Increasingly, Chromeboxes are becoming a smart purchase for a ton of consumers, students, and enterprise customers alike. With their small form factor, reduced price versus a standard Chromebook with the same internal specs, and ease of setup/use, a Chromebox can be the perfect desktop companion in a litany of scenarios. As a matter of fact, as I type this on our review unit of the new HP Chromebase 22, I’m reminded of how much I love the simplicity and cleanliness of my desktop with a dedicated Chrome OS device always here, always on, and always ready to go.
Save money on the peripherals
Much of what makes a nice Chromebook a nice Chromebook comes down to the peripherals around the processor. We talk about it all the time: screen quality, trackpad smoothness, keyboard travel, port selection, battery life, build materials, stylus compatibility, and cameras are all things that cost money to include in a Chromebook. Most of those issues aren’t really in the conversation for a Chromebox.
At the core, the Chromebox is the purest of pure Chrome OS devices. It has the internal specs you need (processor, GPU, RAM, and storage) with plenty of ports to hook up to whatever external things you’d like. If you have a monitor, mouse and keyboard that you already love and use (I know I do), just plug them in and get to work. Want to upgrade the screen? Go buy a new one. Want a better typing experience? Get to shopping for one. Peripherals work, new and old, so the humble Chromebox isn’t really bound by any of those things.
It sits quietly, stowed away and out of sight and it is there waiting at the desk when you are ready to get to work. Though reviewing Chromebooks on a regular basis keeps me from enjoying this sort of setup all the time, it is the computing experience at my desk that I truly enjoy getting back to when I can.
A new wave of Chromeboxes and Chromebases
Chromeboxes have always had strange release cycles. We had 8th-gen Intel-powered Chromeboxes, skipped to 10th-gen devices we’re just now seeing hit the market, and now it looks like we’re on to 12th-gen. Just like the ‘Puff’ board that came before, we now have a new development board based on the 12th-gen Intel Alder Lake processors that will clearly be used in a new wave of Chromeboxes and Chromebases. ‘Puff’ is responsible for devices like the HP Chromebase 22 and new Chromeboxes from ASUS, HP, and Acer. In a similar fashion, we’d expect this new board – ‘Brask’ – to be the starting point of multiple devices over the next year.
As you can see from the commits above, ‘Brask’ is clearly a Chromebox overlay based on the ‘Brya’ baseboard. For those just joining us on this code name baseboard journey, ‘Brya’ is the name of the development board responsible for all 12th-gen Intel Alder Lake Chromebooks in development at this point. An additional point of interest would be the fact that Chromebox boards are frequently used for Chromebases (all-in-ones) as well. The new HP Chromebase 22 is based on ‘Puff’ as an example, even though ‘Puff’ is generally a Chromebox reference board.
As there isn’t too much to really uncover about a Chromebox (they are simplistic machines, remember?), there’s not much else to dig around for at this point. We’ll be keeping an eye on this board as it undoubtedly begins spawning new baseboards, but the general story will remain the same. Chromeboxes are still on the way, will still be useful for tons of users, and they’ll come with the latest, greatest internals from Intel in the coming months. If you are a fan of these types of Chrome OS devices, it’s good news and we’ll keep digging to find more of these Alder Lake Chromebox boards over the coming months. Stay tuned.