For a while now I’ve been using Chrome OS on Chromebook after Chromebook. Finally I decided it was time for something new. I’d been using my Chromebook a lot in “docked mode” a lot when at home, but after looking around, I decided a Chromebook was my next Chrome OS device. So with a budget in mind, I started looking around for the best deal I could get. Originally my eyes were on the Acer CXI due to it’s form factor, but since I wanted to upgrade the RAM, I decided that the ASUS Chromebox was a better option. So now after some time with the device, these are my thoughts on it.
Intel Haswell Celeron 2955U Processor 1.4GHz (options available including Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i7)
2GB DDR3 RAM (upgradable via 2 DDR3 slots)
16GB SSD (upgradable)
Dual-Band 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi – Ethernet
Dimensions: 4.88” x 4.88” x 1.65”
The design of the ASUS Chromebox is pretty simple. You have a matte black finish on the top and sides with a glossy plastic underneath where the fans are also found. The top holds two logos, one for ASUS in the center and one for Chrome on the top left corner. Going around the sides we have a power button on the bottom left corner, two USB 3.0 ports on the front side. The right side is empty while the left houses an SD card reader and the recovery button. The back of the device has (from right to left) the power adapter, an ethernet port, two more USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The box feels sturdy enough and it looks great on almost any desk setup. It’s not designed to stand out but instead to hide away with the other things on your desk.
Software & Performance
The ASUS Chromebox of course runs none other than Chrome OS out of the box and there’s nothing changed. While I’ve already been using Chrome OS a while, for some users using this Chromebox as their first Chrome device, it can be a little strange at first. Long story short, Chrome OS is an easy to use, easy to maintain operating system based around the web.
One thing Chrome OS has always been good with is performance on low-end hardware. The ASUS Chromebox is no exception to this. Even with just 2GB of RAM inside, the machine was a pleasure to use. Once I slipped in an additional 2GB, the device absolutely flew. Boot up is quick, performance stays great even with multiple tabs and apps open at a time.
Final Thoughts – Is It Worth It?
The ASUS Chromebox retails for $169 at it’s base model. This price fluctuates on Amazon quite a bit however. I picked up my model for just $134 shipped. For around $370 you can get this same model with an Intel Core i3 chip inside along with a bundled wireless keyboard and mouse. Another model is available (not in the US) with an Intel Core i7 processor, keyboard and mouse, along with a speaker and webcam. Overall I definitely think the ASUS Chromebox is worth picking up for anyone looking for an inexpensive option to use Chrome OS on the desktop. It’s easily one of the best options out there to do so.