A look at the ASUS Chromebit CS10

Uprising of the Stick PC Form Factor


ASUS has been experimenting with new computer system of different form factors lately. Not long ago, we had our hands on the ASUS VivoStick, which is a full-fledged Windows 10 computer designed in the smallest possible form factor. That little stick PC has completely redefined the portable desktop computing experience. Continuing on the innovation, ASUS has also introduced the Chrome OS based Chromebit CS10 stick form factor PC.

Introduction of the ASUS Chromebit CS10



Similar to the ASUS VivoStick, the Chromebit also comes in a stick form factor. The Chromebit runs on the latest Chrome OS from Google, and is capable of running all the latest web based Chrome Apps from the Chrome store. Unlike the VivoStick, the Chromebit is made specifically for the web. Users can enjoy the best possible portable web desktop experience on this little nifty device. The hardware on the ASUS Chromebit CS10 also enables it to be a perfect web entertainment playback device.

Features Review


Firstly, the ASUS Chromebit CS10 features a built in HDMI output male connector that instantly turns any HDMI enabled display into a smart computer. To ensure compatibility, ASUS has also included two types of extended cables that bring flexibility to the installation of the little device. Moreover, thanks to the popular HDMI interface, high quality digital audio can also be transmitted from the Chromebit to the display unit. This makes the ASUS Chromebit CS10 a great device to consume multimedia content such as movies and web games. 

Flex and Extended HDMI Connectors

Secondly, despite its small form factor, ASUS did not scrimp on the most important hardware. The Chromebit features a quad-core RK3288C ARM processor from RockChip. This processor is well optimized for the Operating System, being featured in many other Chrome based devices as well. This SoC enables multiple hardware accelerated processing units. For example, with its built in full format H.264 decoder, videos which are encoded in the H.264 codec can be decoded and played back seamlessly. For other general purpose computing, the equipped A17 based ARM processor should be able to handle any web based computational processes that are thrown at it. Coupled with 2GB of DDR3 RAM on the lite and optimized Chrome OS, the Chromebit should run extremely smoothly for all web based applications, giving end users a thoroughly smooth web experience. Of course, all these performance are baseless if internet connection to the device is slow. That is why, the Chromebit is also equipped with a dual-band 802.11ac wireless standard network interface that can transmit wireless speeds in excess of 450Mbps for uninterrupted high definition media streaming.

Thirdly, the Chromebit is made with portability and expansion in mind. The built in Bluetooth 4.0 technology opens the device up to support multiple wireless peripherals. To name a few, the Chromebit can connect wirelessly to any bluetooth enabled keyboard, mouse or speakers, improving the overall computing and entertainment experience on the device. Furthermore, the ASUS Chromebit CS10 also comes with a USB 2.0 port. This allows the device to connect to various USB based external devices for expansion. With USB, the type of connections are almost limitless. The Chromebit can even be connected to a USB Hub to further extent its USB capabilities.

Made for the Web

The Chome OS is made for the web. Multiple web based applications can be installed to make the PC into a small workstation computer. Productivity applications, such as Google Apps for Work (Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites) can be downloaded from the Chrome App Store. Since Chrome OS is also connected to your Google Account, it can help to manage other important work requirements such as Mail and Calendar. There are also a huge variety of applications that can be found online from third party for the Chrome OS. Messaging applications such as Telegram and WhatsApp also have their web variants and can run on the OS. With today's cloud based, web enabled computing era, the Chrome OS is really not very far off from any standard Windows based computers. Oh yes, on a side note, Google is also providing 100GB of Google Drive space for free with the purchase of Chromebit. The offer is valid for two years.

Other Pros and Cons

We would really like to commend ASUS for not including any bloatware for the Chromebit. This has allowed the Chromebit to run really fast, and users will be able to enjoy the full experience of Chrome OS which Google has designed for. We truly appreciated and enjoyed the instant power on attributes of the Chrome OS and Chromebit. Such feature is hard to come by on any sophisticated personal computing device these days.  

Despite its great portability features as mentioned above, we found the additional need for a specialized power adapter for the Chromebit disturbing. If Chromebit was to be designed with the power specifications like other standard USB based devices, it would probably make the installation of the PC much more convenient. Users could have either plugged the device into the display's USB port, if not, a portable power bank should do the work as well. 

We understand that being a web based device running on Chrome OS, most user data should be stored on the cloud. However, the built in 16GB or eMMC storage could still be limiting for some users, if they would prefer to store files on the locally on the machine. We would possibly recommend an inclusion of a MicroSD card slot as a storage expansion option for the Chromebit. Luckily, the Chromebit also features a USB port, which allows external flash drives/disk drives to be connected to it, essentially solving any limited local storage issues.



Conclusion

The ASUS Chromebit CS10 is carefully designed to bring out the best of the best web computing experience to end users. With its great web performance, compatible interfaces and portable design features, it is hard for us not to recommend it to someone seeking for a simple and affordable computer. 





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