When you think of Chrome OS, you probably think of Chromebooks, which are the most common type of device powered by Google’s Chrome-based operating system. But over the years we’ve also seen a number of mini desktops called “Chromeboxes,” and at least one PC stick called a “Chromebit.”
And then there are “Chromebases,” which are all-in-one desktop computers running Chrome OS. They’re not exactly common, but they pop up from time to time, and now HP is giving the form factor another try with the HP Chromebase 21.5, an all-in-one system with decent specs and a touchscreen display that can rotate 90 degrees for use in portrait or landscape modes.
HP is positioning the HP Chromebase 21.5 All-in-One Desktop (or AiO) as a household device that can be used for entertainment, education, or sharing content between family members.
In other words, it’s basically a desktop computer, but the physical design and software experience are meant to make it feel more like an accessory for your other devices than a standalone PC… although you could certainly use it as one. HP notes that many kids are also used to using Chrome OS for school, so the transition to using it at home with a device like the Chromebase AiO should be easy.
The features a 21.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD display with support for up to 250 nits of brightness and 72% NTSC color gamut. It supports up to 10-point multitouch input. And you can tilt the screen upward at up to a 20 degree angle to make it easier to use if you’re standing over the Chromebase while using it.
Its base is wrapped in recycled polyester fabric and HP says it’s cloth wipeable for cleaning purposes.
The system has stereo 5W speakers with Bang & Olufsen audio, a 5MP webcam that can be used for video calls or other purposes. There’s also a switch that can be used to disable the camera and/or microphone when you’re not using them.
On the back of the system there’s a set of ports including two 10 Gbps USB Type-A ports and two 5 Gbps USB Type-C ports. And the Chromebase AiO also supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.
HP will offer configurations with up to an Intel Core i3-10110U Comet Lake processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of PCIe NVMe solid state storage, and the HP Chromebase 21.5 AiO comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
Like most recent Chrome OS devices, the HP Chromebase 21.5 AiO supports installation of Android apps from the Google Play Store, so you can use it to run millions of mobile apps and games in addition to accessing websites and web apps. It should also support Linux applications if you opt to enable that feature.
The HP Chromebase 21.5 AiO will be available this month from HP, Amazon, and Best Buy for $600 and up.