Another addition to the pint-size computers.
The Zbox nano AD12 Plus didn’t blow me away with its performance, simply because it’s a PC designed for media consumption and maybe a few everyday tasks. The revised GPU and sizeable HDD make for a fairly responsive PC, however the overall performance was just marginally better than the Zbox Nano XS AD11 Plus.
Zotac markets the Zbox nano AD12 Plus as the “perfect palm-sized home theatre mini-PC”, and for the most part this is true. The improved GPU really helped when watching full HD video from my network drive, and even YouTube videos on full screen showed no stuttering or interruptions. A rather amazing feat was that I was able to launch Diablo III and run the game on the minimal settings – the framerate did get chopping in certain areas, but this game would probably have never run on earlier Zbox models.
As with previous models, the Zbox nano AD12 Plus bundles with a Windows-compatible media remote, which lets you access the Windows Media Center to view content on your PC and network. There’s an included IR receiver that you can connect if the IR port on the front doesn’t pick up the remote properly. Again, there’s no OS on Zbox nano AD12 Plus so you’re going to have to plug in an optical drive to install the OS and bundled drivers.
For the most part the Zbox nano AD12 Plus does a good job of keeping itself cool despite just having one internal fan. While the side vents aren’t of the most appealing design, they help pass through enough air to keep the unit cool under most circumstances. Only when I ran the benchmarks in rapid succession did the system fan kick in a little louder than usual. Even with large files being copied to the HDD the system was barely audible, so overall it can be installed almost anywhere and forgotten about.
The Zbox nano AD12 Plus is a minor improvement from the Zbox Nano XS AD11 Plus, and handles media playback a lot better than the previous model. The new graphics chip certainly makes for an improved experience, and the option to use DisplayPort or HDMI is also a welcome addition. If you’re looking for a compact HTPC to setup in your living room and are cut for space, then this is the unit for you.