Samsung Series 3 Chromebox Review
This nettop computer is an inexpensive alternative to a traditional desktop. The Chromebox is an extremely speedy machine that revolves entirely around Google's online universe of apps and services. Supporters see it as a secure, low-maintenance system that won't get bogged down with malware, but it offers a paltry 16GB of local storage and won't suit users looking to run powerful software.
The Samsung Series 3 Chromebox is a nettop with a twist. Rather than running a Windows operating system, this low-powered, low-priced little box runs Google's Chrome OS. A Chromebox review at PC Mag calls this an appealing web machine but points to its limitations. The Chromebox is designed to use Google's online apps and tools, as opposed to software installed on the hard drive (Gmail instead of Outlook, for example). Consequently, it requires a constant internet connection, which presents more of a problem for the portable Chromebook than this desktop model.
The expert from PC Mag says the Chromebox comes through with snappy performance online and has no trouble playing 1080p video. Employing a super-fast solid state drive, or SSD, instead of a hard disk drive lets the Chromebox boot up in just a few seconds. On the other hand, the SSD totals only 16 gigabytes -- a fraction of the storage provided by the 1-terabyte hard drives on many of the conventional desktops we researched. Again, though, the system is set up so that most everything is based online rather than on a local disk. A Chromebox review at CNET notes that, although this is a Web machine, users can still open files including Microsoft Office documents, photos, and PDFs. The reviewer calls the Chrome OS a work in progress, however, and considers it a good option only for certain users. A consumer posting a Chromebox review on Amazon offers one example: He bought this nettop for his elderly mother, who uses a computer only for email, Facebook, and games such as Farmville.
Most nettops have Intel Atom processors, but the Chromebox uses a dual-core Intel Celeron processor (1.9 GHz) with a little more punch. The system's 4GB of RAM is plenty for a machine like this, according to PC Mag's Chromebox review. The Chromebox supports Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n wireless connections. Users will find six USB 2.0 ports on this machine but no USB 3.0 ports and no HDMI port. The Chromebox also doesn't come with a keyboard or mouse, much less a monitor, and the CNET reviewer ran into a few problems with compatibility.
The Samsung Series 3 Chromebox is a niche product, and many consumers will be put off by its limited capabilities. However, it's an ultrafast system that should appeal to Web-centric computer users, in particular those who are fans of Google's Chrome web browser and array of other apps and services. Chromebox reviews highlight another advantage: This computer requires no antivirus software and less maintenance than Windows machines -- a relief for consumers who've had computers paralyzed by malware.