Come March, you’ll be able to pick up this tiny desktop computer for $179 — from a reputable hardware manufacturer, no less. The catch? There are a few, of course.
The first, and arguably the biggest, is right there in the name. Asus’ Chromebox runs Chrome OS, Google’s browser-turned-desktop-operating-system. That means, among other things, learning a brand new operating system (familiar to Google Chrome users) for most of us.
And while the fledgling operating system has come a long way since the days when you couldn’t work offline, there are still a number of limitations with Chrome: Most notably, the number and quality of apps available. That said, low-priced Chromebooks — the cheap, Chrome-based laptop computers — appear to be selling at a reasonable clip according to a number of accounts, and where sales go, developers should inevitably follow.
So, what does $179 of your hard-earned cash get you here? We haven’t reviewed it yet, but what we do know is that Asus’ offering has some solid processing power inside, 16 GB of storage, three USB ports (which is one more than my significantly more expensive MacBook offers) and even high-definition video output, at 4K quality.
All of that is crammed into a snug 4.88 × 4.88 × 1.65-inch body, making it a touch larger than the current Apple TV. Asus’ Chromebox is arriving next month, bringing along 100 GB of free Google Drive storage with it.