ASUS Chromebox Google Chrome OS SFF PC Review

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Google's Chrome OS is an open source operating system that is designed to offer fast, simple, and secure computing for connected devices.  That's not to say the Chrome operating system can't function offline, but connected to the cloud is where users can harness the full power of Google's cloud services and storage infrastructure.  To date, we've shown you a few versions of chromebooks, like the Acer C720 Chromebook and Google's own Chromebook Pixel.  Today, however, we have a look at the very first "official" Chromebox to hit the market and it comes to us by way of ASUS.

The ASUS Chromebox is a tiny palm-sized machine similar in form and footprint to Intel's line of NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs or the tiny Zotac ZBox Nano. It just so happens that all of these machines are also powered by integrated Intel processors, and the ASUS Chromebox is no different, though it employs Intel's 4th generation Haswell Core series architecture with Integrated HD 4400 graphics.

Sure, there's a fair bit of horsepower on board with Intel's latest low power dual-core CPU chewing through workloads, but the real differentiator here is what you can do with Google's Chrome OS driving a device like this.  We aim to show you just that in the pages ahead but first, let's take a closer look at the new ASUS Chromebox in our hands-on demo...

ASUS Chromebox M025U
Specifications & Features
Operating System

Chrome OS


Intel® Core™ i3-4010U Processor @ 1.7GHz


4GB x 1, DDR3-1600MHz; 2 x SO-DIMM


Integrated - Intel® HD Graphics 4400


16GB M.2 (NGFF) SSD, 100GB Google Drive Storage For 2 Years


10/100/1000 Mbps


Dual Band 802.11 a/b/g/n; Bluetooth V4.0


1 x 2-in-1 Card Reader

4 x USB3.0

1 x HDMI*

1 x DisplayPort ++*

1 x LAN (RJ45) Port

1 x Audio Jack (Mic-in/Speaker-out)

1 x Kensington Lock

1 x DC-in

Power Supply

65W Power



4.9" x 4.9" x 1.67”

$369 - includes wireless keyboard and mouse

As you can see, the ASUS Chromebox model M025U that we tested is a tiny little 5-inch brick packed with copious amounts of connectivity such as USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, HDMI and DisplayPort output, a microSD Flash card slot, 802.11n dual-band WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0.  It also sports a 1.7GHz dual-core Core i3-4010U processor with Intel Hyper-Threading for four logical processing threads and 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory, along with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 graphics core. Finally, the onboard 16GB SSD storage might be appear a bit meager, but it's backed up by 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for 2 years.

In the M025U kit you also get a custom wireless ASUS Chrome keyboard and mouse that are collectively valued at $49.  The total package, with the Chromebox, it's AC adapter, and the keyboard/mouse combo will retail for an MSRP of $369, though there are lower cost SKUs as well. Let's take a closer look at what you get...

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9 months ago

how much?

marco c 9 months ago

From the first page: $369 - includes wireless keyboard and mouse

JefferyPruett 9 months ago

If this could be used for Gaming it would be awesome but ill just use it for drawings on paint or what not just something simple :)

Dave_HH 9 months ago

One word Jeff, Netflix... Amazon Prime Instant and Hulu. OK, that was a lot more than one word. :)

digitaldd 9 months ago

[quote user="Dave_HH"]

One word Jeff, Netflix... Amazon Prime Instant and Hulu. OK, that was a lot more than one word. :)


For like $50-100 you could buy a Roku box to do just that. For $369 it needs more oomph, perhaps if it had the power of a complete system built on Intel NUC or Gigabyte Brix @ this pricepoint then we might ooh and ahh.

Weird that the device supports Bluetooth 4.0 yet comes with a proprietary wireless keyboard/mouse combo that requires its own dongle to use up a USB port. They could have built in the dongle or gone with a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse (or for a media center environment a keyboard/trackpad combo would be more ideal)

Dave_HH 9 months ago

Agreed on the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, digitaldd but not sure I agree on the price. This device can do a lot more than a Roku box could ever dream of.

basroil3 9 months ago

The question is: can you install Windows on it?

If you can put Windows (or linux) on this thing (after upgrading the SSD), it might just be one of the best deals around

Dave_HH 9 months ago

I haven't found a way to get into the bios to change boot devices but I'm trying. ;) However, the current SSD is only 16GB so it would be pretty tight as well.

chondro 9 months ago

I think these devices are kind of worthless.

my tv and dvd player can do hulu netflicks vudu etc

you can get a dvd player for like $120, much cheaper than this thing

Dave_HH 9 months ago

You don't have full access to Internet media with those devices, Chondro. You also don't have basic compute functionality with them as well and even streaming music services on many of them. I understand your point but they are two different classes of devices and the Chromebox has a much more expanded set of capabilities.

MCaddick 9 months ago

I've said in the past that there chrome boxes are utterly pointless. This particular one has done nothing to change that opinion. For the same price you can buy a fully functional notebook with scads of storage and a 'real' OS. For this box to come close it'd need to have much more money spent on it for a screen, speakers, webcam etc etc.

ASUS already tried this with their EeePC Box thing. At least with that you could upgrade the hard drive yourself and it had a real OS, not just a web browser with serious limitations.

Only idiots would buy this and think it was good value for money.

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