There’s plenty of competition for what gets plugged into your TV’s HDMI port. Digital TV boxes, games consoles and Chromecasts are all common additions to the living room setup, but have you ever thought about turning your display into an all-in-one Chrome OS machine? That’s what the chocolate bar-sized Chromebit dongle from Asus does. It’s the world’s smallest Chrome OS device that’s designed to smarten up any TV and give life to old, redundant displays. All you need to do is pair up a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, connect to Wi-Fi and you have yourself a fully-fledged computer on a big display for the price of just £90. It’s an intriguing package and one we were very keen to get up and running.
At just 12cm long, you have to admire the design from an aesthetic point of view – computer design has come on a considerable way since the heavy-duty desktop machines of the Nineties. This personal computer lives inside a smooth and curved matte-black HDMI dongle (an orange version will be available to the public soon, although you’ll struggle to find a matching TV) that is roughly twice as big as a traditional USB pen. This means it will fit in your pocket and at 85g you’ll hardly know it’s there. Nevertheless, this is more of a gimmicky selling point considering you still need to pack Bluetooth peripherals. Connecting to your display is as simple as taking the cap off and plugging it into your HDMI port. Depending on your setup, you can take advantage of the foot-long HDMI extension that comes in the box, to ensure the dongle is stable.
Once you’re happy that you’re connected properly, follow the set-up instructions on screen and you can’t go wrong. However, it did take us a few attempts to pair our keyboard and mouse, and we were continually frustrated with a regular loss of connection if we moved outside a six-foot perimeter of the dongle. There is a mini-USB hub in the box too, so you can use wired accessories, but that effectively limits you just to desktop use.
Want to find out more about what we thought of the Asus Chromebit CS10? Check out issue 60 of Android Magazine, available for instant download now.