OI520 http://www.stuff.tv/taxonomy/term/4259/all en-GB Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520 http://www.stuff.tv/oi520/zotac-zbox-sphere-oi520/review <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Is Zotac&#039;s distinctive Zbox Sphere mini-PC a well-rounded computing experience or just a load of old balls? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-enable-hero"> <div class="field-label">Enable hero:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Enable full width image </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" alt="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/Zotac-Zbox-Sphere-OI520-06.jpg?1403618581" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-byline"> <div class="field-label">Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/users/henrywinchester" title="View user profile.">henrywinchester</a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A typical mini-PC combines subtlety and dinkiness so that it blends into your living room or can be entirely hidden our of sight - perhaps even mounted onto the back of your telly.</p> <p>Not so the Zotac Zbox Sphere,&nbsp;which packs small laptop-style components into an ominous black orb that brings to mind the equally striking and ultimately ill-fated Google Nexus Q of 2012 fame.</p> <p>Is the Zbox sphere a similar balls-up? Heck no. But its novelty could still be just skin-deep.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-pricing"><legend>Pricing</legend><div class="field field-type-number-float field-field-test-price"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> £280.00 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-price-from"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Price from </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price-notes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Price for barebones version </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-ratings"><legend>Ratings</legend><div class="field field-type-hcmreviewrating-rating field-field-overall-rating"> <div class="field-label">Overall rating:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="hcmrating-default">8 stars</div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-pros"> <div class="field-label">Pros:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Unique design </div> <div class="field-item even"> Whisper quiet </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Easy to upgrade </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-cons"> <div class="field-label">Cons:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Not very gamey </div> <div class="field-item even"> Pricey compared to other options </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><legend>Review Section</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Full Circle </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>You&#39;ll immediately know whether the Sphere&#39;s aesthetics work for you or not. It&#39;s about the size and shape of your average cannonball or cantaloupe, naval warfare and melon fans, but it&#39;s not actually perfectly round: a square bit at the back props it up and hosts the various ports.</p> <p>There&#39;s no option to VESA mount it on the back of your telly, of course, but if you wanted a computer you could hide away why the heck did you buy one so extroverted?</p> <p>Overall we&rsquo;re rather fond of the design, and it&#39;s nice to see Zotac moving out of the square school of thought.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The Sphere isn&#039;t actually perfectly spherical" alt="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Zotac-Zbox-Sphere-OI520-05_0.jpg?1403618581" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Cracking the nut </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Power it up and the cannonball becomes a cyber-cannonball, with a glowing blue light bisecting it. If that&rsquo;s all a bit too <em>Tron</em> for you (&ldquo;too <em>Tron</em>&rdquo; isn&rsquo;t really a thing, is it?) the light can be switched off from within the system BIOS.</p> <p>You can easily access the components by twisting the top of the sphere off, which is a little like that scene at the end of <em>Hannibal</em>, but far less uncomfortable. Zotac has built the Sphere with upgrades in mind, and it&#39;s really easy to take it to bits and add memory or a hard drive.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The twist-off top makes for tool-less tinkering" alt="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Zotac-Zbox-Sphere-OI520-08.jpg?1403618581" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The round of silence </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>According to Zotac the spherical shape serves no real purpose other than looking ballier, but there&#39;s surely some thermodynamic advantage to having a cavernous space in which air can circulate.</p> <p>A single fan at the bottom of the unit provides the requisite input of air, and even when it&#39;s in full swing it barely raises a decibel. We&#39;ve certainly never tested a quieter PC.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="There&#039;s a small fan at the bottom but the Sphere is whisper-quiet" alt="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Zotac-Zbox-Sphere-OI520-10.jpg?1403618581" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Game Globe? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Like most mini PCs, the Sphere includes laptop parts for their small size and low power draw &ndash; a mobile Core i5 processor is paired with 4GB of memory and a 500GB conventional hard drive in the Plus version, which is what we&#39;re testing here.</p> <p>While this helps keep size and noise down, the downside is that high-end gaming is rendered impossible by low frame rates, so there&#39;ll be none of your fancy <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/playstation-4/watchdogs-preview/review" target="_blank"><em>Watch Dogs</em></a> or <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/wolfenstein-new-order/review" target="_blank"><em>Wolfensteins</em></a>. For undemanding indie games and some older titles it&#39;s fine, though, and it makes a mighty fine client for <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/steam-home-streaming/review" target="_blank">Steam In-Home Streaming</a>, too, which could put those fancy games back on the menu if you&#39;ve also got a hefty Windows PC lurking elsewhere in the house.