If you’re looking for the smallest PC possible, then the contest is over. All the Nano XS has to do is work, and you’ll be satisfied. However, it does rather more than that. See also Group test: What's the best budget PC?
Despite its almost ridiculous size, it’s smart plastic and aluminium body manages to pack in far more ports and connectors than the most other mini PCs. Somehow, the case finds room for six USB ports: two of which are USB 3.0 spec and one of which doubles as an eSATA connection. See all budget PC reviews.
It also includes a gigabit ethernet connector, card reader, HDMI and optical digital audio. Zotac has cheated slightly by providing the 802.11n Wi-Fi as an external USB adaptor, but it’s included in the price, so we’re inclined to forgive them.
Inside, the Nano XS AD13 Plus uses a dual-core 1.7GHz AMD E2-1800 processor and manages to outperform both the MSI Wind Box DC110 and the Sapphire Edge VS8 – no mean feat for a PC of this size.
However, one crucial area which has been compromised is that of storage: only 64GB has been included in the form of an mSATA SSD card. You’re really going to need some external storage to make the most of this PC and this must be factored into your budget.
The bundled Windows Media Center remote control gives us a clue that Zotac is expecting many users to set up the PC as a media centre, probably storing the bulk of the multimedia content on a NAS or taking advantage of streaming services. If you do wish to use Microsoft's Media Center, don't forget to factor in an extra £100 for Windows 8 Pro.
With only 7.5W required when idle, rising to 23.5W under full load, the Zotac Nano XS AD13 Plus can be left on without stressing over electric bills. Turning it off isn’t a problem either as we found it very quick to reboot. When hot, its cooling fan does become audible, but you really have to push it quite hard for this to happen.