Top positive review
864 people found this helpful
Just what we needed
on June 12, 2014
Our desktop died a few months ago and we were looking for a replacement. Because my wife and I both have tablets and a laptop, we have found that we have not used the desktop as much. As a result, we were wondering whether we should even get a replacement. We decided it would be nice to have but we didn't want to spend $500+ on a new computer. I had heard of the Chromebox previously but didn't pay too much attention to it. I decided it would be worth looking into and after seeing all the good comments, I felt it was worth taking a chance on getting one.
Is it anything spectacular? Yes! Does it do anything more than Chrome on Windows? No. But here is why (when your desktop finally dies/or you are just sick of how slow it is) you should buy a Chromebox:
1) Fast enough to do everything you want to on the internet. If you are like most people, you will realize that 90+% of the time you are on a computer, you are using a web browser. Everything else on your computer therefore is added weight to slow down your internet experience. This may include Virus/Malware Scanning Software, Viruses and Malware, other background processes, etc. ChromeOS takes all this out and gives you the the web browser and a great way of connecting to it. Will it handle the latest high intensity graphics game around? No, it won't come close but if you are looking for something to do that, you probably aren't even looking at Chromeboxes and therefore are not even reading this post.
2) Still can do Microsoft Office Online. This was actually a surprise to me but it actually works fairly well. For those of you who are not familiar with Office Online, it is a web version of Office that doesn't have all the bells and whistles of regular office. If you are like most people, you really don't use the bells and whistles. I do quite a bit of work in Office with my employment (law) and find that everything that I need can be done on Office Online. If you really don't need a lot of features, check of Google Docs, it rocks as well.
3) 100GB of online storage. From your new Chromebox (or Chromebook) go to drive.google.com/redeem and type in some information an viola, 100GB of online storage.
4) It is simple to use. There is no learning curve with the Chromebox. It is the Chrome web browser and if you have used any browser in the last 5 years, you will be up to speed. There are a few features that you don't get on regular Chrome like Bluetooth and WIFI but even make that easy to operate.
5) It uses Google Print. So this could be a frustration for a lot of people. The Chromebox, even though it has USB ports, does not allow you to connect printers because it doesn't install drivers. So what can you do? First, get a printer that is Google Print capable. Okay, I am with you, I really don't need another printer laying around my house. Second, try the xPrint Server from Lantronix. Granted it is a little expensive (~$150.00) which makes one wonder why not just buy a new printer. Third, use an old computer that runs Chrome as a gateway. While not a great choice, it is better than some of the first options. Fourth, get geeky with a Raspberry Pi. For those that are not aware of what a Raspberry Pi is, it is a $35 computer capable of running Linux. Needless to say, Chrome can run on Linux and it can also install printer drivers. Here is a tutorial on turning a Raspberry Pi into your Google Cloud Print servant.
Again, this is a hurdle for a lot of people but I will say, after you get Google Cloud Print working, it is awesome. No more worrying about what computer your document is on and what computer is connected to which printer. It is simply, clicking this printer and this document.
6) It can be customized. If you find out that Chrome OS is not your thing that is okay. There are plenty of tutorials on how to install Ubuntu on the Chromebox either as a dual-boot or replacement. If you are interested in this, I would recommend getting an extra 2GB stick of ram (Laptop DDR3). It may also be smart to upgrade the size of the SSD as well. If that looks greek to you, then just stick with Chrome OS.
Hopefully you have found my review helpful of the Chromebox. Just to recap, this is a great desktop replacement if all you need is something to surf the internet with and do homework. You will be pleasantly surprised at how fast it loads up and how easy it is to use.