Top 5 Best Chromebox PCs 2021:
- ASUS Chromebox 3 – N019U
- ACER CX13 Chromebox
- ASUS Chromebox M004U Desktop
- Samsung Series 3 Chromebox XE300M22
- ASUS CS10 Chromebit
Are you planning on taking the living room streaming experience to the next level?
Are you looking for a relatively inexpensive productivity PC?
Google’s Chromebox mini-computer is a perfect solution for you!
These mini-computers are available in a wide range of configurations from several different manufacturers, from low-powered living room machines to high-end productivity powerhouses.
This is why figuring out which one to buy can quickly become a chore, but don’t worry! We’ve done the research for you.
In this article, we’ll review 5 best Chromeboxes you can find on the current market as well as breakdown things you need to consider before buying a Chromebook.
5 Best Chromebox PCs In 2021: Detailed Reviews
Now that you know what is a Chromebox and what you should consider before buying one, you can check your best options.
We present to you the 5 best Chromebox computers on the market!
The Chromebox 3 is the latest model from ASUS and is one of these company’s best ChromeOS machines.
Although the base model is quite capable and affordable, we think the N019U model offers much more for the money. It not only sports a faster Core i3-7100U CPU, but it also features 8GB of super-fast DDR4 RAM.
Even though the N019U is more expensive than the base Chromebox 3 model, it hits the sweet spot of price versus features.
The N019U features an HDMI and a DisplayPort, so you don’t have to worry about having trouble hooking it up to a monitor or TV. Intel’s integrated 4K UHD graphics card is more than capable of handling 4K video and almost all games available in Google’s Appstore.
One of the features we particularly liked about this mini-PC is the VESA mount compatibility. You can attach the Chromebox 3 to any monitor or TV that has VESA mount points and save space that way. This also allows you to manage cables more neatly.
ASUS Chromebox 3-N019U is one of the best mini-PCs on the market. It is future-proof, secure, and dependable. If only it was a bit cheaper.
- 7th Gen Core i7 CPU
- 8GB of ultra-fast DDR4 RAM
- Can be VESA mounted
- A bit pricey
If you don’t want to hassle with getting a mouse and keyboard separately, and instead want an all-in-one solution, then look no further than the ACER CX13.
This Chromebox comes bundled with a wireless mouse and a hard-to-find Chrome customized keyboard. But that is not all this little PC has to offer.
The ACER CX13 Chromebox packs some serious heat under the hood. Intel’s 8th generation Core i3-8130U processor can handle almost any load you throw at it. It can even turbo up to 3.4GHz from its base 2.2GHz clock
The CPU is supported by Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics 620 chip. While it won’t be able to run the latest AAA games, this graphics chip will chew through any game from Google’s Play Store. Furthermore, you won’t have any trouble streaming and playing 4k video.
The memory is just as impressive as the rest of the machine. The CX13 features 8GB of blazing-fast DDR4 ram and 32GB M.2 SATA SSD. This means the computer will boot in seconds, and you won’t have any stuttering or freezing.
The CX13 won’t break a sweat even if you have dozens of tabs open in your web browser or when playing games in glorious 4k.
- Comes bundled with a mouse and keyboard
- 8GB of DDR4 RAM
- Powerful CPU
- A bit expensive
If you’re short on cash and you want to upgrade your living room experience with a capable streaming computer, the ASUS M004U is your best option.
Since this is quite a budget machine, you can’t expect it to run flawlessly. However, if you want to enjoy watching movies on Netflix or Amazon and want to do some web browsing on the side, the M400U is just right for you.
The ASUS M400U Chromebox features an Intel Dual-Core Celeron 2995U CPU clocked at 1.4GHz. While this is not the most powerful CPU on the market, it won’t have trouble handling tasks such as video streaming and light internet browsing.
The CPU is supported with an Intel HD Graphics chip that won’t have any problems handling video streaming and some light gaming. Don’t expect much from it, this is a budget machine after all.
When it comes to memory, this Chromebox has 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 16GB SSD for storage. You can upgrade the ram with an additional 2GB and expand the storage capacity with an MMC SD card.
The ASUS Chromebox M004U is an excellent buy if you’re looking to switch out your old set-top box with something far more powerful and versatile.
