For beginners as well as intermediate makers i prefer Arduino Micro or Leonardo. It is very easy to use like an Arduino UNO or Nano and has the same features of ATmega328P as well as a must-have feature support built-in USB and can use it as a USB host Device or HID device. I also prefer Arduino Nano boards rather than using Arduino UNO boards because of its size only.
For simple and minimal projects i love to use ATtiny 16/84/85 microcontrollers(My own boards) or digispark boards. It is cheaper smaller in size and works with ultra-low power mode.
In the IoT perspective, I prefer ESP8266/ESP32 boards if you want to add wifi/BLE features into your project. The cheapest and the best solution for IoT projects so far. Have large community support and supported by different programming platforms like Arduino IDE, MicroPython, ESP IDF, etc.... Esp32 is a powerful 32-bit microcontroller capable of wrapup any heavy project we think!
One of my favourite development board is arduino.I am not specifying any model because it varies upon the projects which we are doing as well as users who handles it.For beginners Arduino boards are easy to understand as well as perfect to develop skill in their making.
Some factors which make arduino a beginner-friendly board from others are
Provides easiest debugging environment.
These boards will be helpfull for a beginner as well as a professional inorder develop their skill.(If you know how to design an arduino board eventhough its not a microcontroller you can develop a new board by yourself)
You can find enumerous libraries and IC's build for the same.
Runs on low voltage,less external circuits required for many projects,led indication(which makes a beginners' tasks and learning easy)
Community support and its fame(Almost every hardware makers will have a previous experience with this board so any doubts or questions can be easily clarified for the beginners)
Prototyping language is not that much tough(C/C++) and also this IDE can be done in every platforms like Mac,Linux,Windows.
Size-according to your project or tasks you can use different models.
I dont think there will be an ideal development board like everyone said there will be pros and cons for every boards.And also there is a main factor which made me to say like this and that is I have only used some of them like arduino,esp,pi
My favourite prototyping development board is Arduino Uno and Nodemcu #ArduinoUyir Because with these 2 board we can do most projects. Single Analog pin is the only problem with Nodemcu. That can be resolved by any other basic Arduino family development board. Both these two boards I fall in love with hardware. Nodemcu's WiFi+Uno's digital/analog pins. Also using these two a begginer can learn almost everything in hardware.
I like Arduino nano, because it's size makes fit in any projects beautifully and most of all, it is as easy as any other Arduino. The Arduino IDE is very simple and support all of its boards. For any beginner who has projects with 8-bit needs, Arduino nano can give its best..
@kowshik1729 Wow that looks very nice indeed, i do have like 50 or 60 development boards of esp32 i'm gonna try this myself...