Review HP Chromebox G2 – Intel Kaby Lake Powered ChromeOS Desktop 2018

hey everybody its la inside but we’ve got another chrome box to take a look at we haven’t seen a new chrome box in quite a while this one comes from HP this is the chrome box g2 and you’ll recall we reviewed the original chrome box probably about three or four years ago on the channel so it’s been a while but this one is running with a new KB Lake processor and there are a couple of different configurations you can choose from now if you want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review and no one has reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware you’ll notice this has a chrome logo at the top because it is running Google’s Chrome OS that means you can’t load Windows apps on this just yet but it is now compatible with Linux apps which I detailed in a

video I did a couple of days ago which I’ll link to down below so chrome is getting a lot more useful this can of course also run Android apps from the Google Play Store too I’ll show you how some of that works a little later in the video so it’s got a lot more to it now than it used to have but if you are expecting a Windows device that can run Windows software this is not the device for you now this one costs $200 as configured inside it has four gigs of RAM a 32 gigabyte SSD and it is powered by an Intel Celeron processor the three eight six five you and this is the KB Lake family of processors which is in the same family as the i3 i5 and i7 chips that we typically see on mid to high-end desktop and laptop PCs so conceivably this processor should be better than some of the chips we see on a lot of those $200 mini pcs we look at running with the lower powered seller runs in the Gemini Lake and Apollo Lake family however things have been catching up on the low end and as you’ll see a little later you might actually do better now with a Gemini Lake chip than this KB Lake chip for the kinds of things you might do with a chrome box again these are really not gaming machines they’re mostly web browsing and productivity kinds of devices and I was to see what I ended up seeing on some of my benchmarks so we’ll get to all of that in a little bit now they also have a version of this with an i5 chip that

one’s five hundred and forty nine dollars you can spend up to seven eighty-nine and get an i7 chip with 16 gigs of RAM and 64 gigabytes of storage so as this Linux thing becomes more of a thing perhaps some of those higher-end boxes might make sense for folks but I think for 200 bucks it’s a pretty capable chrome machine let’s take a look at the ports on here on the front we’ve got a combo headphone microphone jack we have two USB 3.0 ports here on the front I’ve got my keyboard trackpad dongle thing plugged into it right now you have a micro SD card slot for augmenting its onboard storage on the back here we’ve got a USB type-c port you’ll see a little lightning bolt next to that that does not mean it is a thunderbolt port that’s a different Lightning logo this actually just has video out and data out and in so you can plug in for example a an external display to this with the USB C or you can plug in a USB cdata device but it doesn’t accept power going in however that lightning bolt there means that you could charge a device while the computer is off if you plug it into that port these ports continue to be very confusing and not every manufacturer is implementing them in the same way and once again we’ve got a port that can do two of the three things that most of these USB seaports can do so you will need to plug in power separately here in the power jack right there you have an HDMI output here so you can do dual displays if you use the USB C port for the other display output you’ve got another USB 3.0 port here and then here are two USB 2.0 ports that I recommend you use for your keyboard and mouse because these do run slower than the port right next to it it does not come with a keyboard or a mouse in the Box you’ll need to pick that up separately and over here you’ve got Gigabit Ethernet this is not a fan ‘less

device it does have an active cooling fan built into it but to be honest with you you’re really not going to hear it I haven’t really heard it all that much if it’s on it’s on very low you’ll hear it come on pretty loud when you first turn on the device when it spins up the as a test but generally the kinds of uses you’ll do with a chrome box here even some of the Linux stuff I was doing really did not kick that fan on so overall it’s a pretty quiet device but it does have a fan built in so that is it for the ports on the device the only other thing worth mentioning here is the Kensington lock slot here on the side along with the reset switch the device is upgradable we took it apart on my extra channel it’s not all that easy to get into though the prior version was a lot easier than this one you can though upgrade the RAM and the storage I believe you can get up to 16 gigabytes installed on here so you can go with the $200 entry point here and then if you start doing more with Linux for example you could probably swap out that storage on there and get you a little bit more to work with so there is some upgrade ability on this but you can’t swap out the processor let’s see how this performs now with our usual barrage of tests so let’s start off with some web browsing and typically on these chrome boxes they load up very quickly because they’re a pretty simple device to start with they get more complicated as you start piling on Linux apps and other stuff here but you can see how quickly the homepage loads up we are connected up via a wireless AC connection to my Wi-Fi so that is doing pretty nicely here Ethernet works well and if you have older 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi it will work with that too there’s also