- Very affordable
- MMC SD card reader
- A plethora of useful ports
- Slow under heavy load
- Low storage capacity
- Only 2GB of RAM
Samsung is a brand that doesn’t need an introduction. This tech giant has its hands in a wide range of fields like Smartphones, TVs, computers, etc.
The Series 3 Chromebox is not Samsung’s latest offering, but it’s the one that offers the best bang for the buck.
This Chromebox mini-pc sports an Intel Celeron B840 processor clocked at 1.9GHz. This CPU is powerful enough to handle most daily tasks such as editing documents, browsing the web, and streaming video.
Intel’s Integrated HD Graphics chip that handles video output is nothing worth bragging about. It can handle basic things like video streaming and even some light photo editing. Don’t expect it to run the latest games on the Google Play store.
Thankfully, the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox has 4GB of DDR3 RAM. This means you won’t experience much stuttering when opening large files or browsing the internet.
The one thing we really like about this machine is the connectivity. It features six USB ports, a DVI port, an Ethernet port, and two DisplayPorts. While there is no HDMI port, you can quickly fix this with an inexpensive DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter.
- Extremely affordable
- 4GB of DDR3 RAM
- Excellent connectivity
- Only 16GB of storage
- No HDMI port
The last place in our list of best Chromebox computers on the market goes to quite an unusual device. The ASUS Chromebit is the smallest Chromebox computer you can find.
The Chromebit is so small in fact that it isn’t much bigger than your regular USB flash drive. This means that you can turn literally any display into a full-fledged PC in a matter of seconds.
The ASUS Chromebit is a godsend if you’re looking to upgrade your regular TV into a smart TV, or if you need an inexpensive ‘kiosk computer.’
This tiny computer is powered by Rockghip Quad Core RK3288 CPU clocked at 1,8 GHZ. This is pretty impressive when you factor in its size.
The graphics are handled by an integrated Rockchip T764 Mail graphics chip that can handle most day-to-day tasks. You won’t experience any freezing or stuttering while editing documents, watching YouTube or Netflix, and browsing the web.
The Chromebit also features 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM, which is surprisingly solid for such a small form-factor machine.
You also get 16GB of internal storage. While this is not particularly amazing, you have to keep in mind that with every Chromebox, you also get 100GB of Google Cloud storage. Just upload all your files to the cloud, and you won’t have any storage shortages.
ASUS Chromebit is an excellent solution to your living room streaming problem. It is also far more versatile than most set-top boxes thanks to ChromeOS and it’s support of Android apps.
- Extremely compact
- Very versatile and mobile
- Limited storage space
- Only compatible with wireless mouse and keyboard
What Is A Chromebox And What You Should Consider Before Buying A Chromebox
Whether you want to replace your dusty old Windows tower PC or you’re looking for an energy-efficient ‘box computer,’ Chromeboxes are an excellent solution.
A Chromebox is a mini-desktop computer that runs ChromeOS. You can use these computers for anything, from video streaming to productivity.
While Chromeboxes can fulfill most uses cases, they aren’t for everyone. For instance, if you’re planning about doing a lot of HD video editing, you should give Chromebox computers a pass.
Unfortunately, Chromeboxes aren’t as powerful as video editing workstations, nor do they have the same support as Windows or macOS.
However, ChromeOS comes chock-full of other productivity software such as G-Suit and Microsoft Office.
But, since you’re reading this, we’re assuming you’re not here to learn about the pros and cons of ChromeOS itself.
You’re probably more interested in the stuff under the hood. This is, we’re going to teach you everything you should consider before buying a Chromebox.
1. Consider Mouse And Keyboard
- Chromebox computers are usually sold without any accessories. All you get out of the box is the PC unit, a power cable, and a manual.
- The reason why Chromeboxes are sold as such is to keep the cost down as much as possible. Google is relying on the fact that you already have a mouse and keyboard lying around your house.
- And if you don’t, you can easily pick up a set from Amazon or your local computer store. We recommend you get a wireless mouse and keyboard since they’ll make things much cleaner.
- Of course, not all Chromeboxes are sold alone. Some manufacturers sell Chromebox computers bundled with a mouse and keyboard specially designed to work with ChromeOS.
