Zotac Zbox Pico Is A Smartphone-Sized Windows PC
New technologies are enabling increasingly tiny desktop PCs, for better or worse. I've covered a few of these boxes now, but Zotac's latest puts those to shame. The aptly-named Zbox Pico PI320 is not much larger than your smartphone, yet it's a full desktop system running Windows 8.1 (with Bing; more on that later).
Intel's 2.2w Atom Z3735F chip is key to the fanless Pico's 4.5 x 2.6 x 0.76" dimensions. Despite the low TDP, four cores at up to 1.83Ghz will be more than enough for most computing tasks. There's also 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage – unsurprisingly, neither are expandable.
While the 32GB flash might be a little cramped for home theater PC duty, the micro SD card slot can provide up to 128GB extra, and external drives – which go up to 6TB or so each, these days – can be attached to the three USB 2.0 ports.
Speaking of HTPCs, the Zbox Pico's sole video output is HDMI, and the Atom's integrated graphics should easily handle 1080p video. Meanwhile, a headphone jack, 10/100 wired LAN, 802.11n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0 round out the rest of the connectivity.
The whole thing is powered by an AC adapter, and, as is the usual for these small PCs, a VESA bracket in the box allows easy mounting to the back of a compliant monitor.
On the software front, Zotac will load Windows 8.1 (32-bit) with Bing on the Pico PI320. This is regular Windows 8.1 with the search engine set to Bing. The change isn't permanent, but the cost savings are, allowing Zotac to sell its system for a lower price than it would've with non-Bingified Windows.
That lower price is $199, and the usual online retailers will be your friends later this month.