As devices get more and more portable; evident from smartwatches, do-it-all smartphones, and even computers. Pocket-sized PCs were made more compact and was introduced by Intel as Computesticks aka Dongle PC Sticks
Intel first introduced these during the 2nd quarter of 2015 and these became the foundation of ASUS’ take on the Dongle PC stick, aptly named Chromebit; powered by the ChromeOS. Read on as we put the ASUS Chromebit to the test.
Operating System: ChromeOS CPU: Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288C Processor GPU: ARM® Mali™ T764 GPU Memory: LPDDR3 2GB Storage: 16GB eMMC + 2yr 100GB Google Drive Wireless: BT 4.0, Wireless a/b/g/n/ac I/O Ports: HDMI out, AC in, USB 2.0
Unboxing and First Impressions
The guys over at ASUS PH unfortunately only lent us a base unit, a flex connect HDMI extension, and an AC adapter. After looking through their website to check what should be with our unit, we were only missing the box and manuals.
Size wise, the ASUS Chromebit is just a tad smaller than a 6-inch smartphone and almost as small as a candybar. The size enables it as a go-anywhere entertainment powerhouse for TVs with HDMI or programmed to be of use for kiosks or e-signages.
The device only has one USB port, this might be a problem for some but a USB hub can address that issue. But fret not! Since the ASUS Chromebit has BT 4.0 in it, Bluetooth enabled peripherals can be connected on setup.
As mentioned from the previous paragraph, I utilized the ASUS Chromebit as a way to make my aging TV to an otherwise smart and new-ish multimedia center by plugging it to the HDMI port at the back. The flex connect comes into play for this TV since the ASUS Chromebit has some clearance issues if it were plugged in as is.
Setting up the ASUS Chromebit is quick and easy. After plugging it to my TV and connecting my USB hub and peripherals, it booted up hastily and prompted a log-in screen and asked to connect to a WiFi access point.
After inputting my email address, I got into the main screen for the ASUS Chromebit. I got to play around the themes for Chrome and tried to download a couple of apps for testing but since this was still locked from the previous corporate testing it wasn’t possible.
Even with multiple tabs open with Chrome and almost using up the system’s resources, the ASUS Chromebit’s snappiness was still evident with my Alt + Tabs or even switching from one Chrome window to another!
The performance of this palm-sized pc can be attributed to ChromeOS being a lightweight operating system and the CPU, despite its age, is still keeping up with the demands of the OS.
I’ve used a couple of ChromeOS powered devices ranging from Chromebooks to PnP AndroidTV set-top boxes. This is my first time obtaining an Android Dongle PC and really, I was astounded by the performance relative to its size.
Having a built in Mali T764 GPU did help in 1080p video department and the 2GB ram didn’t present any hurdles in multi-tasking. However, I did see that changing from one video tab to another made the other video freeze a frame or two and revert back to playing. The device also got warm during testing but that’s forgivable, given the form factor of the Chromebit.
A problem that presented itself is how niche the market for this is. Plenty of ChromeOS devices are floating around the market and quite frankly, if this wasn’t lent to me for review I wouldn’t have known that ASUS possessed such device. My best guess, for this reason, ASUS PH focused on having this marketed towards corporate use rather than households.
Limited storage space is another gripe that I have with the ASUS Chromebit, thankfully, it’s bestowed with Google’s 100GB cloud based storage that you can easily access anywhere with an internet connection. A bit of forewarning though, it will only last you for two years upon activating your Chromebit and you’ll be tasked to subscribe to its services after it ends.
If someone were to look for name brand streaming sticks or boxes with the likes of RokuTV or Chromecast, I would definitely raise the ASUS Chromebit for recommendation. For around 7,000 PHP You won’t be restricted to just streaming. The ASUS Chromebit can also be utilized as an on-the-go office productivity tool or deployed for e-kiosks and e-signages. Wrapping these all up, the ASUS Chromebit is awarded with a B2G Editor’s Choice Award!