It seems like everyone is launching educational boards to teach kids to code these days. While many do an O.K. job, we really like the micro:bit from our friends at the BBC. Yes, the BBC. This isn't a pure hardware review of the micro:bit - we are more concerned with how why we plan to use it.
As always we have to start with our disclaimer: we paid wholesale for our micro:bit boards so this review is brought to you in part by honesty.
I think the easiest way to describe the micro:bit is something between an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi. While on the spectrum between these two industry standards, the micro:bit is much closer to the Arduino - it has some features (e.g built in sensors) that take it just a bit farther. While more capable on paper than an Arduino it is nowhere near as powerful as a Raspberry Pi - nowhere.
One thing the micro:bit does have in common with the Arduino and the Pi is superb documentation. If you visit the micro:bit website you have all of the information you need to get started in one place. This is nice because one of the most common reasons for putting a new micrcontroller down is due to a lack of readily available documentation. There are many well documented examples and the functions are explained wonderfully.
The second platform we are using to program the micro:bit is Mu. Mu is a downloaded executable which was written in Python and has the bonus feature of being able to directly program the micro:bit. Mu is a little bit more like the traditional IDE that you may be used to but it does not have a device simulator. I personally like Mu more, but I don't have a really good reason why.
In all, I like the micro:bit as a teaching tool; this microcontroller's true niche is as a tool for teaching different age groups how to code on the same piece of hardware. The price point is also a definite plus as well. You can get the micro:bit Go Bundle for less than $17 and that lets you take your little project on the move.