I’ve owned my Asus Chromebox 3 for a few years now and use it almost every day. I’ve also owned plenty of Chromebooks during this time, and I’m currently using the Pixelbook Go and the Asus CX5 Chromebook.
Although I love Chromebooks I could not do without my Chromebox because it gives you more flexibility. A Chromebox is essentially a ChromeOS desktop computer, but they are a lot smaller in comparison to a Windows desktop PC. This means you can choose your own external display, keyboard, and mouse. I also like to use two displays, which is another reason why I love my Chromebox. Find out how I added two displays to my Asus Chromebox 3.
If you’re considering a ChromeOS desktop computer there is another type you need to consider, which is the Chromebase. A Chromebase comes as an all-in-one computer where the processor, RAM, and all the other stuff you find in a computer are integrated into the monitor. A great example is the HP Chromebase, which would look great in any home or work office environment.
The argument against a Chromebase
Although I’m seriously considering replacing my Chromebox with a Chromebase when the time comes. There are some things you need to take into consideration. Some may see these as flaws whilst others would prefer it this way because you get a much slicker all-in-one solution.
The main concern with a Chromebase is that if something breaks then everything needs to be replaced. If for example you accidentally cracked the screen; you couldn’t simply go out and replace the monitor. This is because the monitor also includes the actual computer components. Again, if the hard disk broke, you would have to replace the whole unit. This makes replacing a Chromebase with another Chromebase a more expensive option than if you bought a separate Chromebox and display.
It also means you can’t simply decide to upgrade from a 24-inch display to a 28-inch display. You’d be limited to the display that comes with the Chromebase. The one good thing about a Chromebase display is the touchscreen, which you would not normally find when buying a separate display that you may want to hook up to a Chromebox for example.
There is another option
If you got a group of people in a room you would have some who would prefer a Chromebox and separate display setup, whilst others would prefer a Chromebase. There may be many different reasons for this, but what I’ve mentioned above is what would most likely dominate the discussion in terms of the pros and cons of both types of ChromeOS computers.
The good news is Acer has released the Acer CXI5 Chromebox, which addresses this issue. This is because it has been designed together with a separate Add-In-One 24-inch display. A separate display, which has a docking station for the CXI5 Chromebox. So strictly speaking this is a Chromebox and a separate display, but it’s been designed to look and work like a Chromebase.
The advantage of this is that you can still get that clear desk minimal look, but still have the flexibility of replacing either the display or computer separately. This means you can easily swap or repair the Chromebox without having to worry about replacing the display. You can also replace it with a totally different Chromebox in the future because it comes with a VESA mount kit.
The Acer Chromebox CXI5 will be available in North America and Europe by the end of March 2023. Prices in the US will start from $289 and in the EU 349 Euros. There isn’t a separate price that I can see for the UK, but I would assume this model will still be released in the UK at the same time.
The Add-In-One available in the same regions at the same time will start at $609 or 799 Euros. So all together it’s a relatively expensive setup, but it does offer much more flexibility than a Chromebase.
To find out more take a look at this Acer article on their website about the new Acer CXI5 and All-In-One 24.