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ASUS Chromebox Desktop

By: on March 15, 2014
$199
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With Google's golden child fingerprints all over it, the ASUS Chromebox desktop will surely prove handsomer and smarter and better in every way than any other Web PC that tries to catch your eye. On the surface, it definitely trumps many other mini PCs in at least 2 ways: 1) Unlike, say, the crowdfunded Tango Super PC, the Chromebox is available for immediate purchase; and 2) ASUS' miniature desktop costs about half as much (though Android's Mini PC is still well ahead in the price war).

That said, the Chromebox, a desktop version of Google's Chromebook laptop foray, isn't a full-on PC. It doesn't run standard operating systems like Windows or Mac OS X, so you can't use it to play Minecraft or Photoshop yourself a recreational Florida saltwater fishing license, as I have triumphantly done for the past 10 years. (You should, however, be able to set yours up to run Linux since that's what ChromeOS is based on.) Instead, the ASUS Chromebox is a Web intensifier. It is intended for use in conjunction with existing Google Chrome services to bring you and the Internet closer than you've ever been before.

Chromebox setup entails removing the plastic box from its cardboard box and plugging it in to a power source and any VESA-mountable monitor or HD TV. Or multiple screens. The device's 1.4 GHz processor is powerful enough to support "ultrafast" multitasking requests, including connectivity to more than one monitor, plus monitors of different sizes. It synchronizes instantly with Chrome to enable browser and app functionality for email access, Web surfing, Netflix/streaming video viewing, social media interaction, and music streaming. Chromebox also includes 100 GB of free Google Drive space.

Additional ASUS Chromebox Features

In addition to Chrome Web browser and app basics, the ASUS Chromebox also features:

  • Smallness. Currently it's the smallest Chrome device available at 4.88" x 4.88" x 1.65" and 1.3 pounds.
  • Personalized Access with Parental Controls. Families can switch between accounts without compromising or infiltrating another user's data. Each account is mutually exclusive, and remains private and secure. Parents can also control kids' Web access, blocking sites on some accounts that remain active on others. In other words, porn is for grownups. And the grownups want to keep it.
  • Offline Apps. For use without an internet connection, Chromebox supports offline apps for activities such as editing documents and playing games.
  • Ports. The box has 4 front and side USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI and DisplayPort, and an SD card reader.
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