Since the Raspberry Pi's launch, we've seen the market surrounding these small all-in-one system boards explode. Usually, however, any form of competition that comes along amps things up only so much. Maybe a slight RAM boost, performance increase or the addition of some other functionality such as wireless. Well, for those tired of seeing these minor boosts, Hardkernel has got you covered.
Hardkernel offers four ODROID models in total, but two are considered flagship; ODROID-U2 and ODROID-X2 (pictured below). What makes them special right out of the gate is their inclusion of a Samsung Exynos4412 quad-core SoC - the same chip found in Samsung's Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II. On both the U2 and X2 models, this SoC is clocked at 1.7GHz but can be overclocked to 2GHz, while the GPU runs at 440MHz and can be overclocked to 600MHz. While overclocking a phone might not be the best of ideas, overclocking an open-air board like this is definitely feasible.
Further, the U2 and X2 bundle in 2GB of RAM, include an eMMC connector, audio outputs, 100Mbit/s LAN and micro-HDMI. The U2 is the smaller of the two, coming in at 48x52mm, so a couple of features have been altered as a result. In lieu of the full-sized SD slot that the X2 (which comes in at 90x94mm) has, the U2 cuts that down to a microSD, and while the X2 has a staggering 6 USB 2.0 ports, the U2 only has two.
Due to the robustness of these devices, external power sources are required, so bear that in mind if you were hoping to power them off of a micro-USB. Another caveat is the shipping cost: $30. We might be used to the super-cheap shipping costs from China, but apparently that's harder to pull off in South Korea where these are shipped from. Further, while these devices offer much improved performance over the RPi, their costs reflect it. The U2 retails for $89, while the X2 bumps that up to $135.