ASUS on Tuesday announced a sharp new Chromebox that will be perfect for education, or someone that’s curious to tinker around in Google’s desktop world. Devices running Google’s Chrome OS, especially Chromebooks, have really taken off over the last several months, offering surprising versatility in some really attractive packages. We saw one in particular at CES we liked, and there are many others out there that are worth a look, including this new one from ASUS, which starts at $179.
“The ASUS Chromebox offers the simplicity, security and speed of Chrome OS in the most compact and powerful Chrome device to date,” said Felix Lin, director of product management at Google.
Built with integrated virus and malware protection, the ASUS Chromebox is a simple machine with plenty of power to meet most everyone’s needs, whether it be editing documents, pictures or just browsing the Web. Chrome OS doesn’t provide the same kind of desktop experience as Windows or OS X, but it gives users access to the search giant’s many services, along with thousands of Chrome Web Store apps—many of which are designed for business, education and home use.
Specs for the ASUS Chromebox include an Intel Celeron 2955U Processor, an Intel Core i3-4010U processor or an Intel Core i7-4600U processor (the Core i3 and Core i7 prices will come later) 2GB/4GB x DDR3 RAM, integrated Intel HD graphics, 16GB SSD with 100GB of Google Drive storage (for two years), 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 4x USB 3.0 and a 2-in-1 card reader. There’s also HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, so you can go dual monitor, and even use a 4K Ultra High Definition display (though 4K displays will require the Core i3 model at the minimum).
If you’re a student (or school) that has simple computing needs, a Chromebox is a wonderful option, and much cheaper than most competing computers. Of course, seeing as the Chromebox requires a monitor, an actual Chromebook might be the smarter option. Still, ASUS’s new kit sure doesn’t sound bad at all, and at $179 the price is very friendly. Expect for the ASUS Chromebox to hit U.S. retailers in mid-March, though it doesn’t appear the i7 model is destined for U.S. shores.