Z83ii

We have another windows mini PC for testing.

It belongs to the new generation of the ones sporting the all new and efficient Z8350 Intel processor. It also belongs to the low cost category (~$80) which is the main reason why it is equipped with 2GB of RAM.

Let’s see how Z83ii performs below.

 

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Packaging

Z83ii arrived in a brown recycling package look-alike box.

There are some nice surprises found inside because apart from the expected (media box, HDMI cable, power adapter) it also includes a metallic VESA 100×100 mount (screws included) with a second (shorter) HDMI cable (to use in case it is mounted on the back of the monitor)

No remote keyboard/mouse is included, but as we always state, perhaps it is for the best in order to keep the price low and allow the user to pick a specific one according to their taste.

For the tests we used the all-time classics Logitech K-400 and Tronsmart TSM-01.

 

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Build quality – Specifications

Built quality is as good for the price point.

The chassis is plastic, sturdy enough, with nice finishing.

It is all black with the Intel logo and the model name appearing on top. It is aesthetically pleasing and you can put it anywhere you like.

Z83ii is fan-less so don’t worry about any noisy fan. Although we read about heating issues online, our sample had absolutely no issues whatsoever in terms of overheating. Due to the plastic chassis, it got warm during our Super Pi tests (we run the big one for more than an hour) but CPU-Z showed no throttling.

All connections are located to the back and right side, but if you don’t need USB 2.0 and SD slots, all the basic cabling (USB 3.0,power, LAN ,HDMI, headphone jack) are located at the back for better cable management. At the left side you will find grilles for heat dissipation.

The specification list is quite impressive for the price.

Intel Cherry Trail X5-Z8350 quad core CPU among the best choices for such a mini pc with low consumption, especially with GPU related tasks (the GPU also supports 4K/H.265 video acceleration.)

2GB of RAM are enough, for standard applications (browsing, office, music, videos) but restricting in case you want to do intensive tasks like video editing etc. The 32GB of eMMC Flash type ROM are adequate for all the basic needs. After the first boot there are ~18GB of free space remaining. Storage can be expanded with the micro SD slot. No bloat-ware is pre-installed.

I/Os are rich with 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, HDMI, SD slot and headphone jack.

A Gigabit Lan, a dual band Wi-Fi AC and BT4.0 are the best options in terms of wireless connection.

Fully licensed Windows 10 Home is the selected OS.

Overall, for the $80 it costs, it is very well equipped.

 

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Tests -Performance

Z83ii performed admirably.

The fact that is an actual Windows PC provides a practically unlimited compatibility with the majority of audio and video files.

Through KODI (latest nightly 17 was used for the test) and Windows Media Player Classic Home Cinema, every video file had perfect playback (with the exception of heavy 4K ones).

Using programs like Power DVD you can actually enjoy full BLU RAY menus and create a mini HTPC like (almost) no other.

23.976 motion is handled very well and Dolby Digital / DTS pass-through is perfect.

As always with atom based solutions, HD Audio was impossible due to lack of proper drivers. It is a minor issue though for the majority of users out there.

Of course any audio file (mp3/Flac) had perfect playback.

The eMMC storage had decent write speeds, but don’t expect anything similar to an SSD drive.

Wi-Fi AC speed was very good (although it lacked an external antenna) and we were able to stream 1080p mkv files with ease.

Simple, everyday tasks (Office, Browsing, YouTube, Spotify) performance of Z83ii was stellar.

For simple games, Z83ii is okay but don’t expect to be able to play games like the latest Tomb Raider or Doom.

 

Summary

Z83ii is a great choice for the ones that need the flexibility of an HTPC but at an Android media box price.

For less than $80 you simply can’t get a better mini pc. You can get a very good android box but then you will lose a lot in terms of compatibility and “freedom”. 

2GB of RAM are a bit restrictive for a Windows box but only if you run applications Z83ii was never intended to actually support. All basic tasks (4K/1080p movie viewing, web browser, You-Tube, Office applications) run great and probably better than the average android media box.

Z83ii is a Windows mini pc you must consider if you are thinking to buy a media box in the below $100 category

 We would like to thank www.gearbest.com for sending the player in exchange of an unbiased presentation.

  • If this review helped you towards making your decision, we would appreciate if you made your order through the previous affiliate link(s). This way we will be able to review more products in the future.