Small form factor computing can benefit your clients in many ways: not only are small computers easier to deploy and space-saving by nature, they can also consume less energy compared to a full-blown tower PC while still packing enough processing power to get things done.
One such small form factor computer is the Asus Chromebox, which is not only small in size (it’s only 124 x 124 x 42 mm), but also highly affordable, and primed to run Google’s Chrome OS rather than Windows (no need for messy Windows licences). It’s a delightful little unit that your clients will love if all they need is something simple for their employees to run everyday office tasks, and it’s an especially good choice for businesses that need computers that can be shared by multiple users on different rosters.
What is the Asus Chromebox?
Simply put, the Asus Chromebox is an inexpensive, small, and intuitive computer. With a recommended retail price starting from $299, the Chromebox is an affordable option for those clients who need nothing more than a compact computer for flexible operation. It still has all the regular connectivity your clients look for in a computer, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.0, SD card slot, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11n Wi-Fi, but it’s not like a regular desktop -- in a good way.
One of the most appealing features of the Chromebox is Google’s Cloud-based operating system, Chrome OS. Anybody who is familiar with a Web browser will be able to navigate Chrome OS easily. The interface is Web-based, meaning that most settings and apps are run inside what looks like a regular Chrome Web browser.
Anybody can log in to their Google account on the Chromebox and instantly access all of their personal data, settings and apps without altering the system for other users. This functionality makes the Chromebox great as a customer or employee kiosk for businesses, or even as a student kiosk for the education sector.
On the inside, its configuration is ample for tackling everyday office work through Web-based apps. It comes equipped with with an Intel Celeron 2955U CPU, 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and a 16GB flash drive for internal storage. The inclusion of Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi means your client will have fast access to their internal network and the Web.
What can it be used for?
The lightweight nature of Chrome OS and the robust internal configuration, mean that the system will offer speed and stability for the things your client will do regularly, such as Web browsing, email, and document creation.
The Chromebox is highly dependent on the Cloud for storing and accessing data. To this end, the unit comes with 100GB of Google Drive storage included free for two years. Your clients and their employees will be assured of having plenty of space to securely store files, photos and more. There is also a 16GB SSD included, which gives the Asus Chromebox fast boot times and allows for some files to be stored locally. The message here is that users of Chromebox can spend more time working and less time waiting since the system will be fast and all the files they need will be in their Google Drive.
The system allows users to quickly and easily sync their Google accounts with their Chromebox. This inclusion of Cloud storage means that data can be created, shared and viewed from anywhere and available instantly on the Chromebox.
The Chromebox comes equipped with Google Docs and Quickoffice. These two programs allow users to quickly create, edit and share documents with constant Cloud backup so they will never lose a single file or even line of text. Users can work on or offline on documents and have them backed up instantly to Google Drive. Quickoffice allows work on Microsoft Office documents without compatibility issues.
While it’s a Cloud-based system, users don’t need to be online all the time in order to access the data they need. There is an ability to ‘pin’ files for offline access, which means users can create and update files whether online or offline. Files will be saved to Google drive as soon as an Internet connection is established. This will be particularly appealing for business users who do a lot of work on the move and require access to their files from multiple locations.
Multimedia is not left behind either. While the unit has the ability to play music and video content through Google Play and YouTube, there is also the ability to play locally stored MP3s and MP4 video files, either off the SSD or from a USB hard drive or stick.
A ready-to-go, and secure system
The Asus Chromebox can do it all straight out of the box, with pre-installed Google apps to get the user started straight away without any need for installation of additional software such as Microsoft Office. The included suite of Google Web-based applications means users can produce documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and drawings straight away. Web browsing and streaming video are available instantly with Google Chrome and YouTube. With a setup that is so simple, even the biggest technophobes can easily set up their Chromebox in minutes without the need for time-consuming tutorials.
With built-in virus protection that updates automatically, the Chromebox is a secure machine straight out of the box. With no input required from the user, the unit will update itself to stay safe and secure without your client having to worry about it, ensuring management costs are kept low.
The built in privacy protection means that users can share their Chromebox with others without worrying about their sensitive data. Guest mode and sign-in enable anyone to use the Chromebox without compromising other users precious data. The unit comes with a VESA mount that allows it to be mounted to the wall or behind a monitor for discreet placement, and there is a Kensington lock so that the unit can be secured via a cable.
The Bottom Line
Whether you clients are looking for an entry level desktop solution with a small form factor, or a scalable solution to grow with their needs, the Asus Chromebox is the perfect addition to a business or educational environment.