A Closer Look At The ZBox
We’re sure the Zotac ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus’ sleek, curved enclosure won’t appeal to everyone, but we’re quite impressed by the diminutive machine’s appearance and build-quality.
Like previous ZBox Blu-Ray HTPCs, the new AD03 Plus sports a custom-designed enclosure, unique to Zotac. It features curved edges and a brushed aluminum upper shell that covers most of the machine. To the left side of the top of the unit, however, there is a translucent composite lid that covers a glowing ring, which indicates the machine is powered up, and a trio of activity indicators for network, drive activity, and power that reside at the far corner.
Other than the curved edges and a Zotac logo, the sides of the ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus are devoid of any noteworthy features. The front and back, however, are where the action is. On the front of the machine a low-profile, slot-loading Blu-Ray player / DVD-R is present, along with a card-reader, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, headphone and microphone jacks, and a power button. On the back machine—from left to right—are a USB 3.0 port, RJ45 LAN jack, a combo eSATA / USB 2.0 port, a DVI output, an HDMI output, an optical audio output, a Kensington lock port, and finally the power jack. What you don't see is that the ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus also has an integrated WiFi controller; the antennas are internal. Note, that the ZBox uses an external 19v / 4.74A power brick, similar to many notebooks.
On the underside of the Zotac ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus you’ll find a number of air vents along with a large, removable panel than gives users access to the machines internals. The panel is constructed of heavy metal and helps give the machine a very sturdy feel. When removed, the drive and memory can be easily installed / accessed and the unit’s low-profile cooling fan is visible. The Zotac ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus-edition we have here included 2GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive, but a standard “non-Plus” version is always available as a barebones kit that does not include memory or a drive.
Also included, but not pictured with the Zotac ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus are a wall mount and a DVI-to-VGA adapter.
Obviously, with its features and sleek form factor, the Zotac ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus is designed to be a home theater PC. And with the E-350 APU and a DX-11 class Radeon HD 6310 GPU at its core, it should be well suited to the task. We should also note, that in its stock configuration, the Zotac ZBox Blu-Ray AD03 Plus is not a silent PC, due to its spinning HD and cooling fan, but the machine is most definitely quiet and acoustically unobtrusive in a living room environment.