ASUS Chromebox 3 2020 LifestyleSource: ASUS

Best Chromebox Android Central 2020

The ASUS Chromebox 3 is the best Chromebox you can buy right now. It's available in several configurations, but all models feature a true M.2 SATA SSD for years of worry-free storage and upgradability should you need it. If you're more interested in Chromebooks for using Chrome OS on the go, Check out the best Chromebooks where you'll find something that fits you and your style.

Best Chromebox Overall: ASUS Chromebox 3

ASUS Chromebox 3 2020 LifestyleSource: ASUS

The Chromebox 3 is ASUS' newest model, and it's one of the company's best ever. You can get the base model for less than $300, but we think the N019U model, with a faster processor and more memory hits the sweet spot of price versus features — all for just a couple hundred bucks more. All models come with a full set of ports for connection to monitors or televisions — including current-generation USB-C ports — so you can use your favorite mouse and keyboard or an external storage drive filled with movies.

The ASUS Chromebox 3 is a Chromebox for the whole family that's future-proof, secure, and dependable. There are a few issues — there isn't any compatibility with Windows apps and there aren't any internal speakers (so you'll need to pay extra). This might be an issue if you're on a budget since the higher-end models are still expensive compared to others on the market. However, based on what you get in terms of features, you can't go wrong here.

Pros:

  • Desktop-class Intel Core processors
  • High-speed DDR4 RAM
  • User-upgradable hard drive
  • Legacy HDMI and USB connections
  • SD card reader

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No internal speakers
  • No compatibility with Windows apps
  • Base model is a bit underpowered

Best Chromebox Overall

ASUS Chromebox 3

The best for everyone

You'll be able to browse the web, shop online, or even play a game with the Chromebox 3 and stay safe and secure.

Best Chromebox for Power Users: Acer CXI3 Chromebox

Acer CXI3 Chromebox LifesyleSource: Acer

Acer's Intel Core i3 CX13 Chromebox bundle is perfect for the user who wants a little more without worrying about choosing between models or upgrading things themselves.

Inside you'll find Intel's 8th-generation Core i3 processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, and a 64GB solid-state drive (SSD) (it's worth noting that the memory and storage aren't upgradeable after purchase). Outside you'll find a vertical mounting option to save desk real-estate and a chrome-customized keyboard and mouse. You'll pay a little more than the base model of our top pick, but you'll also notice the difference when it comes to daily usage.

Pros:

  • Fast CPU and plenty of RAM
  • Chrome OS keyboard and mouse included
  • Vertical stand saves desk space

Cons:

  • More power means a higher price tag
  • Storage and RAM isn't upgradeable

Best Chromebox for Power Users

Acer CX13 Chromebox

Fast and ready to go

If you want a power-user configured Chromebox without opening the case it's a great option.

Best Chromebox for the total package: ASUS Chromebox 3 Bundle

ASUS Chromebox 3 Bundle LifestyleSource: Amazon

If you would rather grab one box with everything you need — including a hard-to-find Chrome customized keyboard — then this combo from ASUS is the way to go. This includes a 24-inch VE248Q monitor, the Chromebox 3, a basic Bluetooth mouse, and a custom keyboard designed for ChromeOS. That means instead of the trusty Caps Lock key, you'll instead have a dedicated key to pull up search on your Chromebox.

The Chromebox 3 is already our pick for the best Chromebox, but you will then have to go and find a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. While that could be considered to be "fun" by some, getting everything in a one fell swoop can ease your mind and give you the new setup at the same time. The biggest downside here is that the ASUS VE248Q monitor has only a 1080p resolution, so you won't be able to take advantage of the Chromebox 3s ability to output in 4K.

Pros:

  • Excellent price
  • Monitor, keyboard, and mouse included
  • Included keyboard is tailored for ChromeOS

Cons:

  • The base model monitor is only 1080p
  • Mouse is pretty basic

Best Chromebox for the total package

ASUS Chromebox 3 Bundle

It's all in the box

There's a new bundle available that combines the ASUS Chromebox 3 with everything you need at the same time.

Is it a good time to buy a Chromebox?

Yes! Chrome is constantly getting new features that make it more usable as a desktop and a Chromebox is the best way to experience it. By being a device that's always plugged in you don't have near the thermal throttling that you would find in a Chromebook with a monitor and keyboard attached and the result is a better experience from the same class of specs.

Google supports Chromeboxes with automatic updates for a whopping six years and it's not hard to update them yourself after the official support is over so a purchase now will be good for years to come. If you want a desktop operating system with a world-class browser, the best security, and plenty of apps and games available through Google Play you can't go wrong with a Chromebox.

Bottom line

There are not as many options on the market when finding the best Chromebox as you could find with Chromebooks, so the pickings are slim. However, there are some models that are being semi-regularly updated, and the best part is that many of these "desktop" computers will be supported for up to six-years, so you know that you don't have to run out and grab a new one every couple of years.

The ASUS Chromebox 3 is what you would expect to see from the best Chromebox. Models and prices for everyone are available, and every configuration has the ports and power you need to have a great experience while staying secure and up to date with Google's Chrome software. We think it's the very best Chromebox for everyone.

The best Chromebox upgrades

A Chromebox is great, but one thing makes our top pick even better — it's user-upgradable. While you can't swap out the CPU or mainboard, the RAM and hard drive are simple to swap using guides you'll find on the internet. here's the right gear to buy.

More RAM

Crucial 16GB Kit (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 SODIMM Memory

The Right Stuff

Finding the right RAM is harder than actually upgrading it. This is the right RAM and with 16GB of it your Chromebox will fly!

More Storage

Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA M.2 Type 2280SS Internal SSD

Oodles of room

This M.2 SATA drive will snap right in to your Chromebox 3 and with its 500GB of space you'll have room for all the memes you want to download.

Get a mouse

Logitech Pebble M350 Mouse

Slim and sleek

The Logitech Pebble M350 is rather impressive given its size, 18-month battery life, and the ability to connect via Bluetooth or through Logitech's Unifying Receiver.

Made for Chrome

Logitech K580 for Chrome OS

All the right buttons

Chrome OS has some unique keyboard shortcuts, and while you can use the F keys on any keyboard, having a model with the right keycaps can make your life easier.

The Big screen

Dell SE2419H IPS Monitor

All the display you need

You'll need a monitor to actually see what your Chromebox is doing, and that's where the Acer R240HY steps in. It has a good screen size, ample resolution, and keeps costs nice and low.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.

Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter or browsing Reddit.

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