The Chromebox can be a useful home tool. For the office or in the children’s room, so that everyone can work quickly and safely. But what exactly is such a box and what does it do for you? And is this a better alternative to a portable Chromebook?
Chromebox: what can you do with it?
The Chromebox is a versatile and often affordable computer where it Chrome OS is installed on. The device has many of the same benefits as a Chromebook. The hardware is fast, you can count on years of software upgrades and your data and files are safe. Does such a box really offer more than a Chromebook?
In any case, a Chromebox can do no more than a Chromebook can. But that device can perform the same tasks much better. This has to do with two aspects. An important factor for the better performance is the fact that such a box does not run on a battery and simply has a power cable. As a result, it does not have to do energy management.
In addition, the chassis has much more space for other parts, compared to a Chromebook. This leaves room for a fan that keeps the processor cool. Both parts ensure that a Chromebox often performs a lot better with the same hardware as in a Chromebook.
Chromebox vs Chromebook
Chromebooks are, of course, masters of power when it comes to power management, especially when compared to regular laptops. As a result, a battery can often last up to ten hours when fully charged. But managing energy also costs energy and processing power; and as a result, such a Chromebook does sacrifice some performance compared to a Chromebox.
That also has to do with the use of an onboard fan, which is the case with many Chromebooks. When the processor gets warm at a given moment, it becomes slower. When you combine those two elements, you run the risk of running into a slower Chromebook. These are two problems that a Chromebox does not have.
More connectivity options
The larger chassis of a Chromebox has another advantage. For example, the boxes often offer more ports to which you can connect accessories, compared to a Chromebook. Many Chromebox models come with multiple USB ports, HDMI ports, security locks, and even a display port. With a little searching you will quickly find what you find.
Also, certain parts are easy to replace (this is possible with a handful of models), making the package a lot cheaper to maintain (and you don’t have to buy a new one when something breaks). Do you want more RAM or storage space? With a little dexterity you can replace those parts, so that the Chromebox can last longer.
Keyboard and mouse
A Chromebox is often supplied without accessories. You buy a box and get a power cable and manual with it. That is it. So you have to provide your own keyboard and mouse, as well as a display and all kinds of necessary cables. The advantage of this is that such a box is cheap to purchase. And you decide for yourself what you want to spend in accessories.
Is that a big problem? That’s not necessary. Often people already have a good keyboard and mouse bought what they love as many people are also switching from a PC to a Chromebox. In that case you can use your old stuff, provided the box supports it. Otherwise, you can look for a bundle that different manufacturers offer.
The processor is the most important component in the Chromebox, as it largely determines how the hardware performs. Very often it is the case that models with a so-called Celeron processor are released. Those processors are inexpensive and offer a nice balance between speed, cost and efficiency for the price.
But, just like on the regular PC market, here you can go as crazy as you want. You can also equip Chromeboxes with a powerful Intel processor. You can choose from an i3, i5 or an i7. The higher the number, the more you have to pay. Think in advance exactly what you are looking for in such a Chromebox, so that you end up paying too much for the hardware you need.
It is also good to know that 2 GB of RAM is often enough for most tasks. You can take more working memory, but only if you plan to use a lot apps to turn. In addition, you don’t have to pay much for extra storage, because the Chrome OS integrates well with cloud storage services, such as Google Drive.
The most popular Chromebox manufacturers are:
So if you come across one of those brands in your search, you know for sure that you are getting a good model. Read reviews and other experiences in advance, to be sure what you will eventually get.
In this article we advise you on which mouse to buy for a Chromebook — but of course it also works on a Chromebox!
Header image: Asus