A single mention of Chrome OS probably has you picturing any number of low-end, low-cost laptops, along with the occasional high-end beast. You might not think of Chromeboxes very much, but if you don't need a built-in monitor, they're an excellent option for entry-level desktop machines. However, the latest Chromebox from CTL is anything but "low-end," with enough storage and RAM to blow any run-of-the-mill gaming PC out of the water.
It’s been over two years since CTL released the Chromebox CBx1, its first Chrome OS desktop designed for the classroom and corporate use. That Chromebox exceeded our expectations when we reviewed it, offering good performance at a low price. Now, the Oregon-based company offers the CBx2, upgrading the processor, storage, and networking performance, making the CBx2 a solid upgrade at an affordable price.
CTL primarily develops Chromebooks for schools and businesses, usually offering good hardware for the price. We've already reviewed the company's desktop PC and rugged Chromebook, and now CTL is taking pre-orders for a new budget laptop.
We recently reviewed CTL's entry-level Chromebox CBx1, which comes equipped with an Intel Celeron 3865U processor and 4GB RAM. Despite the mediocre specifications, it's actually a fairly decent computer, especially at the low price of $219.99. If you need a Chromebox with a Core i7 processor for some reason, CTL now sells one for $599.99.
CTL is virtually unknown in the consumer market, but the company has been manufacturing computers for schools and government facilities since 1989. It now mainly focuses on Chrome OS devices, like the Chromebox we previously reviewed.
The 'NL7TW-360' (excellent name, I know) is CTL's latest education-focused Chromebook. It has an 11.6-inch touch screen with Wacom stylus support, a durable 2-in-1 design, a water-resistant keyboard, and plenty of ports.
There is no shortage of durable Chromebooks designed for classrooms, like the Lenovo N22, Asus C213SA, and Acer 11 N7. CTL's newest entry is definitely a decent product with a competitive price, but it only makes sense if you absolutely need a tough Chromebook.
Two months ago, we reviewed the Acer Chromebox CXI3. Even though the CXI3 is a fantastic Chrome OS desktop, it's somewhat expensive - the model we reviewed with a Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM costs $519.99. There's a $469.99 Core i3 version and a $289.99 Celeron model, but those are also slightly expensive given the hardware inside.
If you've been looking for a basic Chrome OS desktop, there's another option - the CTL Chromebox CBx1. CTL primarily manufactures computers for the education and government sectors, and the company has been all-in on Chromebooks for years. The Chromebox CBx1 is CTL's first Chrome OS desktop, and it starts at the low price of $219.
Every few weeks, another batch of Chromebooks receive official support for the Play Store. The feature has rolled out to most popular models by now, but there are still a few left without it. Seven more Chromebooks now have Android app support in the Chrome OS stable channel, including the Acer Chromebook 15.