The $85 Chromebit is another nice, useless product that solves a problem that didn’t exist

The original Chromecast initiated a trend: HDMI dongles with computing capabilities were born. Intel Compute Stick and Splendo are two good examples of this kind of miniPC (in this case, based on Windows). Now we’ve got another alternative, not in format but in its OS.

The Chromebit was announced a few months ago, and it has finally launched with modest specs: a Rockchip SoC comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard (“relatively slow eMMC”) storage.

You’ve got also a USB port and the dedicated charger (USB to MicroUSB) and according to Engadget’s review,

It’s not terribly fast, nor is it always elegant in its execution. Then again, it’s a perfectly serviceable way to access your email, music and nearly everything the web has to offer, mostly using gear you probably already have. It’s not the most capable streamer. And like most other Chrome OS machines, the Chromebit won’t replace a desktop or laptop with heavier-duty hardware and a more fully featured OS

ExtremeTech agrees. I wouldn’t say that makes this device really interesting. What are the user cases here? If you’re traveling, you’re better served by your own smartphone or tablet most of the time. If you want to use it as a mediacenter the Chromecast can deliver, and if you want to get a more ambitious desktop experience you’ve got those sticks based on Windows I mentioned or even devices such as the Surface 3.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Source: Google And ASUS Launch The $85 Chromebit, A Chrome OS Desktop On An HDMI Stick

Steam Machine is a tough sell. Steam Link isn’t. Steam Controller? I really don’t know

Valve’s developers and Polygon’s editors share thoughts on the potentially revolutionary new hardware

As a veteran Linux user, I was really a big supporter of Steam Machines when the idea started to take off. The freedom and power that Valve was giving to the traditional PC was inspiring. Your PC could finally be your console and viceversa. Clever.

The execution has to prove many things, and Polygon editors share their first impressions about the first machine from Alienware (good design), the user interface (clunky), the openness (fantastic, but here developers must tell if it is useful or useless), the controller (amazing in some ways, confusing in others), and the games (good catalog, not perfect, big franchises out).

I admire the concept, but I guess it will be a tough sell for end users. Consoles give a pretty good environment, good user interface, fantastic multiplayer online options and the newest games… at really compelling prices. I wonder how Valve will market this.

The Steam Link is different: streaming Windows games to your TV seems a nice option to have –PCGamer agrees on this– for $50 bucks. The Xbox One supposedly will have this option in the future (you can stream games from the console to a Windows 10 PC), but for people who prefer to play on PC and has no console, the idea is pretty much perfect.

Source: Steam Machine hands-on: Does Valve’s hardware live up to its potential? | Polygon

Follow up: The Alienware Steam Machine: finally, a gaming PC for the living room | Engadget