If you’ve read any of my articles I’m sure you’ll be aware I love the Chromebox. I currently own an Asus Chromebox 3 and I use it on a daily basis to get most of my website worked completed. I love my Chromebooks as well, but having the ability to attach your own monitor, keyboard and mouse is what I like. Sure, you can do that on a Chromebook, but then you’d have to ask yourself the question why bother getting a laptop in the first place. If you need a laptop and a desktop Chrome OS computer and don’t want to pay for both. Hooking up your Chromebook to an external display is fine. However, it will never beat the setup you can get with a Chromebox.
I mentioned recently about HP launching there new HP Chromebox G3. Although I love my Asus Chromebox 3. I immediately realised the HP G3 had better specs, which means it will take the title of the best Chromebox from the Asus Chromebox 3. Well, maybe that isn’t going to happen, as it appears we have a battle coming our way because Asus will be shipping the Asus Chromebox 4 in late March 2021.
My first ever Chromebook was HP, so I’ve got nothing against them whatsoever. It was a great Chromebook. I’ve also owned an Asus Chromebook and Chromebox. Again, both of these are great and I have no concerns. So I’m completely neutral here about who may provide us with the best Chromebox. I think both brands have provided us with some great Chrome OS computers over the years. So it will be really interesting to see who takes the badge for offering the best Chromebox in 2021.
HP CHROMEBOX G3
The HP Chromebox G3 will be available in different configurations from an Intel Celeron processor right the way up to Intel i7. The RAM available will depend on the type of processor you opt for. However, a maximum of 16GB will be available, which will most likely be for the Intel i7 version. Again, the storage size will differ depending on the configuration you choose. The maximum storage available will be 128 GB.
The difference with the storage isn’t going to be just about the amount you get. It looks like the cheaper configurations will come with eMMC and the more expensive models will get a true SSD. This will make the decision of what configuration to choose more complicated. If you’re on a budget then you’ll most likely opt for a Celeron processor, which will come with eMMC storage. However, if you’ve got more money to spend then ensuring you choose a configuration, which offers SSD storage will be a wise move. SSD storage is simply faster and more reliable than the cheaper eMMC option.
In a way, it’s much easier choosing a Chromebox because you don’t need to consider the display, keyboard or trackpad quality. Apart from the processor, RAM, Storage and storage type. The other important factor is connectivity. The HP Chromebox G3 will come with 3 x USB A 3.2, 1 x USB C, 1 x USB A 2.0. Unlike the Asus Chromebox 3, it will also have two HDMI ports capable of supporting 4K at 60FPS. It’s also nice to see they have gone with the latest WiFi 6.
ASUS CHROMEBOX 4
It’s a similar story with the Asus Chromebox 4 when you look at the specs. Again, it will be available in different configurations starting with an Intel Celeron right up to the Intel i7. The RAM will start at 4GB right the way up to 16GB depending on the model you choose. When it comes to storage the 32GB and 64GB versions will be eMMC. If you opt for a configuration, which offers 128GB or 256GB you’ll be getting SSD storage. It appears the Asus Chromebox 4 will offer up to 256GB where the HP Chromebox G3 will only offer up to 128GB.
Asus has also opted for WiFi 6, which is great to see. When you consider you can now play games on Chrome OS devices. Having a good internet connection is absolutely paramount. Another great benefit of the Chromebox is if you’ve got bad WiFi you can always use the ethernet port to get a better connection. Something that is lacking on most laptops today.
The Asus Chromebox 4 looks like it may win on connectivity. Instead of offering 3 x USB A 3.2 you get 5 x USB A 3.2 on the Asus Chromebox 4. Just like the HP Chromebox G3 it also comes with 1 x USB C. This means you can hook up to three monitors to these Chromebox computers. It took me a while to get two monitors connected to my Asus Chromebox 3 because it only had one HDMI port. So before I could connect a second monitor I had to buy some adapters to use the USB C port for my second display.
USING MULTIPLE DISPLAYS
It’s good to see both the Asus Chromebox 4 and HP Chromebox G3 come with two HDMI ports. This will make it much easier to connect two external displays. The fact they are both capable of handling 4K is also a good move by both manufacturers. This makes the Chromebox more versatile than the Chromebook and having larger displays is perfect for gaming.
You can of course connect three monitors to both of these Chromebox computers. Two displays using the HDMI ports and a third display using the USB type C port. So if two displays are not enough for you there is no need to worry. I’m really delighted with what the next generation of Chromeboxes is going to offer us. The question is, which one will be the most popular? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer because I’m sure the price will play an important factor.
At the moment neither of these Chromebox appear to be widely available. The HP Chromebox G3 was supposed to be available in late 2020, but I’ve not seen any in the UK or USA. The Asus Chromebox 4 is supposed to be shipping in March 2021, but we’ll have to wait and see if that happens. So, if you’re after an upgrade I’d definitely be considering a Chromebox for your next desktop computer.
They also appear to be marketing both of these Chromeboxes to the education sector. This makes sense because the ability to use a bigger display is something that would work in the classroom. Also, being able to connect via Ethernet is possibly going to offer a more seamless internet connection in a room with multiple devices needing WiFi access. That being said, WiFi 6 should sort out any issues with too many devices needing access to WiFi.
I’m really happy we now have two manufacturers bringing out the next generation of Chromeboxes. I truly love my Chromebook and Pixel Slate. When it comes to what I use most though. It’s the Chromebox all the way. Much better for playing games and also the perfect choice for office work.