Acer announces the Chromebox CXI -- a slim and sexy Google-powered mini-desktop

Acer Chromebox_kb_ms

When it comes to Chrome OS, the Chromebook reigns supreme. In fact, Google's operating system is viewed by many consumers as a laptop-only affair. However, the Chromebox has existed for quite some time now; it just has not caught on with consumers as much as the portable versions. The mini desktop form factor always feels like an afterthought when discussing Google's operating system.

It is understandable for people to pass on the Chromebox. You see, a Chromebook with HDMI or DisplayPort can also function as a desktop when connected to a large monitor, keyboard and mouse. In other words, why would a consumer or business user tether themselves to a desk rather than having the option to go portable? There are many reasons; business users may have requirements that a computer does not leave a location. For home consumers, one of the most important reasons is style and design. A Chromebox takes up little room on a desk and looks attractive; more than a laptop with a mess of wires. Today, Acer drives this point home by announcing the Chromebox CXI series -- super-slim, sexy and very functional.

"Like the C7 Chromebook series, the Acer Chromebox CXI is fast. The CXI boots up in about 8 seconds and resumes nearly instantly from sleep mode thanks to the 16GB Solid State Drive. Housed in a compact .6 liter (6.51 x 5.12 x 1.3-inches) chassis that stands upright and is VESA mountable, the Acer Chromebox CXI maximizes space, a key consideration for libraries, cube and classroom environments as well as small and medium businesses for task-based user terminals. Two Acer Chromebox models will be available late next month -- the CXI-2GKM with 2GB of memory for a manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) of $179.99 U.S./$199 CAD and the CXI-4GKM with 4GB of memory for a MSRP of $219.99 U.S./$239 CAD", says Acer.

The manufacturer further explains, "the Acer Chromebox CXI provides excellent wireless connectivity via 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. Four USB 3.0 ports include two with power off charging for smartphones and tablets. Users can also access other media and files through the SD card reader that supports up to a 32GB SD card. The Chromebox CXI pushes video and content to external displays and HDTVs via HDMI and DisplayPort. In addition, a combo audio jack is provided for connecting a microphone and headset, while a LAN port enables a wired network connection. The systems come bundled with a VESA mount kit and a Google approved USB keyboard and mouse. They’re powered by a 65W AC adapter".

Just looking at the design, it seems Acer may have a winner on its hands. The footprint is so small and the design is so sexy that consumers may really take notice. The front-facing USB 3.0 ports and SD card reader make this a wonderfully useful little computer. The Haswell-based Intel Celeron 2957U is very capable and should make this a long-term staple in both homes and businesses alike. However, as with all Chrome OS machines, I caution you to avoid the model with 2GB of RAM -- splurge on the 4GB version, you will thank me later for the performance boost.

If you are interested in purchasing, you will have to wait. Unfortunately, the Chromebox CXI will not be available until late September. However, good things come to those that wait and at $219 for the 4GB model, things are looking very good.

Will you buy it? Tell me in the comments.

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