Features, looks and specifications
The Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 comes in a simple box that clearly explains what you get with ZBOX Nano XS. The only obvious hint about its size is the "palm-sized mini-PC" line at the top, and that sums it up quite well. However, it's got a lot more going for it than sheer size.
Based on AMD's A50M chipset and dual-core E-450 APU, the Nano XS AD11 will not break any performance records but certainly keeps up with similar systems that we had a chance to compare it to. Zotac deserves praise for the deisgn, as they managed to squeeze practically every feature that you might need in a 10,6x10,6cm package and it is indeed a palm-sized PC.
Such dimensions, of course, came at a price. For example, Zotac had to stick with mSATA storage and an external WLAN adapter, but everything else ended up inside the Nano. The back side of the unit features two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI output and power jack.
The front is reserved for the card reader, ESATA/USB combo, power button, integrated IR sensor, microphone and headphones/optical combo jacks.
As was the case with all previously released ZBOX systems, the ZBOX Nano XS AD11 is also available as a barebone system in case you want to add your own mSATA storage and RAM. Zotac uses the "Plus" moniker to denote complete systems. In the case of the Nano XS, the Plus version comes equipped with a 64GB mSATA SSD and 2GB of DDR3 memory. Both models are shipped without an operating system, probably in order to keep the price down and allow users to choose between Windows or Linux.
The good side of the story is that even the barebone version comes with all the goodies inside the box including WiFi adapter, MCE-compatible remote, additional USB IR receiver that actually has a purpose, mini-optical to optical S/PDIF adapter and standard VESA mount.
The insides are accessed by simply unscrewing the four little feet that obviously double as thumbscrews. It's clever design.
As you can see, Zotac decided to go for Kingston’s 64GB mSATA SSD and 2GB of Samsung’s 1333MHz CL9 memory.
The Kingston 64GB SSD is rated at 255MB/s for sequential read and 170MB/s for sequential write with random read and write set at 11,000 and 3,000 IOPS. These specifications will definitely have a serious effect on benchmark results, so the Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus should end up significantly faster than nettops with traditional 5400rpm hard drives.