I have been using the ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Desktop PC as my main desktop computer for a few months now, and it works great for most of the tasks I do on a daily basis like web browsing, writing articles, blogging, watching video, streaming videos from sites like YouTube, e-mail, word processing, and listening to music. It is also very affordable. I can buy one new for $159.00, or $139.00 or less Used on Amazon or eBay.
This Chromebox is cheaper than the Chromebook which cost $200-300. I can also choose my own monitor, USB keyboard, and mouse, speakers, and add more RAM, or replace broken RAM in the future which may not be possible with some Chromebook laptops where the RAM is built-into the laptop, and is non-removable.
What I like most about the Chromebox is that it is affordable, and I can use a square shaped 19 inch monitor with a 1280 x 1024 resolution which makes viewing websites, and documents easier because the monitor’s resolution and height is higher. I also like that I can use a two button mouse with left and right click buttons which is easier than learning how to use the Chromebook’s touchpad where you need to use finger gestures to go back a page, or right click. A full size USB keyboard is also very nice to type on because the buttons, are more spaced out.
What I like about desktop computers is that there is no battery to charge, and I can easily repair, or replace parts like RAM, SSD, and accessories like a monitor, usb keyboard, and mouse, and speakers.
The Chromebox seems very easy to maintain because it uses a SSD storage drive, and its RAM is replaceable. It also does not get very hot, so there is less chance of heat damage from over heating.
Asus Chromebox desktop is very stable. It runs fast even when multiple browser tabs, and apps are open. It also rarely crashes when I use it for surfing the web, watching video, and doing other tasks. It starts up, and shutdowns fast as well. It can play HD 1080P video from websites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, and news sites without any slowdown problems like video stuttering. Chrome also has Adobe Flash Player built-in, so you do not need to install it yourself to play flash video, and games on websites. Websites also load very quickly, and I can use this Chromebox with Wired Internet by connecting a wired Ethernet cable from my modem or router to the Chromebox if I choose not to use Wi-Fi on the Chromebox. Wired internet connections are generally more reliable, and sometimes faster because Wired Ethernet doesn’t suffer from interference, low bandwidth limits like 54Mbps for 802.11G wireless, and poor range problems like Wi-Fi wireless internet.
Chrome OS automatically protects itself from viruses, and automatically updates itself to fix security problems, add new features, and make improvements to Chrome OS.
It uses Google Chrome OS as its operating system which is a desktop operating system where you use Chrome web browser to browse the web, and use web apps. However, Chrome OS does have regular programs like a chat program called Hangouts, Calculator, Google Keep note keeping app, Google Docs office suite, File manager for opening and browsing your files, music player, and video player. I can also download more apps from the Chrome Web Store. Chrome OS now also supports some Android apps like Evernote, Vine, and Tapatalk which you can download from Chrome Web Store which is a website where you download apps, add-on/extensions, and games for the Chrome web browser.
There are also a lot of websites with web apps like Evernote, Dropbox, Google Bookmarks, Google Docs, Zoho Office, etc which are compatible with Google Chrome. I even found some online image editors, resizers, and converters on websites, so most of my basic image editing can be done on websites.
The Chrome OS operating system is easy to use. It has an App Launcher on the bottom right of the desktop, and the Chrome shortcut and other shortcuts on the taskbar/Dock for quickly launching Chrome and other apps. If you used Chrome on Windows, Apple, Linux, Chromebook and other operating systems, learning to use Chrome OS should be very simple. Switching from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and other browsers to Chrome should be simple as well because Chrome has many of the same features found in other web browsers.
Using the Google Chrome web browser is easy to use since it has tabs, navigational buttons, address bar, bookmarks, and other features found on most web browsers. Chrome also has a lot of extensions/add-ons for adding more features to Chrome.
One of the benefits of using Chrome OS and a Google account is that Google Syncs your bookmarks, passwords, autofills, apps, extensions, and data with all your computers with the Chrome web browser installed on it when you are signed into Google.com, so you do not need to manually setup your bookmarks, autofills, passwords, and other data again when you use Chrome on another computer running Chrome OS, Windows, Linux, Apple Mac, Android, iOS, etc.
The Asus Chromebox has a 1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2955U Dual-Core 64bit Processor/CPU, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16 GB SSD storage drive, Dual Band 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless WiFi internet, and Intel HD graphics.