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/steam-home-streaming/review" target="_blank">Steam In-Home Streaming Review</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The Plus version comes with 500GB HDD and 4GB RAM, but you can also get a barebones version and add your own" alt="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Zotac-Zbox-Sphere-OI520-13.jpg?1403618581" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Media machine </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>For media playback it&#39;s perfect, and a DisplayPort output and 4K capabilities future proof it &nbsp;&ndash; well, as much as such a thing is possible. While it feels aimed at the living room, its distinctive design could work equally well in an office. If we went into an estate agent and saw loads of these our respect levels would certainly rise a little.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-5"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The skin and bones alternative </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The version we were sent is the &pound;350 Plus (also known as the OI520-P), which includes the aforementioned hard drive and memory. For &pound;70 less there&#39;s a barebones version so you can add your own components, which is perfect if you&#39;ve got an out-of-service laptop floating around. There&#39;s even the option to combine an mSATA SSD with a traditional HDD for a heady blend of OS speed and capacious storage.</p> <p>Speaking of OS, whichever option you go for comes without a pre-installed OS. You can go for Windows if you don&#39;t mind adding to the overall cost, but toour mind the Sphere is better suited to a free Linux installation or even <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/my/steam-box/hands-review-steamos-valves-game-changing-operating-system/feature" target="_blank">SteamOS</a>, which is available in beta form right now.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/my/steam-box/hands-review-steamos-valves-game-changing-operating-system/feature" target="_blank">Hands-on review: SteamOS</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-title"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Zotac Zbox Sphere OI520 tech specs </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-body-text"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Body Text:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Operating system</strong>: optional</p> <p><strong>CPU</strong>: Intel Core i5-4200U (dual-core, 1.6 GHz, 3MB L2)</p> <p><strong>GPU</strong>: Intel HD Graphics 4400</p> <p><strong>RAM</strong>: 2 x DDR3L slots for 16GB maximum (Plus version comes with 4GB)</p> <p><strong>Storage</strong>: Supports 2.5-inch HDD/SSD and mSATA SSD (Plus version comes with 500GB HDD)</p> <p><strong>Optical drive</strong>: n/a</p> <p><strong>Connectivity</strong>: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.0 (x4), USB 2.0 (x3), SD card, gigabit ethernet, analogue audio</p> <p><strong>Dimensions</strong>: 154 x 154 x 161mm</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-6"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The battle for your living room </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>With <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/multitasking-master-amazon-fire-tv-movie-streamer-games-console-and-babysitter/news" target="_blank">Amazon&#39;s Fire TV</a> and <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/google-chromecast/review" target="_blank">Google&#39;s Chromecast</a> getting all the buzz lately, the living room is going to become a new battleground for dinky streaming devices, and in some ways this is the arena in which the Sphere is competing &ndash; it&rsquo;s certainly closer to that ballpark than that of the <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/microsoft-xbox-one-vs-sony-ps4-depth/feature" target="_blank">next-gen consoles</a>, anyway.</p> <p>As it can run proper desktop operating systems and therefore just about any piece of software out there it&#39;s obviously more of an all-rounder than the more dedicated streaming boxes and dongles, but it&rsquo;s also way more complicated and way more expensive.</p> <p>It&#39;s also about &pound;100 more than other similarly-specced mini-PCs, and while we love the shape we&#39;re not sure it&#39;s worth <em>that</em> much more.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/multitasking-master-amazon-fire-tv-movie-streamer-games-console-and-babysitter/news" target="_blank">Amazon&#39;s Fire TV box is a movie streamer, games console, babysitter and more</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The connections are strong with this one" alt="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Zotac-Zbox-Sphere-OI520-07.jpg?1403618581" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-7"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Zotac Zbox Sphere IO520 verdict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If you&rsquo;re holding out for a powerhouse PC in a little, lounge-friendly shell, the Zbox Sphere isn&rsquo;t it. But it is a really striking computer that can turn its hand to media playback or more mundane desktop activities with equal aplomb.</p> <p>There are just a couple of drawbacks, though &ndash; the lack of a pre-installed operating system makes it a bit of an enthusiast&rsquo;s device, and it&#39;s an expensive one at that.</p> <p>Still, if you are a bit of an enthusiast and you&rsquo;re enthusiastic about the spherical styling, we certainly wouldn&rsquo;t talk you out of rolling with Zotac&rsquo;s rounded mini-PC.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/desktops/top-ten" target="_blank">The Best Home Computers in the World right now</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520 review verdict" alt="Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Zotac-Zbox-Sphere-OI520-01.jpg?1403618581" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-review-rating"><legend>Review Rating</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> power </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 6 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> design </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 9 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Connectivity </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 8 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> quietness </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 9 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-verdict"> <div class="field-label">Verdict:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The performance isn&rsquo;t out of this world, but Zotac&rsquo;s globular take on the mini PC is still a spherical spectacle</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-preview"> <div class="field-label">Preview:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Disabled </div> </div> </div> http://www.stuff.tv/oi520/zotac-zbox-sphere-oi520/review#comments Desktops OI520 OI520 Plus Zbox Sphere Zotac Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:55:00 +0000 Tom Parsons 1439924 at http://www.stuff.tv