The Acer Chromebox CXI3-4GKM4 is an excellent mini-PC that’s powered by Google’s Chrome OS. With a solid design and great performance, it’s one of the best mini-PC to have on a budget, and access to Play Store makes for an enjoyable browsing experience.
- Compact design can be mounted or stashed out of sight
- Includes plenty of ports
- Has excellent performance
- Runs cool
- Limitations of Chrome OS
Acer has been in the Chrome OS space since the early day of the Chromebook, religiously making some of the best Chrome laptops around. Now, with the Acer Chromebox CXI3-4GKM4, the company is making a strong footprint in the popular Acer Chromebox CXI3 line of mini-PCs, and the result is market-leading capability at a very good price.
The Chromebox CXI3-4GKM4 we’re reviewing today, is made for educational and professional use, and is easily one of the best mini-PC with Chrome-OS available. Of course, you have more powerful mini-PCs like the ACEPC T11 Mini PC or the Asus Chromebox 4 powered by a 10th generation intel Core i3, but it comes with a higher price tag than you might expect for a category defined by exceedingly low prices.
Acer Chromebox CXI3 Design: Same familiar look
The Chromebox CXI3 has always been compact and light, our review unit keeps that tradition, measuring 5.85 x 2.22 x 6.24 inches and weighing just 1.46 pounds. However, unlike the Asus Chromebox 4 and pretty all other past Chromeboxes that were boxy little units, the CXI3-4GKM4 has gently curved sides, giving the entire unit an oval shape when viewed from the front.
The chassis is black, with dark-grey faceplates on the front and back. You can use the box on its own, have it stand upright with an included stand, or mount it on the back of a monitor using an included mount.
For ports, there are two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack, alongside a power button – all on the front. The back of the Chromebox has a gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, a USB Type-C port and a Kensington lock slot.
For wireless connectivity, the CXI3 is outfitted with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.
Acer Chromebox CXI3 Keyboard: Keyed up for Chrome
The Chromebox CXI3 also comes with a basic mouse and a chiclet keyboard. The keyboard is a replica of the keyboards you find on Chromebooks, with special browser-centric shortcuts in place of the function-key row. You can as well plug in your own mouse and keyboard, they’ll work too.
The mouse has tiny crevices on the left and right sides for your thumb, ring finger, and a pinky finger for a tight grip. It’s as basic as mice come.
Apart from the Chrome OS key-layout customization, the bundled keyboard is nothing special, either, as it feels just like any typical keyboard – fast enough to type on, but slightly mushy and unsatisfying if you’re used to quality keyboards.
Acer Chromebox CXI3-4GKM4 Performance: Still a budget winner
Our Chromebox CXI3 came equipped with an Intel Celeron 3867U processor, 4GB of RAM and a 32GB eMMC for local storage. Compared with other Chrome-based desktops and laptops, these are impressive specs in the budget category, given that Chrome is built to work on low-end hardware with minimal RAM and little need for local storage.
Still, they still deliver speedy performance that you can feel; with assured snappy and responsive web browsing and other basic productivity tasks. Real-world use is similarly smooth. You can run a couple of browser-based games – ranging from Doggonauts to Doom online – and even stream online TV. At no point will performance slow, and you can as well multitask across basic apps and extensions.
Overall – Should you buy the Acer Chromebox CXI3-4GKM4?
For the price, you could buy a very basic Windows 10 PC that could only run basic applications and utilities that only basic users would ever need. The Acer Chromebox CXI3 only makes sense in that range if you or the business/school you’re buying for is in need of one or more strengths of Chrome OS: easy of management, automatic updates, and guaranteed resistance to malware, to name a few.
Whether you’re buying for the reasons mentioned above, or for its price, the Chromebox CXI3 model still packs a performance punch, all things considered. Though its functionality is mostly limited to what you’re able to accomplish in a web browser, the Acer Chromebox CXI3-4GKM4 also has the secondary appeal of access to the Google Play Store, giving you the near-infinite opportunity to enjoy Android apps.
If that kind of setup and manageability are what matters to you, this is as powerful a Chrome OS desktop solution we’ve seen at this rock-bottom price.
Acer Chromebox, Intel Celeron 3867U Processor, 4GB DDR4, 32GB SSD, Keyboard, Mouse, Chrome, CXI3-4GKM4
1 used from $206.58