys know I didn’t really try it out too much I didn’t really dive into this thing like like I should have because this review I was hoping I spent a little bit more time with it but it was actually cut short because here’s the thing you know that you really got a good kickstart project you know that you picked one really well when people are just banging at your door trying to buy it from you and that’s what happened to me because I was on a forum and it wasn’t even about the chip I was just on in this discussion and then somebody mentioned the chip and so I post a response just a short one saying like hey that’s pretty cool that you mentioned that I actually have one and then I got a message in my personal message inbox over there from another user saying like dude we’re looking for a chip we need one um were with some little company or I don’t know some team that’s making something and they really need a chip so they could prototype their their new software whatever they’re gonna be running and so they offered to buy it from me and I we came to a deal that I would not take their money instead I asked them I was like guys I really I really regret that I didn’t get the pocket ship the little PDA looking thing the handheld portable chip I I really regret that I didn’t get that so tell you what if you guys go ahead and buy that for me if you put in an order for me for that and send it to me then I will go ahead and give you the chip and so that’s what we did we came to that agreement they would do that and so that’s amazing I mean I got what with that thing it’s like 50 bucks so then plus $10 shipping so that’s like $60 I got bit I basically sold this for for six times what I bought it for so that is just amazing that a it boggles my mind but still I think that this was a really cool impulse purchase because that’s really what it is I mean I don’t know how to program or do anything with this thing so it was really an impulse purchase and like I said I’m not using it to its full potential so I hope that those guys will be able to UM we’ll be able to show what this thing can do and hopefully this this one that I’m holding will go off to do really really cool things and um otherwise I I like it and even when I was talking to them I was asking them like you know why are you so interested in the chip I thought that the the pi0 would be better and they actually said that the chip it has a few advantages that the pie doesn’t for instance um you can go ahead and connect power up to these boards in these I think they’re called headers aren’t they I don’t know but anyways these these things you can go ahead and connect things to it so it’s a really nice nice device for someone who’s tinkering with it and instead of the pie where it’s kind of like desktop emulation type thing so it’s really good for that and also has its own memory so where’s the pie zero it doesn’t even come with an SD card you have to add your own memory to it but this one actually comes with four gigs on it and otherwise it they just said the there’s it’s a little bit better for somebody who would be tinkering with this rather than the pie where it has it you could do a lot with it but it has a few set parameters that it’s best for the pie zero I mean and yeah that’s another thing I should let you know um when I was using this I felt that I felt a little limited because I couldn’t connect like like an SD card or anything to it because I had the the composite out going and then also the power was going in here through the through the micro USB and then the full USB I had a little uh I had a little plug in there for uh it was it called um it’s like this Microsoft keyboard and then touch touch Mouse thing touch pad on the side so I was using all the ports right here and so therefore I couldn’t get you know a jump drive or anything like that in there and that was pretty much an error on my part because when I think about it I could you know found a way to put a flash drive on there because I could have used the power coming out through here and not only that but this also supports bluetooth so if I used a keyboard which had a Bluetooth connection instead then I wouldn’t have to use this so you see if I had power coming in through here and then bluetooth then I could have had two USBs right there available to me so this one actually does have some capabilities that the PI 0 does not have the PI 0 I do not think that supports bluetooth I’m almost positive that it doesn’t so this one it has a few more capabilities I hear the the guys at ship they got a really good deal on the on the r8 processor or whatever whatever the hell that thing is and so that’s why they were able to get this so cheaply so that’s why the guy was telling me he’s like no the the chip actually has a lot of capabilities that we haven’t seen yet you know for that price but yeah so the part that I like most is that I was able

to trade up so that pocket chip that I wanted at the beginning which I did I just didn’t want pay for back then now we can just do a straight trade for this into that and yeah I have to get rid of it right now and I won’t see that pocket chip until I don’t know like may or june or i don’t know when and they’re probably backordered anyways but that is probably the best part because I’m like wow I picked the best Kickstarter campaign I could actually trade it sell it whatever for for more than what I paid for it and that is one thing that we got to talk about because there’s like a chip shortage and that’s why you’re able to sell it for more than what you got it for and I did engage them the pocket chip I think that goes for I think like 49 bucks and plus shipping and that pretty much is what these things are going for on eBay so I didn’t catch them or anything like that but that is something we need to talk about because at least in this year at least at the time I’m making this video the whole nine dollar computer five dollar Raspberry Pi zero that is a myth that actually does not exist right now and that’s pretty sad because it seems that like resellers have really taken over the market and yeah I guess I’m a filthy reseller now but especially with the pi0 I was really surprised because I was like you know pi whoever it is that makes that I mean they they make tons of these things I mean they should be able to you know meet meet supply and demand everything and but no that’s not the case is impossible pretty much to get a $5 PI zero on eBay I think they were going for like 35 or so at the lowest at the lowest at least at the time of making this video so I don’t know it seems that resellers have taken over the market that’s kind of sad for people who want to use this and you know we’re looking forward to the future of $5 and $9 computers so at least for the time being at least at the time I’m making this video that is a myth that you could get a computer that cheaply at least tonight but if you pre-order then you might be able to get it later and in fact with the PI zero I don’t think they are taking pre-orders at least not that I could ever find but with a chip they are and then they say that those are going to start shipping out in June but I’m sure there’s a queue so it might actually take a little while but I’m really glad that I got this and and it seems that it seems that it’s very capable bull and when I was looking up an article I I was looking at the price comparison because I was really surprised at how capable it is because they were doing like a comparison the the chip versus the PI zero and I’ll going to put a link to the article because it was it was really interesting the way they calculated this they actually said that it’s more expensive to get the PI zero because you have to add so much stuff on to it and honestly I’m having a hard time trusting their math because they were saying that in order to run the chip all you need is $10 you just need the nine dollar chip and then a USB cable for power but that’s not exactly true because for the composite cables those ones came with mine but from what I seen there on their site to order I think the composite cables are actually an extra so you would actually have to get those ones as well but it was really interesting how they were saying that the PI 0 is actually more expensive to run because it does not have a board memory so you would have to get a micro SD card and if you go by just a regular you know $1 per gigabyte type type of math then even a four gig micro SD card that’s gonna cost you 4 dollars so you need that and then plus you need like a USB OTG cable it has to be powered USB because that is how the PI 0 is going to get its power and they just racked up a whole bunch of stuff and they said they actually cost like between my 25 and 30 bucks to run the PI 0 so it actually is a lot more expensive according to them again I don’t know if I should trust that math but it seems like this is actually a better deal because it just has more on it it’s a more complete unit and so I think that it’s more this is more competing with the Raspberry Pi whereas the PI 0 is more just competing with this thing’s price but not really with its capability so that’s something you should really keep in mind and I hope that that will help this thing take off because I would really like to see some cool stuff come out on this thing or at least people you know to do really cool stuff with it kind of like the retro PI and everything that people are doing with raspberry PI’s so hopefully hopefully we’ll see that sort of thing and yeah that’s really all I guys say about this and I’m really happy with it I’m happy with this purchase I’m sad see you go i I’m gonna be sorry I’m gonna be missing this thing but I I know that it’s gonna be doing something really cool in in its its new owners hands and otherwise I mean I’m gonna be keeping tabs on this and hopefully the next time you guys see it it’s going to be in a pocket chip so I will see you guys next time this thing though ask to go bye-bye thanks for watching guys I’ll see you next time