Good Chromebooks are growing exceedingly difficult to find. If you’re in the market for a premium flagship-caliber device, deals are relatively easy to find at the moment. Unfortunately for many, $600 and up isn’t a desirable price range when you just need a budget-friendly device that actually works well. When we talk about Chromebooks under $250, the field of devices we’d actually recommend gets really small, really fast. However, there is another option that will give you not only a formidable Chrome OS experience but can potentially save you a ton of cash. That option is a Chromebox.
We will eventually see Comet Lake Chromeboxes from most of the major OEMs but the current generation of Chrome OS desktop mini PCs are still powerful and easily upgraded. The Kaby Lake CPUs that power these tiny Chromeboxes will continue to get updates through June of 2025 and you can often upgrade the RAM and storage for a fraction of the price of purchasing a pre-built model. For a brief time, Chromeboxes were difficult to get unless you were looking at the beefier Core i5/i7 models but HP has quietly slashed the price on the entry-level Celeron 3867U model down to only $199. You can easily pair this Chromebox with an inexpensive monitor and mouse/keyboard combo to create a very capable desktop setup for under $500.
If you’re wondering how the HP Chromebox G2 stacks up against the competition, I’m happy to inform you that the performance will be exactly the same as a box from any other OEM. These are all built on the same baseboard and use the same CPUs. The only real variance is the port selection, amount of pre-installed RAM and storage and possible the type of RAM. The HP Chromebox G2 features 4GB of DDR4-2400 SDRAM which is ample enough for the average user but you can slap in extra and boost you memory to 16GB with very little effort. This model comes with a scant 32GB of storage but again, it can be easily upgrade and you can even use NVMe storage if you want to fork over the cash. For ports, you’ll get 3 super speed USB-A, 2 x 2.0 USB-A, 1 x USB-C, HDMI, ethernet and a MicroSD card reader.
If you find yourself in the position of working at home or perhaps your kids are doing the online education thing for the time being, a Chromebox is a great addition to your desk space and a very cost-effective alternative to an expensive laptop. You can grab the HP Chromebox G2 directly from HP for only $199. If they happen to sell out or you simply prefer another seller, Walmart has the same Chromebox for only $203. This model retailed for more than $250 when it was first released and it’s currently on of the least expensive models out there.