Samsung Chromebox review

A desktop Chrome OS PC - but can it cut the mustard?

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There's no denying that the Samsung Chromebox XE300M22 is an innovative product. But just because something is innovative, it doesn't mean that it's necessary. Our houses are filling up with internet connected devices already, so the Samsung Chromebox Series 3 had its work cut out to convince us to part with our cash and find another power socket in our homes.

While it's certainly a well-built product, we feel it just doesn't do enough to warrant a purchase.

We liked

The improvements to Chrome OS make the Samsung Chromebox XE300M22 a much more user-friendly device compared to previous generations of Chromebooks. The desktop-like experience is definitely an improvement on the browser window-only Chrome OS interface of the past.

Booting up and configuring the Chromebox is quick and easy, and the device on the whole is stylish.

We disliked

The Samsung Chromebox XE300M22's web-0only way of doing things is a blessing as well as a curse. It keeps it fast, light and constantly up-to-date, yet it also limits what the Chromebox is capable of.

Media playback still isn't flawless, and poor built-in speakers and the lack of HDMI make this a bad choice for a media streamer - a pretty big problem if you're thinking of hooking the Samsung Chromebox Series 3 up to your TV.

Final verdict

Compared to the first generation of Chrome OS-powered devices, the Samsung Chromebox XE300M22 is a solid, yet unspectacular, desktop PC.

There's an awful lot of potential here, especially as our broadband speeds increase and more services take to the cloud. In a few years' time it's possible that we might look back on Chromeboxes and Chromebooks as trailblazers, brave devices that went into unknown territory and showed us which way the future lay. However, at the moment it's not quite there.

Desktop PCs may be declining in popularity, but the reason you'd choose one over a laptop or a tablet is for the flexibility and power that they offer. Playing the latest games or doing heavy duty video editing are tasks that can only really be done on desktops. So really, there's not much point in creating a desktop that is essentially the same as your laptop but without the mobility. Unfortunately, that is what Samsung has done.

The Samsung Chromebox Series 3 XE300M22 isn't much more than a Chromebook tied down to a desk. Who really needs that?