ESP32 is a low cost, low power consuming System on Chip (SoC) with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible with Arduino IDE. In other words, an ESP32 board can be used as “Arduino” following some guide like we have published one in the past. ESP32 is developed by Espressif Systems and has a Tensilica Xtensa LX6 microprocessor. By the phrase “Arduino”, we mean the boards which are designed and manufactured by the company named Arduino and officially supported by the Arduino IDE. While Arduino UNO, Arduino Mega and Arduino Mini are commonly used, Arduino has a wider variety of boards like Arduino MKR 1000 which has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, even a SIM card slot. The cost of Arduino is higher when the features are compared with ESP32.
The differences of ESP32 with Arduino
- We have already explained that ESP32 is a single board while Arduino has different models. So, ESP32 has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while the common Arduino boards do not have them. When we are sharing a code for “Arduino”, it usually means it is for Arduino UNO.
- ESP32 is completely open-source electronics from a chip-set manufacturer. The official software to use with ESP 32 is ESP-IDF which has installer for Windows, Linux and Mac. One of the good feature of the IDF is the menu-driven configuration. Eclipse IDE can be used with ESP-IDF plugin. While this way coding in C langugage is standard in electronics, it is not easy for all kind of users. Arduino IDE is easier for the starters and Espressif Systems has official support to use ESP32 as an Arduino compatible board. Not all the hardware functions of ESP32 yet usable via the Arduino IDE but it does the job. Any official Arduino board works out of the box with Arduino IDE.
- Arduino was originally made for the artists (that is why the code is called a sketch). ESP32 is made for the purpose of DIY projects which can be converted to a commercial product. There are products with ESP32, ESP8266 inside.
- ESP32 has 10 internal capacitive touch sensors, an inbuilt temperature sensor, an inbuilt Hall sensor to name a few hardware features.
- ESP32 supports deep sleep mode.
- ESP32 board is manufactured by different manufacturers. Some of the manufacturers integrate an OLED display, some a camera, some sell as modules for specific use-cases.
- Arduino UNO is designed for the beginners. ESP32 is designed for the intermediate to the advanced users.
Is ESP32 Superior than Arduino?
No. The targeted users are different for these two families. Arduino UNO and its library is the base when ESP32 is used with Arduino IDE. Arduino UNO is still the best board for the children, early teenagers and the users who will use the basic electronic components such as LED, LDR, buzzer, motor and so on. It is difficult to beat the simplicity of Arduino UNO. ESP32 is for the intermediate and the advanced users who feel using Arduino UNO are easier and need the specific features of ESP32. ESP32 is great to build projects like Smartwatch Detector with Buzzer, while Arduino UNO is enough to build Traffic Light With LED Display Timer With Push Button Switch.