Zotac's ''Pico'' PC runs Windows, slips into a pocket

If you thought Zotac's palm-sized Zbox Nano was small, wait til you see its pocketable sibling. The new Zbox PI320 Pico measures just 4.5" x 2.6" x 0.76", making it only slightly larger than a standard deck of playing cards. Despite those dimensions, the Pico packs a quad-core processor and Windows 8.1.

Awww, isn't it cute?

Inside the tiny chassis lies an Atom Z3735F SoC with quad Bay Trail cores clocked at 1.33GHz base and 1.83GHz burst. This low-power chip has a 2.2W thermal envelope, so it can get by with only passive cooling. Indeed, the chassis seems to be entirely devoid of external venting.

Zotac combines the Atom with 2GB of low-power DDR3 memory. A 32GB eMMC SSD provides storage, and users can add another 128GB via the Micro SD slot. This is basically an Atom-based tablet in a little box.

The Pico has more connectivity than typical mobile devices, though. The full-sized HDMI port can output video at 1080p resolution, and the trio of USB 2.0 ports is enough to power a keyboard, mouse, and external storage. There's also an analog headset jack, 10/100 Fast Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

One might expect a system like this to have Android pre-installed, but it actually runs Windows 8.1 with Bing. This edition is a full-fat version of the OS with Microsoft's search engine selected as the default. Users are free to switch search providers, and they can presumably ditch Windows entirely and install the OS of their choice.

Like its Zbox brethren, the Pico comes with a VESA-compatible mounting bracket. A small wall wart is also included in the box, and the whole package is set to sell for $199 when it arrives later next month.

I wouldn't normally embed the requisite promo video, but this one gets interesting at about the halfway mark, when Zotac teases the Pico's potential as a client for Steam's in-home streaming functionality.

The company tells us the Watch Dogs, Borderlands 2, and BioShock Infinite clips all come from streaming sessions. That's pretty impressive for a device that should fit easily into a pocket. We may have to get one of these little things in-house for testing.

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