It also comes with 4 USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.0, 1 HDMI video connector, 1 DisplayPort, one 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet wired networking port, 1 laptop Kensington lock port, 1 SD Memory Card Slot for adding more storage for storing more files on a SD memory card, and combination audio jack for plugging in speakers, or a headset mic with a mic and headphone.
This desktop uses a 65 Watt power adapter similar to power adapters/chargers for a laptop PC. One of the main advantages of using the Chromebox is that it uses very little power. I read on another computer blog that the Asus Chromebox does not use over 15 Watts of power which is less power than a 20 Watt light bulb. The Asus Chromebox uses a lot less power than most desktops which can sometimes use hundreds of watts of power. This Chromebox is a good choice for running digital signs or a slideshow on a display because this computer won’t use much power when running a slideshow.
If you use a smaller size 10-17 inch e-ink, LED , OLED LCD display, your power usage maybe less than some laptops.
The Chromebox is very quiet. I can’t hear it when it is ON. Chromebox also does not get very hot even after using it for more than an hour. When I touch Asus Chromebox after using it for an hour or longer, it just feels slightly warm to the touch. The Chromebox runs quieter and cooler than most desktop, and laptops which I used which has cooling fans which spin very fast which makes the computer more noisy from the fans, and also the mechanical hard drives which spin to read and write data.
The Asus Chromebox also comes with a VESA-Monitor mount and screws to mount it to the back of a computer LCD monitor which supports VESA mounts. The Chromebox does not use much space, so it fits on a small table.
You can also add an extra stick of 2GB DDR3 1600 SO-DIMM Laptop RAM because this desktop has 2 RAM slots making your total RAM to 4GB if you feel 2GB is not enough RAM. 2GB is enough RAM for using this Chromebox as my main PC since I am not a heavy computer user which has many tabs, apps, media files, and windows open at the same time in Chrome OS. According to the Task Manager in the Chrome Browser, I am only using about 365MB of RAM in Chrome when I have one tab open writing this blog post in WordPress which is the blogging software for this blog. 4GB of RAM is more worth it for computer users who have have a lot of programs and tabs open at the same time. Chrome OS also does not need any third party firewall, anti-spyware, anti-malware, and system utility program which may slow down a computer. Chrome OS comes built-in with virus protection, and other programs for managing your apps, extensions, and files.
I use an older HP Pavilion f1903 LCD monitor by using a HDMI to DVI cable to connect the Chromebox video (If your older monitor uses a VGA or DVI cable and port to connect to a computer, you need to use a HDMI to VGA adapter or HDMI to DVI adapter and cable. ), Amazon Basic USB 3 button scroll wheel mouse, USB Microsoft keyboard, 3.5mm Desktop PC speakers, and wired Ethernet networking cable I already own to use the Asus Chromebox as a desktop PC. Using an old monitor, USB keyboard, and mouse, and speakers is generally cheaper than a laptop because you may already own a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers from an old desktop PC which you are not using. You can also buy a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speaker for low prices on eBay, Amazon, a flea market, second hand store, or get them for free from friends or relatives who upgraded from a desktop PC to a laptop or tablet, and are looking for someone who needs old PC accessories.
The Chromebox is a good affordable way to re-use your old computer accessories like monitors, speakers, keyboard and mouse, and re-use laptop PC parts like 2GB SODIMM 1600 DDR3 laptop RAM without spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on a new PC, laptop, or more expensive portable PC.
The Asus Chromebox M004u Chrome OS Desktop is a nice little desktop for doing everyday tasks. It is also very affordable, use less power, and space compared to a regular desktop. It is also very quiet.
I read a blog post online that said it is possible to install Ubuntu Linux, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, etc on the Asus Chromebox for more advance users looking for an operating system which can use full Linux desktop programs like LibreOffice, Firefox, Steam, and FileZilla. Asus Chromebox could be a good choice for installing Ubuntu Linux on a cheap, portable, power efficient PC. But, using an older desktop computer is a better choice because it can more easily install Ubuntu Linux from a CD or DVD disc with the Ubuntu installer image burned to it, and other desktop computer operating systems based on Linux like Debian, Opensuse, Fedora, Linux Mint, and Elementary OS which the Chromebox may not support.