The Samsung Chromebox is a tiny desktop computer designed to run a web browser and not much else. Actually, it runs Google’s Chrome Operating System, but Chrome OS is basically just the Chrome web browser with a few extra features tacked on for good measure.
It’s the first desktop computer to ship with Chrome OS, and it’s one of the first Chrome OS devices to feature an Intel Celeron processor instead of a slower Intel Atom chip.
The Chromebox isn’t widely available yet, but it was on sale (probably by accident) for a little while recently, and the folks at GearWERKZ picked one up. We’ve already seen the unboxing video. Now GearWERKZ has published a review of the Chrome OS desktop at Chrome Story.
The long and short of it is that if you use a web browser for 99 percent of everything you do with a computer, the Samsung Chromebox might meet your needs. But if you really do need to be able to run some apps that aren’t available in the cloud, store hundreds of gigabytes of data locally, or do some other old-school PC tasks even some of the time, you might not want to throw out your desktop computer just yet.
There are a growing number of web apps that mimic native desktop apps for doing everything from editing documents or pictures to even audio. And plenty of companies would like you to use their cloud storage solutions to save files online and sync them between computers.
So if you have a fast, reliable internet connection and don’t mind finding new online tools to do things you’re using to doing with native apps, the Chromebox might be all you need.
The reviewer notes that the computer boots and shuts down almost instantly, doesn’t make much noise, and handles multimedia playback pretty well. But if you don’t have an internet connection there’s not much you can do — and multitasking support is limited.
There aren’t many notes about general performance, but I’m going to take that as a good thing. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook I reviewed in 2011 had a slower processor and it was noticeably sluggish at times.