To summarize, if you already own a mouse and keyboard, you should consider buying a bare Chromebox. And if you don’t, you can go for a Chromebox bundled with a mouse and keyboard.
2. TV Or Monitor?
After item you’ll have to get on your own is the monitor. That is if you want to use a monitor for video output.
Chromebox works with anything that has an HDMI port. This means you can also plug it into your living room TV.
Not only that, but Chromboxes also have a full-sized DisplayPort out. This means you can push things even further and daisy chain a pair of DisplayPort monitors. Related: The Best Displayport Cable
- If you want to hook up the Chromebox to your old monitor that has VGA or DVI ports, you shouldn’t worry. Even CRT monitors are compatible with Chromebox so long you have the appropriate adapter. You can pick up VGA-to-HDMI or DVI-to-HDMI adapter for real cheap on Amazon.
- If hunting down a monitor or adapter isn’t your thing, you can always check out any of the Chromebase machines. A Chromebase is an all-in-one computer with a built-in monitor and speakers. They also have an HDMI in port that allows you to use it as an external monitor for your laptop.
3. What About CPU Power?
After you’ve figured out what mouse, keyboard, and monitor you’re going to use, it’s time to figure out the fine details.
The most essential component on a Chromebox is its CPU. These mini-PCs are similar in many regards, but they’re not built equal. Some models are faster and have more storage, while others are slower but allow for upgrades.
Most low-end Chromboxes feature a dual-core Intel Celeron 2995U or 2957U CPU running at 1.4 GHz. These CPUs are fast enough to handle most tasks, and when paired with integrated graphics, you get a fair balance between performance and cost.
- If you have a bigger budget, you can get a Chromebox sporting an Intel Core i3 CPU. And If your budget is unlimited, you can go for a high-end model that sports a Core i5 or i7.
- It would help if you kept in mind that you don’t need a beefy CPU for an optimum ChromeOS experience. Google’s OS isn’t so taxing on the hardware as Windows or macOS.
- All Chromeboxes feature the same graphics card, integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. While the sight of these words might induce visions of stuttering and poor performance to some, you shouldn’t worry.
- As we said, Chrome OS is far less hardware-intensive than other PC operating systems. On top of that, integrated graphics have gone a long way from the days of Intel’s GMA offerings.
- Intel’s Integrated graphics featured in Chromeboxes are more than capable of handling full-HD video and some games without breaking a sweat.
5. What About Memory?
- When Chromeboxes launched all the way back in 2012, they all shipped with 4GB of RAM.
- Unfortunately, in 2014 this standard has fallen to measly 2GB.
- Manufacturers cited several reasons for this downgrade, but the most important reason was the profit margin. And since ChromeOS doesn’t need much RAM, companies figured out 2GB is enough for optimal user experience.
- Of course, not all Chromeboxes come with only 2GB of RAM, but you will have to pay extra for more. Some models allow for RAM expansions, which is always lovely.
- If possible, you can easily switch out the 2GB singe stick of SODIMM DDR3L RAM with two 4GB sticks. 8GB of RAM is more than enough to keep your Chromebox lag-free even if you have apps running in the background while you have 30 tabs open in your web browser.
- When it comes to storage memory, most Chromeboxes come with very little storage. Thankfully, you can easily install an additional M2 or SATA SSD. And if that seems like too much of a hassle, you can plug in an external hard drive or a flash drive.
If you’re looking for a compact, affordable, but secure PC, a Chromebox should definitely be on your radar. While they do have a couple of tradeoffs when compared to a traditional PC, most of those aren’t that negatives, just differences.
See Also: The Best Triple Monitor Stand
This brings us to the end of our article. All that’s left is to declare the winner. After a couple of hours of bickering, we’ve came to the following conclusion:
- If budget is not an issue to you and you’re looking for a capable mini desktop-PC, go for the ASUS Chromebox 3-N019U.
- If you’re on a tighter budget but are looking for a machine that offers the most value for your money, go for the ACER CX13 Chromebox.
- If you want to replace your old STB with something more versatile, look no further than the ASUS Chromebox M004U Desktop.
Of course, the ultimate decision ultimately lies in your hands. We just home we helped you make a more informed decision.