The ASUS Chromebox 3 is the best Chromebox you can buy right now. It’s available in several configurations, but all models feature a true M.2 SATA SSD for years of worry-free storage and upgradability should you need it.
Best Overall: ASUS Chromebox 3
The Chromebox 3 is ASUS’ newest model, and it’s one of the company’s best ever. You can get the base model for less than $300, but we think the N019U model with a faster processor and more memory hits the sweet spot of price versus features — all for just a couple hundred bucks more. All models come with a full set of ports for connection to monitors or televisions — including current-generation USB-C ports — so you can use your favorite mouse and keyboard or an external storage drive filled with movies.
The ASUS Chromebox 3 is a Chromebox for the whole family that’s future proof, secure, and dependable. We do have a few issues — there isn’t any compatibility with Windows apps and there aren’t any internal speakers (so you’ll need to pay extra). This might be an issue if you’re on a budget, since the Chromebox 3 is still expensive compared to others on the market. However, based on what you get in terms of features, you can’t go wrong here.
- Desktop-class Intel Core processors
- High-speed DDR4 RAM
- User-upgradable hard drive
- Legacy HDMI and USB connections
- SD card reader
- No internal speakers
- No compatibility with Windows apps
- Base model is a bit underpowered
ASUS Chromebox 3
The best for everyone
You’ll be able to browse the web, shop online, do your taxes, or even play a game with the Chromebox 3 and stay safe and secure thanks to Chrome OS.
Best Value: Acer CX13 Chromebox
If you would rather grab one box with everything you need — including a hard-to-find Chrome customized keyboard — and save some cash, then the Acer Chromebox CX13 is a great buy. And because Google supports Chrome products for a full six years nobody thinks it’s crazy to buy last year’s model to save a few dollars.
You’ll still be able to surf the web and social media, stream your favorite movies and shows, or even get some work done if that’s what you need. It’s not as speedy as the newer and more expensive Chromebox 3, but the price makes it a perfect choice for a lot of people.
- Excellent price
- Chrome-layout keyboard included
- Easy connection to a TV or monitor
- Last years specifications
- Can be sluggish under a heavy load
- Base configuration can be hard to find
Acer CX13 Chromebox
It’s all in the box
Acer’s CX13 Chromebox comes as a complete kit with matching Chrome keyboard and mouse so you won’t have to track down any peripherals.
Is it a good time to buy a Chromebox?
Yes! Chrome is constantly getting new features that make it more usable as a desktop and a Chromebox is the best way to experience it. By being a device that’s always plugged in you don’t have near the thermal throttling that you would find in a Chromebook with a monitor and keyboard attached and the result is a better experience from the same class of specs.
Google supports Chromeboxes with anutomatic updates for a whopping six years and it’s not hard to update them yourself after the official support is over so a purchase now will be good for years to come. If you want a desktop operating system with a world class browser, the best security, and plenty of apps and games available through Google Play you can’t go wrong with a Chromebox.
The ASUS Chromebox 3 is what we’ve always wanted to see in a Chromebox. Models and prices for everyone are available, and every configuration has the ports and power you need to have a great experience while staying secure and up to date with Google’s Chrome software. We think it’s the very best Chromebox for everyone.
If you would rather grab one box with everything you need — including a hard-to-find Chrome customized keyboard — then the Acer Chromebox CX13’s base model is a great buy, and because Google supports Chrome products for a full six years nobody thinks it’s crazy to buy last years model to save a few dollars.
The best upgrades
A Chromebox is great, but one thing makes our top pick even better — it’s user-upgradable. While you can’t swap out the CPU or mainboard, the RAM and hard drive are simple to swap using guides you’ll find on the internet. here’s the right gear to buy.
Crucial 16GB Kit DDR3L 1866 MT/s (PC3-14900) Unbuffered SODIMM 204-Pin Memory
The Right Stuff
Finding the right RAM is harder than actually upgrading it. This is the right RAM and with 16GB of it your Chromebox will fly!
Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA M.2 Type 2280SS Internal SSD
Oodles of room
This M.2 SATA drive will snap right in to your Chromebox 3 and with its 1TB of space you’ll have room for all the cat pics and memes you ever wanted to download.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation’s Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google’s Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You’ll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.
Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there’s a correlation.
September 18, 2019 at 01:06AM