Bluetooth built in so you can connect up some other devices like game controllers and keyboards and mice and that sort of thing we’re gonna do now is jump over to my youtube channel and look at a 60 frames per second video here and see how that does going to dissuade on now one of the things we found with Chrome on lower-end devices even Chrome OS devices is that we often skip frames when we’re playing back 60 frames per second content due to how chrome handles the decompression of the video but this one seems to be doing okay we’re not getting we’re getting a couple dropped frames now but generally it’s been playing things back pretty smoothly thanks probably thanks to in part to the KB Lake processor that’s built into this and that’s one area where if we had one of those Apollo lake or Gemini Lake chips we might see more frames here then we are currently seeing about five so far since we got started versus maybe five or ten percent of the total on some of those other devices so I think from a video playback standpoint if you’re watching YouTube or Netflix or something this should probably do okay one thing to note though is that these really are not home theater devices you can now run Kodi and other home theater apps like Plex on them through an app or just through the web browser in the case of Plex but they are really not well tuned for that so I don’t recommend these as home theater pcs but if you’re in a college dorm room or something or at the office and want to catch a video now and then I think this is probably going to play back things just fine given that we’re not seeing all that many drop frames here on the 60 frames per second content and on the browser bench org speedometer test we got a score of fifty five point eight two and surprisingly that was lower than what we saw with an Intel NOC running

with the new Gemini Lake j-4000 five processor which is a dual-core chip that one came in at 70 point nine quite a difference actually and it’s surprising because typically processors that come out of that desktop laptop family do better than what we see on the low end family of chips but that apparently at least on that benchmark is no longer the case so perhaps if HP is continuing to make these chrome boxes they might want to look at the Gemini Lake chips just because they’re better suited I think for a mini PC like this one that was a surprising result on that benchmark in fact I ran it a number of times I even took my device at a developer mode initially and put it back into the regular stable Channel we got a little bit of a performance boost there but again we only got up to 50 5.82 on that test and it looks like at least in what that test measures that lower end Gemini Lake chip now is better than the low-end KB Lake processor is now in addition to running their Chrome web browser the chrome box can also run Android apps what you’ll get on here is the ability to play a lot of casual games you might already have on your phone or tablet and they run very nicely on here as you would expect from one of these Intel powered

machines here so all good on that front you also have access to the Google Play Store so you can go in here and look for some of your favorite apps to see if they are compatible if something doesn’t show up it’s because it isn’t compatible with this particular platform so not everything’s going to be here but a lot of your favorite Android apps will be now this chrome box is also one of the first devices to support running Linux apps officially on Chrome OS and in a prior video we did load up a bunch of Linux applications got them installed and running on the chrome box here and they all work very nicely that feature is still in development so we’re going to be seeing a lot more from it as time goes on here but I was very impressed with how well everything worked initially here and how easy it was to set it up so if you’re interested in that topic definitely check out the video I have linked below to learn more about running Linux officially on your chrome box so the big question is who is this for I think a lot of consumers are probably going to gravitate towards the Chromebooks which are all-inclusive laptops and tablets this as a desktop machine is probably better suited for the institutional environment businesses but proudly schools where they already have a bunch of Chrome OS devices deployed and this is an official higher performing desktop version that will integrate seamlessly into the remote management systems that people running

Chrome OS are currently using so I think that’s probably where this one will end up in the end because I think for most general consumers you can get a Windows mini PC now that’s a little more capable as powerful or more powerful for around this price point especially when you get into the i5 and i7 versions of this particular chrome box but there’s a lot going on with this Linux thing and I’m going to be keeping an eye on that over the next couple of months to see how Google integrates that into the mainline operating system because that might drive people to buy a more powerful Chrome box in the future if they have the ability to install just about any Linux app on it so that’s more to talk about and we’ll be keeping an eye on this in chrome OS in general as the year progresses here until next time this is Lyons Ivan thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters Chris Allegretto Tom Albrecht bill Reiner in Cali an Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lon TV / support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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