ASUS Chromebox 4 vs. ASUS Fanless Chromebox: Which one should you get?

It's hard to compare these two devices. One is designed for consumer use while the other is more for businesses who need options for "smart" signage or a POS. 

Another issue is that they both are getting long in the tooth. Since they were released several years ago with hardware that was already dated at the time, you can do a lot better when it comes to having a Chrome-powered desktop.

They are both still available, though, and still supported by ASUS with software updates and repairs. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty details and determine which Chromebox is better for you.

ASUS Chromebox 4 vs. ASUS Fanless Chromebox: How are you going to use it?

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ASUS Chromebox 4

(Image credit: ASUS)

Why you are buying your Chromebox is always an important factor when it comes to what you should buy, but it's especially important in this case. One of these things is not like the other.

The ASUS Chromebox 4 is a "normal" Chromebox designed for use in the home. It's equally comfortable mounted behind your television or on a desk in the living room, and is the type of device most of us have in mind for a secure and simple computer.

The ASUS Fanless Chromebox is something different. It's designed for business applications where you want to drop in a PC and forget all about it. If you need a Chromebox to power a digital sign or run a cash register, the Fanless Chromebox was built for it.

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Header Cell - Column 0 ASUS Chromebox 4ASUS Fanless Chromebox
Operating systemChrome OSChrome OS
ProcessorIntel 10th generationIntel Celeron 5205U
StorageStarting at 32GB32GB
MemoryStarting at 4GB4GB
ConnectivityGigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6 (2x2), Bluetooth 5.0Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6 (2x2), Bluetooth 5.0
Ports5x USB-A, 1x USB-C, microSD card, 2x HDMI, Kensington lock, 1x audio jack4x USB-A, 1x USB-C, microSD card, 2x HDMI, Kensington lock, 1x audio jack, RS232 interface

You may have noticed that the ASUS Fanless Chromebox comes in only one hardware configuration and it's not that great. Again, this points towards its use case.

I would never recommend you buy a Chromebox with specs this bad because you will not have a great experience when it comes to streaming video or even normal web use. You won't be surfing the web on your cash register, though.

The Fanless Chromebox specs are more than capable when it comes to interfacing with a credit card terminal or powering a menu display. Its remote power switch and passive cooling mean you can fit it under or behind just about anything where customers can't fool with it.

ASUS Chromebox 4 vs. ASUS Fanless Chromebox: Which should you buy?

ASUS Fanless Chromebox

(Image credit: ASUS)

If you're looking for a (relatively) cheap way to add to your business, the Fanless Chromebox will do it. Until a newer model with the same set of features comes out, it really is the best choice for many use cases that require specialized hardware.

The Chromebox 4 is a different story, and I can't recommend it to anyone in 2023.

It will still work as well as it did when it was released. That really isn't a concern, provided you don't buy the lowest-spec model. The problem is the price you'll need to pay and the fact that a newer, better model was released — you'll be paying as much for a Chromebox 4 as you would for an ASUS Chromebox 5.

I don't think you should do that either, though, unless you specifically want to mount it in an entertainment stand or have a dedicated PC for the kids. You would probably be better off with a good Chromebook and a nice USB-C docking solution like this one for $30 at Amazon.

If you can find a good deal on an ASUS Chromebox 4 it's not a terrible purchase. Just don't spend too much for one.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.