One field to rule all of them

Patrick

Chromeboxes not often seize the eye that different Chrome OS-based units advantage. These compact computer systems are most frequently pushed out of sight, tucked below or behind shows. That doesn’t make them any much less highly effective or succesful than their cell cohorts. In reality, a Chromebox could also be one of the best guess for a household needing a versatile computing platform everybody can use that can stay safe and updated over time. The Asus Chromebox 4 is one such gadget. Discover out if it’s the answer for you within the Android Authority Asus Chromebox 4 evaluation.

About this Asus Chromebox 4 evaluation: I used the Core i5 Asus Chromebox 4 for seven days operating Chrome OS model 89 and 90. The Asus Chromebox 4 evaluation unit was offered to Android Authority by Asus.

What it’s worthwhile to know concerning the Asus Chromebox 4

Asus Chromebox 4 standing

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • Asus Chromebox 4 (Intel Celeron 5205U): $389
  • Asus Chromebox 4 (Intel Core i3): $485
  • Asus Chromebox 4 (Intel Core i5): $649
  • Asus Chromebox 4 (Intel Core i7): $889

The Asus Chromebox 4, first launched in November 2020 and launched on the market in March 2021, is available in 4 primary configurations. Every is powered by a special processor and there are a number of completely different RAM/storage mixtures that accompany the processor variants.

Beginning on the low finish, you’ve received the Celeron mannequin with 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Then there’s the Core i3 mannequin with 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage, the Core i5 mannequin with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and at last the Core i7 mannequin with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. With worth factors that vary from $389 to $889, the Asus Chromebox 4 covers the gamut by way of affordability and energy.

Associated: The perfect Chromebooks to get

All variants of the Chromebox embrace a VESA mount, which lets you connect it to the again of a show, in addition to the wanted energy cable. There’s no inside speaker, nevertheless, neither is there a keyboard or mouse included within the setup. You’ll have to offer your individual sound and I/O tools. It is available in Gunmetal Grey solely.

How is the {hardware}?

Asus Chromebox 4 face

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Chromeboxes should not recognized for setting the world of design on hearth. They’re usually utilitarian chunks of plastic that fairly actually take the form of a small field. Within the case of the Asus Chromebox 4, meaning a 149 x 149 x 41mm (5.85 x 5.85 x 1.58-inch) sq. with one rounded-off nook. A big energy button takes up many of the rounded nook with some ports on the entrance and extra on the again. At 1kg (2.2lbs), it feels fairly heavy. Granted, this isn’t one thing you’ll be carrying round. It’s both going to take a seat in your desk or grasp from the again of your monitor.

Talking of which, a VESA mount is included within the field. The VESA mount attaches to the again of the monitor (by way of screws) and you’ll then slide the Asus Chromebox 4 into the mount for neat, out-of-the-way storage of the {hardware}. Fortunately, the ability button is straightforward to find so it’s not a ache to achieve excessive of your monitor to show the Chromebox on.

The grey coloring is uninspired, however it helps the gadget mix into the background of your desktop muddle or vanish in opposition to the rear of your monitor.

Asus Chromebox 4 birds eye view

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Some will certainly be peeved that there’s no mouse or keyboard included with this Chromebox. Many competing units embrace low cost choices to assist customers get began. In response to Asus’ web site, there’s an non-obligatory bundle that features the equipment, however I couldn’t discover the bundle on the market wherever.

Extra studying: The perfect keyboards: Discover the correct keyboard for you

How are the ports?

Asus Chromebox 4 rear

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Asus was beneficiant with the Chromebox 4’s ports. You’ve received a combo mic/headphone audio jack on the entrance together with two USB-A ports and a microSD card reader. USB 3.2 Gen1 means speedy efficiency from the ports on the entrance. The cardboard reader is helpful for reinforcing storage or syncing information.

