Except for the PCB material, physical properties, and manufacturing process, there is no difference.
Often, prototypes are requested as a “quick turn” order. That is to say, the customer needs the boards urgently, so the making process and shipment require an immediate approach. This is typically done to meet certain deadlines and incurs an extra cost.
In addition, prototypes can be identical to the production unit if they are well passed by an experienced team, mechanical designer, testing lab, compliance engineers, and the requirements from each discipline are well defined. Otherwise, the initial prototype(s) may be very different from the production unit that you will eventually make.
Read More: A Brief Guide to Prototype PCB Assembly
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