LG Chromebase hands on: More room to work but at what cost?

LG Chromebase octane

The LG Chromebase is making an appearance this year’s CES but it’s not easy to find. I did track it down in LG’s massive show floor booth; actually I tracked them down. I found the LG Chromebase all-in-one desktop in both white and black models. The Chromebase is a twist on Chrome OS devices, which are typically laptops or small desktops without a monitor.

The actual devices are well designed and the build quality is about on par with an HP Chromebook 11: Lots of plastic involved so not a high-end feel but put together well.

Chromebase side

The 21.5-inch IPS display panel is a standout feature. Viewing angles are good and the screen is bright. While 1920 x 1080 resolution sounds high, this isn’t an “retina display.” At 108 pixels per inch, you can see individual pixels without much effort.

Chromebase Gigaom

What you do gain here is more screen space to work with. I was able to open several Chrome apps outside of the browser and still have room to spare. Folks that use a Chromebook with multiple apps at once will appreciate the extra space.

Like most other new Chrome OS devices, LG chose Intel’sHaswell processor to power this all-in-one computer. So performance is likely on par with the latest Chromebooks. I did run some performance tests but with so many people playing with the Chromebase, the benchmarks would likely be better in a fresh testing environment.

Chromebase Sunspider

LG has a matching keyboard and mouse for the Chromebase. Both worked fine in my brief testing and the keyboard does have Chrome-specific keys. It also includes a separate numeric keypad, which is handy.

Chromebase keyboard

I didn’t test using the Chromebase as a an external monitor but it can do that trick through an HDMI port. There’s also one USB 3.0 port and a trio of USB 2.0 ports. That makes it easy to add external storage or connect a camera, for example.

Chromebase USB

The big factor here is price and LG simply hasn’t said what that number will be. My own guess is around $500. Anything less and I think this is really good value; anything more and it’s a tough sell. Would I buy one, depending on the price?

Possibly: I often connect my Chromebooks to a 27-inch iMac for more workroom. If I could get the same experience on a dedicated device for $500 or less, I probably would. I do wish LG had opted for 4 GB of memory though: There’s little chance of adding more to the Chromebase on your own.

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