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Another shortcoming of Chrome OS is its need for a constant Internet connection. Many apps don’t work well or at all without that. That’s more of a problem with Chrome OS laptops meant for use outside the home. You should never need to separate your Chromebox from the Internet.

Chromebox also has a new Chrome OS feature that lets you create supervised log-ins for your kids. You can choose to block certain sites or permit surfing of only pre-approved sites. You can also see a list of what your kid tried to visit.

Unlike parental control software from outside parties, Chrome OS doesn’t try to impose a default list of approved or banned sites. It requires more work to configure, but it lets parents decide what’s appropriate.

Chromebox works nicely as a secondary computer that family members share.

Besides the dual display ports, Chromebox has four USB 3.0 ports for printers and other peripherals, a slot for camera memory cards and an Ethernet port for wired Internet connections. It also has Wi-Fi, but not the newer, faster type known as 802.11ac.

My one complaint: You’ll have to decide whether you want to use the Chromebox as a general-purpose computer or as a streaming device.

I recommend getting the wireless keyboard and mouse for streaming. Otherwise, the keyboard and mouse would be physically attached to the Chromebox, which sits closer to the TV than to you.

But that setup doesn’t work well for general computing. I find text too small to read on a 42-inch TV that’s 8 or 10 feet away. For general computing, you’ll want a smaller screen and you’ll want to be closer to it. But then it’s no different from watching streaming video on a regular computer.

Of course, the Chromebox is cheap enough that you can buy two. But if you have to choose, consider this: There are plenty of other desktops for general computing, but few affordable enough to use just for streaming.

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Online:

http://promos.asus.com/us/chrome-os/chromebox