The rear panel is even busier. First, there are three USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-A ports. The Celeron and Core i3 fashions have one USB 3.2 port and two USB 2.0 ports. All variants embrace a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Sort-C (Energy Supply/DisplayPort 1.4) for charging telephones or sending alerts to a monitor. There are two HDMI 2.0 ports, every supporting a 4K monitor, in addition to an RJ45 LAN port and Kensington lock. When you don’t have ethernet helpful, the Chromebox 4 helps Wi-Fi 6. The allotment of enter/output is very versatile and lets you join as much as three screens in addition to 5 peripherals. When you don’t wish to waste your ports on a mouse or keyboard, Bluetooth 5 is on board for wi-fi connections.

Asus Chromebox 4 right rear ports

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

If I have been to complain about something, it will be that the USB ports on the again are a bit tight. Extra room between them could be useful.

See additionally: Listed here are one of the best HDMI switches you should buy

What about efficiency?

Asus Chromebox 4 angled front

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Asus Chromebox 4’s Core i5 processor contained in the unit we examined delivered all of the efficiency you would wish from a Chrome OS machine. Paired with 8GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM and 128GB of SSD storage, I discovered the Chromebox 4 to be among the many swiftest Chrome OS units I’ve used. The RAM was sufficient to permit me to maintain dozens of tabs open directly with out slowing down or in any other case impacting efficiency. I used to be in a position to take a look at the gadget with a single Full HD monitor, however Asus says it may well deal with as much as three 4K screens.

Additionally learn: The perfect Chromebook equipment you should buy

Asus’ machine did properly when it got here to duties akin to modifying images in Lightroom and Google Pictures, in addition to enjoying less complicated Android-based video games. Talking of Android, the gadget has full entry to the Play Retailer and runs Android apps simply and easily. The fan got here on every so often, and solely actually whirred up after I was modifying images. It wasn’t overly loud.

The 8 GB of RAM was sufficient to permit me to maintain dozens of tabs open directly with out slowing down or in any other case impacting efficiency.

We didn’t get to check the alternate configurations of this machine. I’d draw back from the Celeron model except you’re in search of probably the most primary machine for mild searching solely. It would prevent some money, however the 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage would negatively impression efficiency. However, our expertise with different Core i3 Chrome OS merchandise means that the Core i3 mannequin would seemingly be ok for most individuals. The Core i3 mannequin is a number of hundred {dollars} cheaper than the Core i5 mannequin we examined and has the identical RAM and storage. Final, we can not actually suggest anybody spend practically $900 on the Core i7 Chromebox 4. At 16GB of reminiscence and 256GB of storage, nevertheless, it does have double that of the Core i5 variant. At greatest, these would mean you can run extra tabs and probably get higher efficiency for video games. For the reason that microSD slot helps playing cards as much as 1TB, we’re unsure the additional storage is price it. Extra to the purpose, $900 buys you a stable Home windows or macOS gadget.

In sum, the Chromebox 4 is a powerhouse of a Chrome OS laptop.

How’s Chrome OS?

Asus Chromebox 4 Chrome OS

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Chrome OS is Google’s platform for laptops, convertibles, tablets, and desktops. It’s primarily based on the Chrome browser and most apps are literally simply superior browser home windows.

What are you able to do with a browser? Lots. Apps in Chrome OS are strong and quite a few, although not so plentiful as apps for Home windows or Mac. Core choices akin to Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube are there, and people who aren’t can be found by way of Android and the Google Play Retailer, which is supported by this machine.

Associated: 15 greatest Chromebook video games from Google Play

Chrome OS is among the many most secure and safe platforms on the market. I’ve by no means skilled a kernel panic or BSOD whereas utilizing Chrome OS. Google updates Chrome OS continuously and provides new options every so often. The vast majority of Chrome OS units replace to the newest patch routinely.

Talking of updates — and that is essential — Asus will assist the Chromebox 4 with Chrome OS updates by 2028. That’s a stable dedication.

