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Asus Chromebox 4 review: One box to rule them all

Chromeboxes hardly ever seize the eye that different Chrome OS-based units benefit. 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 truth, a Chromebox could also be one of the best wager 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 machine. Discover out if it’s the answer for you within the Android Authority Asus Chromebox 4 overview.

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

What it’s essential 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 fundamental configurations. Every is powered by a distinct processor and there are a number of completely different RAM/storage combos that accompany the processor variants.

Beginning on the low finish, you’ve acquired 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 value factors that vary from $389 to $889, the Asus Chromebox 4 covers the gamut when it comes to affordability and energy.

Associated: The most effective Chromebooks to get

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

How is the {hardware}?

Asus Chromebox 4 face

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Chromeboxes will not be identified for setting the world of design on hearth. They’re typically 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 (through screws) and you may then slide the Asus Chromebox 4 into the mount for neat, out-of-the-way storage of the {hardware}. Fortunately, the ability button is simple to find so it’s not a ache to succeed in excessive of your monitor to show the Chromebox on.

The grey coloring is uninspired, however it helps the machine mix into the background of your desktop litter or vanish towards 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 embody low cost choices to assist customers get began. In keeping with Asus’ web site, there’s an non-compulsory bundle that features the equipment, however I couldn’t discover the bundle on the market anyplace.

Extra studying: The most effective keyboards: Discover the suitable 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 acquired 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 useful for enhancing storage or syncing recordsdata.

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 embody a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Kind-C (Energy Supply/DisplayPort 1.4) for charging telephones or sending indicators 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 useful, the Chromebox 4 helps Wi-Fi 6. The allotment of enter/output is extremely versatile and lets you join as much as three displays 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 had 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 want 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 check the machine with a single Full HD monitor, however Asus says it might deal with as much as three 4K displays.

Additionally learn: The most effective Chromebook equipment you should buy

Asus’ machine did properly when it got here to duties comparable to enhancing photographs in Lightroom and Google Pictures, in addition to taking part in easier Android-based video games. Talking of Android, the machine has full entry to the Play Retailer and runs Android apps simply and easily. The fan got here on on occasion, and solely actually whirred up once I was enhancing photographs. 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 until you’re looking for probably the most fundamental machine for gentle searching solely. It’d prevent some money, however the 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage would negatively influence efficiency. However, our expertise with different Core i3 Chrome OS merchandise means that the Core i3 mannequin would possible be adequate 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 finest, these would can help you run extra tabs and presumably get higher efficiency for video games. For the reason that microSD slot helps playing cards as much as 1TB, we’re undecided the additional storage is value it. Extra to the purpose, $900 buys you a strong Home windows or macOS machine.

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? A lot. Apps in Chrome OS are strong and quite a few, although not so plentiful as apps for Home windows or Mac. Core choices comparable to Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube are there, and people who aren’t can be found through Android and the Google Play Retailer, which is supported by this machine.

Associated: 15 finest 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 on occasion. The vast majority of Chrome OS units replace to the newest patch routinely.

Talking of updates — and that is vital — Asus will assist the Chromebox 4 with Chrome OS updates via 2028. That’s a strong 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
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 (Assist 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 Kind-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

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 permits energy supply and DisplayPort connections. Take pleasure in Google-enabled apps with Wi-Fi 6 for ultrafast community speeds.

Due to the a number of configurations out there, the Asus Chromebox 4 affords simply the correct mix of worth and energy. You’ll be able to choose from 4 completely different processors and dial within the efficiency and value level you want. With costs starting from slightly below $400 to just about $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 a great configuration to begin with, however you’ll be able to shave the worth all the way down to $485 should you go together 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 value you.

Due to the a number of configurations out there, the Asus Chromebox 4 affords simply the correct mix of worth for the efficiency.

What concerning the competitors? Gadget makers don’t supply as many Chromeboxes as they do Chromebooks. There are nonetheless a couple of 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. In order for you a show, keyboard, and mouse, the Asus Chromebox 3 bundle will prevent some money. It’s a 2018 mannequin, however remains to be aware of safety updates and the $475 value level doesn’t damage one bit.

See additionally: The most effective Chromebooks for college students

Loads of full Home windows bins play on this value vary. You may think about 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 provides you entry to much more apps and, after all, your 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 displays, however it runs full macOS.

Asus Chromebox 4 overview: The decision

Asus Chromebox 4 full rig

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

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

Maybe probably the most commendable side of the machine is its massive variety of configurations. With 4 processors to select from, you’ve acquired the chance to pick the suitable mannequin to your funds. Even the most cost effective choice comes with a lot to love, together with ports-a-plenty, a purposeful 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 massive variety of configurations and ports, in addition to multi-user assist.

Efficiency is sort of good for a machine at this value. The Asus Chromebox 4 overview unit we examined mastered a number of tabs, tackled tons of apps, and powered via the whole lot with ease. Chrome OS is a strong, secure platform that’s safe and straightforward 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.

What do you think?

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