While you look at the market for great premium Chromebooks, sometimes you might really wonder if you need need a laptop running ChromeOS. If you want to try the simple and efficient operating system for the first time, or just run and enjoy it while sitting at a desk hooked up to a monitor without worrying about battery life or other issues, then a Chromebox works well, too.
A Chromebox is basically like a mini PC tower. Rather than go through the trouble of installing ChromeOS on your own hardware by using ChromeOS Flex, you can just buy a compact Chromebox that already has everything you need to try ChromeOS right out of the box. Just hook it up to power, a monitor, and a keyboard, and you’re ready to go. This can also let you save space on your desk, or tuck it behind a monitor for a compact and clean setup. In the case of businesses, it’s also great for kiosks and works with docking stations, too. That’s why we put together this handy guide for the best Chromeboxes you can buy in 2022.
Best overall: HP Chromebox G3
If you’re the kind of person that likes to buy the best Chromebox for your money, then the HP Chromebox G3 is what we suggest. This is one of the most customizable Chromeboxes from HP, and it has relatively powerful specs. It’s also within the premium price range, too coming in at $560. Here’s a bit more on why we like it so much.
We’ll start first with the base specs. This unit comes with a base option for Intel Pentium Processors, which is fine for ChromeOS. With the operating system being efficient as is, you’ll be able to speed through most things without issue. But going back to what we said at the top of this section, you also can spec it out with some powerful chips from Intel. This is great for future proofing your Chromebox. You can choose either the 10th generation Intel Core i3-10110U, Intel Core i5-10310U, Intel Core i5-10310U, or the Intel Core i7-10610U. Of course, choosing these will bump the price up significantly, but for long-term use, it might be worth the price to pay.
Other than the CPU choices, you also can choose great RAM options, too. Most configurations will come with 4GB of RAM, but you also can push it as high as 8GB, 16GB, or even 32GB. The more RAM the better, especially if you’re planning to run Android apps, or do heavy multitasking. But if you’re just planning to use it as a point of sales machine, or something lighter, then 4GB should be fine.
As far as storage goes, the base model has a 32Gb eMMC, but for added performance, you can upgrade to an Intel Core i3 processor, and grab a faster 128GB PCIe NVMe Value SSD. This storage is faster than eMMC, which is flash storage, right on the main board. That’s about all for the HP Chromebox G3, but we do want to mention that all units will come with an HP Business Slim USB keyboard. You’ll have to add your own mouse, however.
The most important part of the HP Chromebox G3, though, is the ports. It has dual HDMI ports, USB-A, ethernet, microSD as well as USB-C. This lets you chain it together to displays, for digital signage, and use in kiosks.
Best fanless: ASUS fanless Chromebox
Nobody likes hearing the fans on a computer. It can be quite distracting in a quiet office environment. That’s why there are fanless Chromeboxes. These types of Chromeboxes have interesting design tweaks that make them run efficiently, without running too hot. Our favorite pick is the ASUS Fanless Chromebox. It’s typically available for $400 on Asus.com.
Similar to our top pick, the ASUS Chromebox 4 features a 10th Generation Intel Core or Celeron processor. The ASUS Fanless Chromebox also supports up to three 4K displays and comes equipped with versatile USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports for fast data transfers, and USB-C also supports power delivery and DisplayPort connections. Offering easy access to a rich selection of Android apps available on Google Play, the device enables the use of productivity-boosting apps.
As for the overall design, this is as interesting as it gets. An extruded aluminum chassis is what keeps this Chrombox cool. It has metal fins at the top, which help with heat dissipation. This is really rare on a Chromebox, as most are made of plastic, which, as you know, could be damaged with excess heat.
In addition, the ASUS Fanless Chromebox features a compact, space-saving design with chassis dimensions of 207 x 148 x 32 mm. Each device also features a newly designed lockable VESA mount that securely attaches to a wide range of surfaces. The VESA mount includes a screw-in rubber barrier that protects the surface of the ASUS Fanless Chromebox from everyday bumps and knocks. The VESA mount also allows you to attach the device to your display and turn it into your own customized all-in-one PC for a tidy, clutter-free workspace. If you want a compact and quiet Chromebox, look no further.
ASUS Fanless Chromebox
Want a quieter desktop experience? ASUS has you covered with this fanless Chromebox. A range of configurable specs make this device appealing to a variety of users.
Best for business: AOpen Chromebox Commercial 2
Businesses in need of a Chromebox might want to check out the AOpen Chromebox Commercial 2. As the name suggests, this Chromebox is perfect for use in Business. It combines a lot of what we like in a Chromebox in a perfect and compact package, all for a price just north of $500.
While it’s not a brand you might know, AOpen is really known to provide good computing solutions to businesses. It dubs the Chromebox Commercial 2 as the first of its kind, powerful, commercial grade Chrome OS device. The company says that because this is a Chromebox that’s built tough. It is shock and vibration resistant, has a wide operating temperature range, and sports a fanless design. This can ensure first-rate performance in challenging situations like showroom floors, digital signage, kiosk, and video wall applications.
