Acer Chromebox CXI

Acer Chromebox CXIWith Chrome OS in the box, do you really need anything else?With a launch date for Windows 10 now confirmed, those considering the upgrade are already wondering about that data transfer and how to solve the inevitable problems it throws up. Those who have already migrated away to Chrome OS won’t encounter any such challenges, especially if they buy the inexpensive Acer Chromebox CXI. Because, once you’ve provided you’re Google credentials, this system will soon be configured and organised exactly how you want it, mirroring whatever other Chrome platform you’ve previously used.

Included in the box you get a branded mouse and keyboard, leaving the monitor as the only extra hardware you’ll need to get this system operational and ready for use. You can place the CXI on the desk, horizontal or vertical, or you can mount it to the monitor using a VESA mount included with it.Two versions of the Chromebox CXI have been defined that are identical other than the size of memory installed. The review model had 4GB, but you can get almost identical hardware £20 cheaper with 2GB if you want. I’m not convinced that it would perform very differently, so the 2GB model might be the smarter choice. What they both contain is a 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2957U, a dual-core CPU with a TDP of just 15 watts.For running Windows that might be insufficient power, but for Chrome’s largely web-based experience it’s more than enough poke. The machine also has 16GB of SSD space although, as it’s designed to be a primarily Cloud use, most users might never need to know about internal storage or how much it has. Google provides all Chromebook and Chromebox users an extra 100GB of cloud storage for 24 months, and that’s plenty of online room for most users.Connected to the Internet by either LAN or wi-fi, the CXI can be ready to use in a couple of seconds from pushing the power button, and it renders web pages effortlessly and streams YouTube videos smoothly.Using it reminded me what low levels of performance can be made useable in the right environment and with the right software, and how relatively rocket propelled this is compared with computers I used in the past. Also like old computers, the CXI is largely a silent worker, and as such it’s also not a significant generator of heat either.The CXI is quick, highly transportable and a near perfect adjunct to the Chrome OS, so did Acer get anything drastically wrong here? The few faults I found were minor and easily correctable at the next product revamp. One moan is the cheap membrane keyboard that could have easily been better specified. Also, for whatever reason, Acer has decided to place the headphone jack on the rear, not the front of the enclosure. It should also spend a little time redesigning the clumsy ‘L’ shaped power jack, and ask itself why it made such a small PSU external anyway.Beyond those relatively minor points, this is an fittingly ambassadorial platform for Chrome OS, and something anyone using the Google facilities in an office environment of it should seriously consider. Mark PickavanceA slick Chromebox that’s built specifically for the job.• CPU: 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2957U (dual-core, 2MB cache)• Graphics: Haswell Intel HD Graphics (200-1000MHz)• Ports: 4x USB 3.0, SD card reader, headphone/mic jack, Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI• Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n with Bluetooth 4.0 + Low Energy• Size: 1.3″ x 5.1″ x 6.5″ (Wx Dx H)

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