Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus

Article Index

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: Overall, the new Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 is a good performer. In comparison to other ultra small form factor systems and similarly equipped mobile devices in its same class, the ZBOX Nano XS AD11 does well. The AMD E-450 APU at the heart of the system is a mild step up from the E-350 APU used in our reference systems and the E-450 had no trouble outpacing any of the Atom-based offerings. The mSATA SSD included in the ZBOX Nano XS AD11+ model we tested is also a huge step up from the pokey 320GB HD bundled with previous-gen ZBOX Nano systems. The SSD makes the ZBOX Nano XS AD11+ feel much more responsive than previous-gen ZBOX Nanos we’ve tested and we’re glad Zotac decided to go the solid state route with the XS.

We’ve been fans of Zotac’s ZBOX Nano small form factor systems. The tiny little boxes don’t break benchmark records, but their diminutive enclosures and well thought out features make them very well suited for home theater and low power applications. After spending years building my own HTPCs, Zotac came along and designed some ultra-small systems, with just the right amount horsepower, and eliminated the need to built my own. The systems aren’t powerful enough to run the latest games, but for multimedia playback and everyday computing chores, Zotac’s ZBOX Nano systems are great. And this latest addition may just be the best yet. The ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus is the smallest of the Nanos by about .75 inch all around, yet it’s slightly more powerful. In addition, the “Plus” model does away with the slow hard drive included with its predecessors in favor of a much faster mSATA SSD. At only 64GB, storage capacity is vastly decreased, but it’s more than enough room for an OS and your favorite multimedia and media center software in our opinion.

We do, however, have some concerns. The included USB WiFi adapter is basic and won't due for streaming high-bitrate content from a NAS or home server. That's the case with most WiFi adapters though, so stick with the wired connection where possible. We also experienced some quality issues with the unit's cooling fan and power button. Although the fan on our unit was nearly silent most of the time, on occasion it seemed to go out of balance and sounded like it was churning a bit. The power button on our unit wasn't always responsive either. We sometimes had to hit it multiple times to get the unit to power up.  We suspect these problems are isolated, however, and have another unit on the way. Once we test the new unit, we'll update this conclusion with our final recommendation.

The ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus has an MSRP of $359. That's a very fair price considering the hardware and accessories included with the system. Built your own E-450 based rig with a similar SSD and memory, include an MCE remote, wall mount, and USB WiFi adapter, and the price will hover in the $300+ range for a mini-ITX system, which will also be much larger. The premium Zotac charges for the utlra small form factor of the ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus is easily justified. We hope the replacement system doesn't have the same issues as the first unit we tested, because this little machine is hot.

  • Low Power
  • Super Slick Form Factor
  • Good Price
  • DX11 Graphics
  • WiFi, IR, GB LAN All Here
  • Could Use More USB Ports
  • Included WiFi Controller Sub-Par
  • No OS

Tags:  SFF, Zotac, Nano, system, HTPC, E-450, ZBox

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