How High Quality ESP32 Development Boards Vs Cheap ESP32 Clones Comparison Goes? Why Adafruit HUZZAH32 board costs higher than the generic ESP32 boards, like we recently shown some ESP32 projects with? You can simply run a Wi-Fi scan and compare the result with your Wi-Fi scanning capabillity of Samsung smartphone or laptop.
Adafruit Huzzah32 Feather is a standard development board with quality control and official support. It will appear that $8 per piece cheap ESP32 clones are just great. But wait, if your Wi-Fi hotspot signal is weak then it will start to show the difference. Adafruit is one of the known companies. There are other standard manufacturers such as Sparkfun ESP32 Thing, and many newer companies with official library and good official support. China clones of ESP32 DEVKIT DOIT board commonly sold as it is open source design. Price difference of Sparkfun ESP32 Thing and Adafruit Huzzah32 not huge and clearly at this moment Adafruit Huzzah32 is the winner for build quality, official documentation and support.
Espressif ESP-WROOM-32 module is a consistant hardware module and rest is the daughter board. Espressif sells own ESP32 Development Board but their support is questionable.
The PCB, PCB fabrication, quality components of other components including materials of the pins widely vary. A gold plated board can not be compared with cheaper board with somehow lead soldering with male headers. Wi-Fi connectivity is an obvious difference but other differences slowly become obvious. Many of them have designing flaw, they neither fits on breadboard, nor has standard general purpose baseboard, prototyping boards. Adafruit HUZZAH32 shows a number besides CE and the clone board just shows CE without the number. At least in the metal shield stamping there is difference.
With clones you are not getting a decent box package, a minimal guide, a minimal hardware details and manufacturer is unknown. It is not surprise that cheap China clones are sold at $8/piece. They does not need permanent staffs. May be many of those “China clones” are made in India, America and pointed towards China! Clones barely suitable to a newbie. Unfortunately they will avoid ESP32 platform and fall back to plain official Arduino UNO (which is not cheap but have less features).
When you are using good quality costly modules for serious longer projects, it is practical to use some branded version of ESP32 development board. For ordinary works for the expert hobbyists, for known spectrum of usage clones will hardly matter. Also, the power management not expected to be efficient on the clone daughter boards. Adafruit Huzzah32 Feather like boards are for serious prototyping works where transfer of the project to PCB may be a final outcome.
Espressif Systems is not quite old company to depend to develop boards. ESP32 itself a low-cost, low-power system on a chip microcontroller with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with Tensilica Xtensa LX6 microprocessor. All the alternatives to Espressif ESP32 are expensive. However ESP32 is stable SoC.
Coming to official Arduino. MKR WiFi 1010 must be mentioned. This board contains a chip dedicated to crypto communication. Onboard there is the Microchip SAMD21 Cortex-M0, the WiFi module from u-blox includes an ESP32.