Should the new Asus Chrome machine be your next desktop PC?

Chrome isn't just for ultrabooks anymore. Is this the right PC for your desktop?

Chrome isn't just for small ultrabooks anymore. Asus just announced a desktop Chrome machine --- should it be your next desktop PC?

The ASUS Chromebox is a mini PC without monitor, keyboard or mouse, but with an extremely appealing pricetag: $179. At a mere 4.88" by 4.88" by 1.65", you can put it pretty much anywhere.

Its basic specs won't knock your socks off: a 1.4GHz dual-core Haswell Celeron 2955U, integrated Intel graphics, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of solid-state storage. But it also comes with two years of 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage, dual-band 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, an SD card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DisplayPort, audio, and a Kensington lock port.

It's also got a VESA mount so you can mount it behind monitors and HDTVs. Also very nice is it support dual HD monitors by using HDMI and DisplayPort.

So, should it be your next desktop PC? That depends on your budget and what you want a desktop PC for. The price is certainly right, so the budget-minded should give it serious consideration. If you mainly use a PC for surfing the Web, watching video, using email, and creating, editing, and reading office documents, this could well be all you need. It's meant to function as a desktop, not a mobile device, so you'll always be connected to the Internet when using it. That means you can use Google Docs or any other free Office alternative for work. As for the 16GB of storage, that's on the light side, but it's got 100GB of free Google Drive storage.

Of course, the processor isn't particularly powerful, so if you do any processor-heavy work, it's not the machine for you. And if you need a good amount of on-device storage, 16GB simply isn't enough. But if you want an inexpensive machine for lightweight work, it could be a winner.

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