I’ve had a soft spot for the m5stack devices ever since I found them on AliExpress a while ago. They are really well packaged ESP32 based devices with high standards of production and design and a wealth of different add-ons and configurations. I’m on their mailing list and every week they seem to put out something interesting, whether it is a butterfly launcher or a fingerprint sensor. Their prices are at pocket money level for the most part and you can program their devices using Arduino C++, Python or a rather neat system called UIFlow which is block based but actually ends up being Python code.
This is the M5STack unit playing a game of scissors, paper, rock. It’s called an M5Stack because the base unit is 5cm in size. The stack bit is there because units and interfaces can be stacked together.
The M5Stack bit is the unit at the top with the LCD panel and three buttons. This unit is fitted into an M5Stack Faces unit which provides exchangeable face plates. The one shown is the keyboard, but there is also a calculator keyboard and a Gameboy faceplate too which comes into its own when you load up the NES emulator and play some games.
This is the M5Stick. It is even smaller than the stack and has a tiny colour LCD screen (which is presently showing Flappy Bird in play. It has fewer interfaces (although I’ve managed to connect an environmental sensor to it) and just one proper button to press.
Up until now if you wanted some M5Stack goodness you had to buy them from AliExpress, wait for them to arrive and sometimes pay import duty and VAT and sometimes not.
But this week I received an email from Cool Components telling me that they were now stocking M5 products. They are a bit more expensive than buying the devices directly from China, but they do arrive next day and you don’t get any nasty surprises with the price.
If you’re looking for a pleasing device with a lot of flexibility you should take a look at these.