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ASUS Chromebox 4 Review: When a Chromebook Isn’t Big Enough

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The ASUS Chromebox 4 and all included hardware
Rating:
7.5/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $489

ASUS

Chromebooks are terrific, and their numbers have exploded during the pandemic with many schools and offices requiring them. With a plethora of browser-based applications, they serve as the perfect devices for anyone who needs to work or study from anywhere.

Here’s What We Like

  • Supports up to three 4K monitors
  • More RAM and SSD capacity than many Chromebooks
  • Lots of ports
  • Base model is expandable to 16GB of RAM

And What We Don’t

  • Need to add keyboard, mouse, and monitor
  • Expensive when fully configured

But they have their downsides as well. The most obvious one is the small screen and keyboard when compared to most desktop PCs. Spending hours on end looking at an 11- to 14-inch screen and typing on a laptop-size keyboard is physically exhausting,

That’s where a Chromebox fits in. A Chromebox is essentially a desktop that’s designed to run the Chrome OS (which is built on top of Linux) rather than Windows, and operate completely in an internet browser, generally running applications in the cloud, rather than locally on the device.

Table of Contents

MSI Cubi 5 10M Desktop is roughly the same size as the Asus Chromebox 4, with the same amount of RAM and same SSD, but costs almost $50 more. And the Chromebox is small enough to use with the included VESA adapter and mount on the rear of most monitors, freeing up even more desk space if needed.

Other reasons to go with the Chrome OS over Windows are stability, usability, and availability of numerous Android apps. Windows, especially as of late, tends to need frequent updates, and there are plenty of horror stories of Windows updates causing data loss and other problems. Chrome OS gets updated frequently, too, but it’s a fast seamless process.

Chrome OS also tends to be a bit easier for many users to operate. Power on, open the Chrome browser, and get to work. There’s a myth that you can’t use a Chromebook (or Chromebox) if the internet goes down. While that’s somewhat true if you are running cloud-based apps, other apps (notably Google Docs) run just fine locally.

Additionally, many apps run faster on the Chrome OS simply because there are fewer background processes taking up machine resources. And Windows can’t take advantage of the thousands of Android apps that run on Chrome OS … though Chrome OS can’t natively run Windows applications, either.

Finally, one last reason to consider a move to a Chrome OS device is that many schools and colleges are using apps that run on a Chrome browser. In lots of cases, these will run better on a Chrome OS machine rather than in a Chrome browser in Windows.

Perfect for the Whole Family

Students may be a prime market for Chrome-based PCs, whether in laptop form or, as with the Chromebox 4, desktop format. But with more and more other family and business applications running in the cloud, browser-based computing, such as those available with Chromebooks or the Chromebox 4 I reviewed, make more and more sense. Add to that the availability of thousands of Android and Chrome apps, and it’s a sure bet you and your family will find plenty of places to use the Chromebox 4.

Keep in mind that many Android apps were designed to be used with a touch screen. In many cases, these will work just fine, and I had no trouble using a mouse with the half-dozen assorted Android apps I ran, but your mileage (and experience) may be different. So, you’ll want to take a close look at what you are running and what apps you think you might want to run to determine if you’ll miss having a touch screen.

Of course, if you’re used to working on the kitchen table, this micro desktop is probably not the best choice. In that situation, a regular Chromebook or laptop would be a better choice. A decent i3 or i5-based Chromebook will run about the same price as the $449 Chromebox 4. And adding a large display, large keyboard, and mouse to a Chromebook will cost the same as adding them to the Chromebox 4. You’re not really saving much, if anything, by going the Chromebox route rather than hanging full-size peripherals on a Chromebook. The true benefits are ease of use, user-expandability, and a ton of ports–more than you’ll find in most Chromebooks.

Showing the Chromebox 4's vesa mount on a monitor
ASUS

If you’ve been using a Chromebook that works well with the applications you need but you’re just tired of squinting at the screen (and/or if you have big fat fingers like I do), the Chromebox 4 and a decent keyboard mouse, and display will make things a lot less stressful. And if space on your desk is at a premium, consider mounting the Chromebox 4 to the back of the monitor using the included VESA mount. It’s less convenient than having all the ports available right there on your desk, but it’s a lot like having an all-in-one that runs Chrome OS.

With either approach, for about the same price as a premium Chromebook, you get the benefits of a high-end Chrome-based laptop (lots of RAM and SSD storage), along with the better usability of a desktop. And while a Chromebook or Chromebox like the Asus Chromebox 4 isn’t perfect for every user, it’s very much worth considering if it’s time to upgrade or add a new machine to your inventory.

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Slap A Wallet on Your Iphone 12 with Otterbox’s New MagSafe Selections

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Slap A Wallet on Your iPhone 12 with Otterbox’s New MagSafe Options
OtterBox

OtterBox has extra two new additions to its line of MagSafe Iphone extras. There is the standalone OtterBox Wallet for MagSafe, for streamlined card and hard cash storage, and the Folio for MagSafe, which offers storage as perfectly as screen security.

The Wallet for MagSafe features two ID slots and area to retailer money and shields your cards from magnetic damage. It’ll perform on all Iphone 12 products, and can even assault via Otterbox’s MagSafe scenarios, like the Figura, Aneu, or Symmetry products. It’s made of smooth-touch artificial leather and seems additional rugged than Apple’s leather-based wallet alternative, and its potent magnets will continue being hooked up and aligned on the back of your Iphone.

The Folio for MagSafe is a wallet-type scenario created with the very same artificial leather-based as the Wallet for MagSafe. It characteristics three card slots, together with house for cash, and wraps all around your cell phone to keep your iPhone’s display secured. The Folio stays closed when you’re not on your cellular phone, thanks to the solid magnetic latch, and you can even use it in tandem with suitable OtterBox instances.

Each of OtterBox’s new types have a uncomplicated all-black design that seems to be cleanse and attractive. Though they are each a little bit pricey—that’s $39.95 for the wallet and $49.95 for the folio—they do value fewer than Apple’s leather wallet so they’re a terrific option.

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