Chromebox Reviews Roundup – Who Should Buy It?

So Samsung Chromebox is released and hot-selling (being the best selling desktop computer in Amazon).  Do you like it?  Considering buying one?  Before you hit the buy button, let’s have a look at what people say about this little Chrome device:

Samsung Chromebox

Size and Look

  • 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.3 inches big, it can fit into any drawer unnoticed
  • Outer appearance and feel is not bad, but it’s not great. It has an “overly plasticly appearance” – GearWERKZ.net

 

Performance

  • Boots in 5 to 7 seconds, ready to surf the internet in about 10 seconds.  Probably only tablets could be faster.
  • “It’s very fast and very stable, and I never encountered a crash or slowdown…” – TheVerge.com
  • “The Chromebox handles 1080p video playback without hiccups or drama — watching YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu or Netflix is no longer a gamble… with 4GB of RAM it’s now possible to open a few dozen tabs before noticing any performance hit.” – Engadget.com

 

Software

  • Setting it up is easy, just connect to network via Wi-Fi or ethernet, use (or create) your Google account, and you are good to go
  • Multi-tasking is improved in this version of Chrome OS, putting windows side-by-side is great
  • Everything stored online, auto-update and virus-protection, this PC is virtually maintenance-free
  • Limited to using the apps in Chrome Web Store
  • It’s great for simple casual use.   “If you want to spend hours on productivity programs, video or picture editing for instance or constructing complicated office documents, then the Chromebox is probably not for you.” – TechRadar.com

 

Input/Output/Accessories

  • Using your own keyboard is OK, because you can map most keys of the keyboard to the Chrome OS specific keys, EXCEPT Caps Lock (according to theverge.com)
  • There are plenty of ports (6 USB ports!!!)
  • However, there is no VGA or HDMI port, so you need a separate DVI-to-HDMI cable to connect to your HDTV
  • It supports dual-display output, but right now it only mirrors the desktop to two displays
  • There is only 16GB flash storage on board, so if you want to use it as a media center, you may need an external harddisk
  • It recognizes many common webcams, however, USB-based microphones are currently not supported – CNET.com

 

Price

  • At $329.99, it’s more like a net-top, good for low-end use
  • Much cheaper than Apple’s Mac Mini (but of course, Mac Mini is more powerful)

 

So what’s the verdict?  Most reviewers thought that Chromebox is good for some simple and lightweight use.  Given it’s limited local storage and fair CPU speed, one should not expect to use it for heavy tasks.  It has the potential to be a home theater PC, but the lack of HDMI port and web-only user interface make it not the perfect choice (think Apple TV if you only want streaming media, and it’s much cheaper).  If you are looking for a device for light-weight web surfing in the living room, occasional document editing and watching online video in YouTube, Chromebox is something you may consider.
Samsung Series 3 Chromebox
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