MIZANing - ESP32 is just the modernized version of the old 8266 that Arduino began with. They still sell 8266's because they are cheap and it's good for people learning.
However, an ESP32 is only a couple dollars (literally) more -- and it's night-and-day more modernized. Even the ESP32 has been out roughly 10 years (off top of my head) and they've since released many upgraded, low-power microcontrollers. However, ESP32 is a "sweet spot" between price, performance, and most importantly --compatibility (it's become somewhat of the standard). In addition to being about 400% faster overall, you have SoC built-in functions like SRAM, Ethernet, Bluetooth, many sensors (temp, etc). It's a no-brainer.
Many people don't know this -- but I actually like to buy the ESP32 SONOF IoT switches and use these for ESP32 microcontrollers. They aren't for everything, for example, you only get two GPIO's (up to around 6+ depending on other models); however, they have an integrated DC-transformer, so they can plug directly into mains-power -- and -- they have 1-to-4 relays (supporting mains voltage) built-in.
In short, this is intended to be sold as a simple "switch" running their firmware. It's great for that, you can't beat the price (I buy them about 40 at a time from China for slightly less than $4 USD each). Consider that gets you the transformer, relay, AND the ESP32 .. plus the plastic case and exceptionally nice, thick soldered leads -- I just don't understand how they can make money?!
While that may not be great for many purposes, it's the ultimate quick/simple/turnkey 1-2 GPIO platform. The reason many people don't know about them, is due to their use as IoT devices. People only think of them as IoT switches. However, you can wipe their firmware, no hassle whatsoever, and have a standard ESP32 setup.
Beaglebone makes exceptionally nice Arduino-style boards, very well-made, IMHO. The only problem is like most companies that build something nice, they are limited in how fast they can release updated/more modern hardware options.
This is fine because Beaglebone runs an AM3358, which is a more modern chip than the original 8266 and supports Ethernet, etc. They have released a newer ARM chipset, I don't recall the number, but it's designed for machine-learning apps (typically visual ID, etc). In my case, I move to a full-blown Pi-style solution (typically Rock64) if I need to go to that level of performance.
If you do experiment with any new Microcontroller projects, let me know what you're working on -- it's interesting to me. Perhaps we should start a post for people interested in that topic too, lol!