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Good: Zero Maintenance, fast, fuss free and cannot be messed up, good value - perfect for a home PC or second PC device. It is the perfect Surf TV device to plug into your HDTV.
Bad: Have to buy video cables and keyboard separately, but this allows you to buy exactly what you need.
Comment: I have now got my Samsung Chromebox 3 plus a Displayport male to HDMI male cable and a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard with trackpad bought on Amazon, plugged it into my HDTV and I am really pleased with the purchase.
It is the perfect surf TV / HTPC, and the best value for money you can get for a silent mini PC (at least in UK). The Logitech k400 wireless keyboard is a good partner for the Chromebox since the volume, mute and mouse right click special buttons and trackpad tap to right click functions all work on the Chrome OS. Built-in WiFi means no cables are required to your broadband router.
It is dead fast, and silent - no hard drive noise, and no audible cooling fan noise and quieter than any laptop I have used. There is absolutely no stutter on video playback at the 1080p resolution, and Netflix/iPlayer etc. work perfectly. Although it is not a gaming machine, it is pretty fast on 3D games like Bastion, Air Mech etc.
It is also the perfect machine for hackers who want to replace the ChromeOS operating system with Linux or Windows. There is a hidden developer switch and instructions on how to install other operating systems and how to revert to ChromeOS for those who are technically inclined, but you will have to find your own device drivers on the Internet.
I was intending to try this out, by installing a Linux media server OS and adding a £56 USB 500GB hard drive to store ripped movies on for playing and streaming out movies, but I am so pleased with ChromeOS, that I am not going to bother not, and it will simply be used as a zero maintenance surf TV and streaming media viewer. If you are looking at simply watching streamed video from the Internet, and do not want to surf the Internet or run (web) apps, then Apple TV or Boxee are cheaper but limited options. However there isn't enough streaming video content on the Internet at the moment to make this compelling, and so neither has been popular despite their low price.
Should you get it? If you are a home user and you want to shared computer for everyone, then yes, absolutely! ChromeOS does everything you might ever want to do, is built for sharing because it partitions user data effectively by account, can be accessed securely from different devices, and it is zero maintenance, and can't be messed up. I couldn't find anything that ChromeOS can't do that a casual home user would want to do - for example Pixlr as a simple alternative to GIMP/Photoshop, Picasa, GMail, Google Calendar, Google Drive/apps/docs/presentations, Zoho Office suite etc. There is a simple video editor Stupeflix and Aviary audio editor, and the AutoCAD WS viewer/editor although I haven't tried them yet so I can't vouch for their pros or cons, but future Native client web apps should in theory be able to do anything a desktop can do.
If you are a computer hacker/hobbyist, the answer is surprisingly also yes. The Chromebox is not subsidised as some bloggers hoped (you know - the ones who wouldn't buy it unless it was $99 - $250 never mind that you can't get equivalent Windows PCs for that price). The unit is small form factor, silent, has a fast 16GB SSD, a decent spec for a silent PC - Intel HD 3000 GPU (passmark 430) which is in the high end video card category (faster than a GeForce 9700M GT) and the 1.9GHz dual core Celeron B840 CPU is actually quite fast (passmark 1504) which is a midrange cpu and it is faster than an Intel Core2 Duo E6600 @ 2.40GHz, or a AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5400+. For that spec, it is keenly prices, and you can't get an equivalent spec Windows PC in UK for that price. You can get a big box PC with a noisy cooler fan, a noisy power supply fan, and a noisy, slower mechanical HDD and less WiFi and bluetooth for about the same, but it is lower spec'ed and unsuitable for a settop PC which should be quiet as possible so as not to interfere with your listening experience. If you want a large amount of local storage, you can plug in a £56 500GB Toshiba USB HDD drive (Laptop level noise) if you want storage for ripped movies in addition to the 16GB SSD for you OS. This is still cheaper than the equivalent ZBox ID 81 Plus mini PC with HDD added 2GB RAM and Windows OS to bring it up to the same spec (but 1.2GHz Celeron B840 CPU). I can see a lot of computer hobbyists buying this device, hacking it and playing around with it.
There are people who need Photoshop or AutoCad or some other specific Windows application, but I don't think this is a real problem, because if you are employed, your employer will provide that on your office PC (or if your employer requires you to work at home, on a laptop you can take home). If your employer or school selects Chromebooks/Chromeboxes, then they will provide suitable server based apps to do your work - eg. Blackboard or Moodle course management system, a server based web interfaced inventory control, accounts, EIS, CRM etc. system, virtualised Windows apps or virtual Windows desktop.
If you are someone who already has a Mac, or Desktop PC, then get a Chromebook or Chromebox if you want a new computer. It is quicker to boot, and easier and more pleasant to to use than a Windows PC or laptop, and you can keep your existing PC/laptop for your legacy apps. I got it to keep the wife and kids off my Linux PC which I use for development, and it is perfect for that, plus I use it in preference to my Linux PC for anything but necessary legacy apps, or when I can't get the wife or kids off it.
Can you live on ChromeOS 100% of your time? Yes, absolutely, especially if you are a home user or in an office or school where Chromebooks have been deployed along with the required server based apps. In my case I do need a Linux PC box at home, which I already have, and I can VNC to that using a VNC Chrome app if I need to, but I can't always do this because the wife and kids are on the Chromebox which is the preferred device.
Good: The perfect home computer and TV companion box.
Bad: Won't appeal to computer hobbyists.
Comment: This is the perfect zero maintenance shared Internet browsing appliance for every home. The spec you get with this device at $329 beats any Windows desktop on price/performance as well.
Plug it into your TV or a monitor, add a Bluetooth keyboard with trackball, and you have a general purpose Internet media computer you can operate from your armchair, and without the maintenance and configuration headaches of Windows.
When the general public figure out how well this product fits the average home user's needs, this item will sell like hot cakes.
Comment: I can really see this being good as part of a home cinema set up
Good: Ahead of its time, and one that will become increasingly compelling for anyone upgrade from their current Windows environment and have suitable peripherals
Bad: Some functionality limitations, but see this as minor. Get used to it
Comment: Market sector not quite mainstream , but a logical product for anyone that is familiar with the Google ecosystem - docs, chrome etc - and doesn't want or need to bin perfectly functional and adequate keyboard and screen. Really see this fitting in with an increasingly significant market. I like.....
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