Monday, August 15, 2022

Something I Don't Understand About ChromeOS Machines

I can buy a Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i -- that is, a Chromebook with a 3Ghz Intel Core i3 processor, 8Gb of RAM, and a 128Gb solid state drive -- for $389.99 at Amazon (not an affiliate link).

But the cheapest Chromebox I'm seeing with similar RAM and storage numbers, and with an i3 (but at only 2.1Ghz), is an ASUS  ... for $99.01 more (not an affiliate link).

The Chromebook is more or less the same computer ... with a built-in monitor (touch screen, even!), keyboard, and trackpad, yet it costs much less than the Chromebox, which is, well, just a box.

I have two working hypotheses as to why this might be the case.

One is that the per-unit cost of building the Chromebox is higher because they move smaller numbers of them.

Another is that while they move smaller numbers of Chromeboxes than Chromebooks, the people who buy Chromebooks are a hard sell (they're considering Windows laptops, Macs, etc., there's a lot of competition, and the price point makes a big difference), while the people who want Chromeboxes really want Chromeboxes and will pay a premium to get them.

I don't know if either of those hypotheses explain it.

I could actually pick up an HP Chromebook with 8Gb of RAM and an AMD 1.8Ghz CPU, refurbished, for $139.95 (not an affiliate link). It only has 32Gb of storage, but I don't use a lot of storage and could always plug in a USB drive or external SSD if needed. It's not obvious that it has any dedicated video out ports for a second screen (other than my USB travel monitor, that is -- I'm thinking it could be used as a desktop machine), but I'm sure I could figure that out. I may consider it, if for no other reason than to boost my "sitting outside and working" power.

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