Asus Chromebox 4 specs

  Asus Chromebox 4
Processor Intel Celeron 5205U
Intel Core i3-10110U
Intel Core i5-10210U
Intel Core i7-10510U
RAM 4GB DDR4 2666MHz
4GB DDR4 2666MHz x 2
8GB DDR4 2666MHz x 2
Storage 32G eMMC
128G M.2 SATA SSD
M.2 PCIE GEN3x4 256G SSD
Wi-fi Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (Gig+) (2×2)
Bluetooth 5
LAN Gigabit LAN, Realtek RTL8111H-CG
Entrance ports 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 (Help BC1.2)
1 x Audio Jack (Combo Mic/Headphone Jack)
1 x Micro SD card
Rear ports 3 x USB 3.2 Gen2
1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Sort-C (PowerDelivery/DisplayPort 1.4)
2 x HDMI 2.0
1 x LAN (RJ45) Port
1 x DC-in
1 x Kensington Lock
Dimensions 149 x 149 x 40mm
Weight 1Kg
2.2lbs

Worth and competitors

Asus Chromebox 4

The Asus Chromebox 4 options Intel Core i5 processor and DDR4-2666 reminiscence for quicker, smoother and extra energy-efficient efficiency. It helps as much as three 4K shows and is supplied with a flexible USB-C port that allows energy supply and DisplayPort connections. Get pleasure from Google-enabled apps with Wi-Fi 6 for ultrafast community speeds.

Because of the a number of configurations accessible, the Asus Chromebox 4 presents simply the correct mix of worth and energy. You may decide from 4 completely different processors and dial within the efficiency and worth level you want. With costs starting from slightly below $400 to almost $900, you’ll be able to spend as little or as a lot as you want. The $649 Core i5 model we examined is a performant beast that’s a lot sufficient laptop for anybody. It’s an excellent configuration to start out with, however you’ll be able to shave the worth right down to $485 in case you go along with the Core i3 mannequin, which has the identical 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. When you’re a gamer, maybe try the Core i7 mannequin, although it’ll price you.

Because of the a number of configurations accessible, the Asus Chromebox 4 presents simply the correct mix of worth for the efficiency.

What concerning the competitors? System makers don’t provide as many Chromeboxes as they do Chromebooks. There are nonetheless just a few good choices on the market. Chief amongst them is the HP Chromebox G3 which has comparable specs to the Asus Chromebox 4, however sells for much less at $590. If you’d like a show, keyboard, and mouse, the Asus Chromebox 3 bundle will prevent some money. It’s a 2018 mannequin, however remains to be aware about safety updates and the $475 worth level doesn’t harm one bit.

See additionally: The perfect Chromebooks for college kids

Loads of full Home windows bins play on this worth vary. You may take into account the Dell Precision 3240 Compact, which runs $840 and features a keyboard and mouse. There’s additionally the Lenovo ThinkCentre M720q Tiny, which runs $649. Home windows 10 offers you entry to much more apps and, in fact, the complete Home windows ecosystem.

Final, Apple has an providing for lower than $700 as properly. The Apple Mac Mini is a compact field that begins at $699. It doesn’t have as many ports or assist as many screens, however it runs full macOS.

Asus Chromebox 4 evaluation: The decision

Asus Chromebox 4 full rig

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Asus fielded a fighter within the Chromebox 4. It’s a big and stable replace to the outgoing Chromebox 3, although it’s not with out a few shortcomings.

Maybe probably the most commendable side of the gadget is its giant variety of configurations. With 4 processors to select from, you’ve received the chance to pick the correct mannequin in your price range. Even the most cost effective possibility comes with a lot to love, together with ports-a-plenty, a practical design, and a VESA mount within the field. Disgrace there’s no mouse and keyboard.

The Asus Chromebox 4 is an ideal household machine because of its giant variety of configurations and ports, in addition to multi-user assist.

Efficiency is sort of good for a machine at this worth. The Asus Chromebox 4 evaluation unit we examined mastered a number of tabs, tackled tons of apps, and powered by all the pieces with ease. Chrome OS is a stable, secure platform that’s safe and simple for the entire household to make use of. With assist for a number of customers, the Chromebox 4 is an ideal household machine.

When you’re searching for a Chromebox, the Asus Chromebox 4 ought to be on the prime of your shortlist.

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