ASUS Chromebit CS10: Pocket Rocket

The market right now is saturated with no-name Chromeboxes and ChromeOS enabled netbooks and streaming devices which might be a problem for some people who prefer something that can be bought and tested in stores. Luckily, a handful of IT vendors took the liberty of developing these devices for a niche market. Enter the ASUS Chromebit!

We were lent a unit from our friends over at ASUS PH to test it out and see how it fares as a machine to make that pamasko TV from your company’s Christmas party into a Smart TV.

Contents

Before we start with how this Chromebit works here are the contents:

Chromebit unit, ac adapter, and an HDMI extension aptly named Flex Connect. Just in case that your TV or monitor has a limited space at the back.

*Peripherals are sold seperately

Size wise, the Chromebit can be brought anywhere. It fits in the palm of my hand (without the AC adapter and the extension of course). This might be an alternative to bringing your laptop anywhere, given that you’re not going to answer emails from your boss. I kid.

Specfications

Let’s delve a bit deeper and get to the specs on this. It says on the manufacturer’s website that it’s powered by a Rockchip RK3288 SoC with a Mali-T760 GPU. This SoC can also be found on ASUS’s tinkerboard which is the company’s answer to the Raspberry Pi. A quick google-fu for this SoC tells me that this was slated for release during the first quarter of 2015. March to be exact.

The ASUS Chromebit also has 2GBs of LPDDR3 RAM, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, 16gb eMMC storage, BT 4.0, a lone USB 2.0, and of course an HDMI out.

My only gripe for this device is the limited storage which, unfortunately, can’t be expanded. Although with the advent of cloud-based storage, you can always access your files anywhere. Just make sure that you have an internet connection and you’re logged in to the same Google account that you saved your files from.

So, let’s see how this will fare with a number of tasks we’ve prepared for this baby!

Setup and Testing

Same with how other ChromeOS powered devices work. The setup is a breeze. After plugging it into your preferred display device, connect it to the AC adapter, insert your peripherals’ wireless receiver on the USB 2.0 port (or connect your BT enabled peripherals), find a wireless network to connect to, and get updates to get your Chromebit rolling.

Flex connect in action on the back of my monitor

I was quite pleased with the boot-up sequence of the Chromebit after rebooting it a couple for times. It’s way faster than the abysmal boot-up time of ASUS’ variation of the Computestick. Putting it in its paces, I’ve watched 2 concurrent HD videos without a hitch, opened simultaneous windows in Chrome while doing a quick type through GDocs, still worked great! Albeit it got warm. But hey, be reminded that this is a tiny device with a tiny chip that’s passively cooled.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a better alternative to a Chromecast to turn your otherwise old (or new) dumb TV to a Smart TV or a pocket-sized Chromebook to bring anywhere for work, this might be worth looking at.

Keep in mind that the ASUS Chromebit has its flaws. With limited storage options, you might need to opt for a consistent internet connection to maximize the potential of the Chromebit and you need to lug around a USB hub to connect USB powered devices. Despite those shortcomings, the Chromebit can butt heads with other non-ChromeOS powered pocket PCs. With ChromeOS built for lightweight spec devices, it tends to subdue Atom powered Computesticks albeit, at a small advantage.

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