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

More Acer AC700 Chromebook unboxing videos

We have seen unboxing videos and photos here and here.  Here we have another one.  Tempted to buy one?  Me too.

 

 
via Chrome Story

Samsung Series 5 v.s. Acer Cromia: a side by side chromebook comparison (of the look)

Samsung Series 5 and Acer Cromia AC700 Chromebook

Quincy Darnell, owner of Chromebookuser.com, posted photos and video of the Acer Cromia AC700 Chromebook he just received.  Interestingly, he put it and Samsung’s Series 5 side by side, because he has both!  Check out more photos here.

Samsung Series 5 and Acer Cromia AC700

Which one do you think looks better?  Samsung or Acer?

 

Images and video via Chromebookuser.com

9 Reasons why you shouldn’t buy a Chromebook

Why not Chromebooks?

I just told you that Samsung’s Chromebook is hot selling on Amazon.  It seems that people like this idea and willing to pay for a Chromebook.

I like Chromebook too.  However, I don’t think Chromebook is perfect.  Like any other great products in the worls, it has drawbacks.

 

#1: It’s Net Only

Chromebook - Internet Only Notebook

Oh yes, we heard of this a thousand times, but it’s true.  Despite the growing family of offline web apps, there are things we cannot do to with Chromebook offline.

Think offline function unimportant?  Now tell me how you could edit images like in Photoshop?  There are a number of imaging web apps but none of them are up to Photoshop’s professional standard.

The day when web apps are as good as local apps would finally come, but now we have to wait.

 

#2: Chrome Being the Only Browser

New Chrome Logo

Some people like Chrome, some not.  There are features that are exclusive to other browsers, for example, the managing tabs in panorama is not currently available in the official release of Chrome.  You can tag bookmarks in Firefox but not Chrome (you could get similar function by installing extensions or use bookmarking services like Delicious, though).

Another reason that it is not good to have Chrome as the only browser is that some web sites could only be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.  For example, the payment processing system is IE only.  I know it is not the problem of Google or Chrome, but unless we can knock down the monopoly of M$, there are problems we need to face.  If my company needs to spend money on tweaking the current web apps, most likely we would not buy Chromebooks for employees’ use.

Read more »

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