The most part of Chromeboxes that businesses like is the ability to drive external screens. This one drives up to two UHD 4K screens via HDMI and supports AI applications. It even has optional antennas for better Wi-Fi reception. Through AOpen’s preferred software platform meldCX, the Chromebox even supports AI applications such as eyeball tracking and gesture-based movement.
Powering this Chromebox is an Intel Core i3 processor. It has 4GB of RAM, and a 32GB SSD. Ports include 2 x HDMI ports, 2 x USB-A 3.0 on the front, a headphone jack, an ethernet jack, and 3x USB-A 3.0 on the rear. No keyboard and mouse are included, but as we said, this is the perfect machine for displays, kiosks, and other business situations.
AOpen Chromebox Commercial 2 Chromebox
The APoen Chromebox Commercial 2 is designed for use in business situations
Best compact: ASUS Chromebox 4
Asus makes a lot of great Chromebox machines, and the Chromebox 4 is one of the most compacts you can find. It’s also quite powerful, too, with options for 10th Generation Intel processors. Overall, this Chromebox measures 5.84 x 5.84 x 1.5 inches. It weighs 2.2 pounds, too. That means it’s perfect to put at the back of a monitor, or slide at the side of a desk.
As for what’s powering it, the ASUS Chromebox 4 features a 10th Generation Intel Core or Celeron processor and DDR4-2666 memory for faster, smoother, and more energy-efficient performance. These specs are configurable up to a Core i7 and 16GB of RAM. It also supports up to three 4K displays and comes equipped with versatile USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports for fast data transfers, and USB-C also supports power delivery and DisplayPort connections.
Offering easy access to Android apps via Google Play, the device lets you enjoy your favorite apps. For the added benefit of Chrome Enterprise, the ASUS Chromebox Enterprise 4 option empowers businesses, IT administrators, and remote employees with the tools they need for enhanced productivity and efficiency. You can also configure this Chromebox with up to 256GB of SSD storage, an impressive amount for a Chrome OS device.
Overall, this is the Chromebox for you if you need a top-of-the-line machine with a range of choices when it comes to internal specs. The ability to connect three displays makes this a workhorse at the office and should be at the top of the list for business users.
Best design: Acer CXI3 Chromebox
A lot of the Chromeboxes we’ve highlighted so far are either square or circular-shaped machines. Acer’s Chromebox CX14, though, is quite a different story. It’s a more rounded machine that has an interesting stand which makes it look quite cool when sitting on a desk. This is also a solid Chromebox for businesses, too, as it’s under $270.
This Chromebox runs the Intel Celeron 3867U processor with 4GB of standard memory. You also get up to a 128 GB SSD for storage, very spacious by Chrome OS standards. To add value, Acer also includes a USB mouse and keyboard for easily setting up in a business environment. You can find models without it, though, depending on your needs.
With dimensions of 5.9 in x 5.8 in x1.6 in, this compact Chromebox can fit into any environment. It’s ideal for stowing away on the back of a monitor, and an optional VESA kit allows for easy mounting. You can connect this Chromebox to two displays to extend your desktop and increase productivity. It’s also worth picking up a docking station to extend the port selection if there aren’t enough ports for you to enjoy. Ports here include 1 USB 3. 1 Type C Gen 1 ports 3 – USB 3. 1 Gen 1 ports (2 Front & 1 Rear), 2 – USB 2. 0 ports & 1 and a HDMI Port.
Acer Chromebox CXI3
Those that need a Chrome OS experience on the desktop will love Acer’s Chromebox CXI3-UA91. With 128 GB of SSD storage, this is a great option for small businesses. This Chromebox can fit just about anywhere, even mounted to the back of a monitor.
Best upcoming: Lenovo ThinkCentre M60Q Chromebox
A lot of the Chromebox models we’ve mentioned have been released in the last few years. However, one of the best upcoming models that you’ll be able to buy soon is the Lenovo ThinkCentre M60Q Chromebox. This is Lenovo’s first Chromebox in nearly 7 years, and it’s going to be quite powerful, too as it’s certified for use in enterprise.
The upcoming product won’t be available from Lenovo until February of 2023, and it’s expected to start at $323. For that price, there will be a lot of great processing power. You’ll be able to choose up to a 12th generation Intel Core i5 processor, up to a 256GB SSD, or up to 16GB of RAM. These newer processors will be great for any task, as it comes with performance cores, as well as efficiency cores.
Ports are also great on this machine, as with other Chromebox models. They include a great mix on the front and back. Front ports include 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, and a headphone mic combo. On the rear, there are 4 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.4, as well as an Ethernet jack. Of course, the design lets you house this Chromebox at the back, while still having access to all these ports.
Lenovo ThinkCentre M60q Chromebox
The ThinkCentre M60q is the newest upcoming Chromebox model
As you can tell, we’ve now gotten through our list of Chromeboxes. We hope this list has helped you find what you want, regardless of your budget.