Asus Chromebit review

It's Chrome-on-a-stick!


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In addition to home users who want an inexpensive desktop or living room Chrome OS PC, the Chromebit's affordable price and pocketable form factor targets several different types of computing users. The solution is great for small business owners looking to repurpose old monitors or TVs, it is a great companion for traveling professionals looking to do their computing in an office or hotel room and it is a great tool for presentations when you don't want to carry a bulkier laptop. And because of its compact footprint, it could also be used to power digital signs and kiosks.

We liked

The Chromebit takes the idea of a Chrome OS all-in-one to a new, modular level. Unlike the Chromebase from LG and Acer, you can choose your display size and resolution.

Want Chrome OS on a 55-inch 1080p HDTV? Just plug in the Chromebit and your television turns into a Chromebase. Want Chrome OS on a 32-inch monitor? You can have that too. The best part is that in a couple years when new updates to Chrome start to feel sluggish on the Chromebit, you can just "upgrade" your make-shift AIO by swapping it for a dongle with current hardware without having to throw away your display.


Additionally, for travelers, it turns any dumb display into a smart TV, allowing you to surf the web, stream online videos and get work done. You'll still need to be stationary at a desk or in a hotel room to use the Chromebit, because unlike a Chromebook, this device doesn't have an integrated display, keyboard and mouse to get work done while on the road or in the field.

We disliked

The $85 (£55, AU$118) asking price for the Chromebit makes it look appealing when compared to mini PCs, but the cost quickly adds up once you add in a Bluetooth keyboard, wireless mouse and a monitor. For that cost, if you don't need a large display, a Chromebook will give you more versatility as the integral peripherals (display, keyboard and touchpad) are all integrated at a cost of around $200 (£130, AU$277).

Additionally, the Chromebook is a more mobile PC, allowing you to work in a car or while in transit on a plane. Even if you fly first class and have enough tray table space to setup a 20-inch monitor and layout your keyboard and mouse, you'll need two power ports for your Chrome PC to work: one for the Chromebit and another for the display. In this sense, the Chromebit isn't as much a mobile PC as it is a compact desktop that's easy to take with you when you travel.

And even though you can stream 4K videos with a fast enough internet connection, the Chromebit is limited to 1080p output to your monitor or HDTV.

Final verdict

By partnering with Chrome OS, Asus has found the perfect formula for its Chromebit to overcome some of the limitations of earlier Windows-based PC-on-a-stick rivals. The Rockchip processor delivered solid performance for general computing tasks, and Chrome OS feels zippier to navigate than Windows on the competing Intel Computing Stick.

The Chromebit is a perfect solution for office or home users looking to upcycle old displays. Small business owners will realize the value of the Chromebit when they upgrade their desktops at work. Rather than tossing out the display, the Chromebit makes it easy for businesses to repurpose existing hardware for other tasks, saving money in the long run.